What Do We Owe Our Children?

What Do I Owe My Children?“I want a waterpark,” says my seven-year-old son.

“You can’t have a waterpark. Nobody has a waterpark.”

