The Coconut Chronicles: Journey to the Crazy G

Hanging with the Coconuts is pretty cool.  We are in the midst of summer break and I am loving having so much down time to spend with them.  However, I must say that this years 4th of July festivities pretty much wore me out.  See, we went to the Crazy G Ranch to spend 2 nights with “Papa and Jem” (the kids nickname for grandpa & grandma).  What’s so tiring about that?  Well let me tell ya,  Papa and Jem are the best grandparents in the world.  I’d put them head to head with anyone who thinks theirs are better.  However the word “no” in the same sentence as the Coconuts is somewhat foreign to their tongues.  Oh sure they’re going to argue that point but when the 5 year old comes out of the pantry after looting through the snack drawer with a package of OREO’s at 9 in the morning for breakfast and I’m the only one in the room with a problem with that, well I’m thinking they don’t have a leg to stand on.

Let me also throw this in the mix, the Grand Parental Units (GPU’s) live at the lake.  At least they did until the worst drought since the days of Elijah hit, and instead of having lake front property, they now have 12 acres of…I don’t know what….stuff that used to be under the lake??  But it’s still a pretty cool place.  Additionally the GPU’s have the mother of all home theaters.  In my kids perfect little world (since the lake is out for now) they would go up there, eat chocolate and popcorn whilst drinking something full of caffeine and sugar and watch movies non-stop for 48 hours straight.   So it’s to this kid mecca that we go.  We arrive like the Clampett’s complete with several suitcases, groceries, and our silly Dachshund, Samson, who loves going there as well.  You see, it’s not only the Coconuts that the grandparents adore but our dumb dog as well.  He gets the royal treatment every time we go and I would not be surprised if one day after a visit there, he refuses to get into the car for the return trip.

No sooner have we arrived do the Coconut’s begin.  “Are we going swimming?” Me: “Where?! There’s no water!” Coconut’s #1: “Grandma said!!”  You see, the GPU’s have somehow managed to convince my children that the Coconut’s every wish is their command.  Even if it means calling down rain from heaven apparently.   Coconut #2 chimes in: “Are we going to shoot fireworks?” Me: “Tomorrow.  Today is only July 3rd.” He replies, “So??” Meanwhile the 2 year old Coconut is running amuck making as much noise and mess as possible while we drag suitcases and bags in the house.  At the same time I’m screaming like a shrew at the dumb dog, “go make poop!” You see, if he is not reminded he will go straight into the house and leave a little present for the GPU’s.  They’ll say, “Oh he just gets confused!”  Yeah.  Because he’s only been there 75,000 times. And he’s been house broken for 3 years.  I can see how he’d forget.

Ok here’s a run down of our 4th of July festivities:  1.  Death by Slip ‘N Slide – which  I vividly  remember from my youth….I think I might still have a rock or two impaled in my groin area from the full on belly flops on wet plastic stretched out over hard, rocky ground.

2.  Coconut and GPU Hallmark Bonding Moments – This is where the Coconuts wake them up at the crack of dawn begging for Fruit Loops and cartoons while Hubby and I sneak back upstairs for an hour (or two) more sleep…Priceless.

3.  Double Feature Movie Night (or Afternoon) – In other words, Papa puts on a movie for them and then dozes off in the safety of the darkened theater.

4.  And finally….the grand finale….FIREWORKS!  Over which I was feeling both excited and apprehensive about.  3 kids amped up on sugar and adrenaline, $200 worth of aerial bombs…er I mean fireworks, and 2 grown men (Hubby and Papa)  over joyed with the prospect of having an excuse to play with explosives.  So you are sensing my stress level now.

Anyway,  I had planned this whole Norman Rockwell thing.  Brushed up on my American history and was ready to infuse them with a dose of patriotism.   I started out by asking them if they knew why we celebrated the 4th of July.  Coconut #1 says, “I know!  Because it’s America’s birthday!”  Before I could tell her how awesome and right she was, Coconut #2 breaks out singing, “My Country Tis’ of Thee, while the 2 year old starts into her version of Happy Birthday.  We are interrupted from our little history lesson by Hubby and Papa dragging out the box of explosives and a lighter. I can’t compete with pyrotechnics.

Seriously though, the bible says, “Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.” My children are blessed to have the GPU’s that they do.  Money can’t buy the relationship, the love, and the bond that a strong family has.  The Hubby and I are blessed to call his parents Mom and Dad.  And yes, it’s true, they spoil their grands but not rotten.  Besides, that’s their reward for not killing their own when they were young.  Who am I to take that away from them??

Grandma & girls P1000226

The Coconut Chronicles and the Barbie Nemisis

Warning!  Rant Following!

I hate Barbie.  I realize how strong that word is and I really hate Barbie.  I hate her tiny little high heels that end up lost and then mysteriously reappear, impaled into the bottom of my foot at 3am as I make my way to the bathroom.  I hate her stupid pink convertible that has given my daughter ideas about what her first car is going to look like.  And most of all I hate that ridiculous fake “sparkle” in her eyes that look like she’s knocked back one too many martinis.  Look, here is a doll that is marketed to little girls who is freakishly, disproportionately perfect, wears clothing that I’m fairly certain people in certain professions wear to work, and spends her days lounging by the pool with boys at her “Dream House”.  You may disagree with me, and that’s fine but I personally feel that my Suffragette Sisters of the late 19th century did not have Barbie in mind when they began the long fight for equality. I just have a real issue with indoctrinating little girls into the belief that the sum total of their worth should be based on beauty.  And then we wonder why our teenaged girls have so many self-esteem issues…but I digress.  Back to me…of course, much to my chagrin, my 8-year-old Coconut LOVES Barbie!  Loves her clothes, her car, her house.  So, the strong woman/mom in me rises up and decides that this is a perfect teaching moment.

My Solution!

The following events occurred between, oh pretty much the last 2 weeks of our lives and looks like it’s going to go on until the rapture.   I decided instead of just lecturing her on desiring to be like Barbie, that I would instead gently show her examples of strong, beautiful, independent women in history that didn’t resort to skimpy clothes or a convertible. Women who bucked the system, refused to go along with everyone else and societal norms of their time, and made a huge impact.  So although I wanted to sit her down and inform her that the path to be like Barbie could result in becoming a “kept” woman with 75% of her body becoming plastic,  I did realize that 8 might be a little young to introduce that concept. Instead, I pulled out her kids bible.  I had her read the stories of Ruth, of Esther, and Deborah.  We talked about what made these women beautiful and powerful.  Then I began to introduce her to the likes of Amelia Earhart, Sojourner Truth, Eleanor Roosevelt, Florence Nightingale.  All my heroines!  She poured over the stories.  She began to regal me with the exploits of these amazing women from an 8-year-old prospective:  Here is some of the most disturbing, I mean entertaining:

“Mom! Did you know that Florence Nightingale was called the Lady of the Lamp?”  Me: “Honey, that’s the Lady WITH the lamp…huge difference!”

“Mom, mom…did you know Eleanor Roosevelt worked for Human Rights?  Who worked for people like you mom?”  Me, “what are you talking about??”  Her: “You know, Human Lefts.”  I finally figured that one out.  I am left-handed.  I guess we lefties need our own personal crusaders.

“Mom, it says here that Sojourner Truth was one of 10 or 12 kids.  Which is it?  10 or 12?  Surely her mom knew how many there were that came out of her….unless she lost count.  Do you think she lost count Mom?

Reality 😦

But what was so cool is that she seemed so genuinely interested!  Buh Bye Barbie!!  Suddenly images of her and I standing up for young women’s self-image issues, campaigning together on the importance of modesty, and advocating the gravity of education danced through my mind.  I could see us now, the worlds greatest Mother and Daughter team, crusading for higher values.  We would get capes made and matching outfits!  That is until she informed me that Florence Nightingale could have gotten around much easier in Barbie’s convertible and then asked me to please print her off a Barbie picture to color.  I was crushed!!!!  I thought I was doing so well.  I asked her if she was enjoying the stories we were reading.  Her response?  “Oh yes Mom!  But Barbie has more fashionable clothes.”

I had been deflated.  My heart was breaking.  Until she walked into the room with that smile of hers that lights up the world, my nemesis in one hand, and reaching out the other, asked me if I wanted to play with her.  I realized right then and there that I must be doing something right.  She still wants to hang out with me.  And as long as she wants to hang with me, I can be sure to put the meat in along with all the fluff the world wants to feed her.  And that for now, at least, she still thinks I hung the moon and values what I think.  As long as I’ll play Barbies with her.  We might not have capes but we still make a good team.  You’ll have to excuse me now, I’m off to fix Barbie’s hair for her date and be sure Ken is taking her to church.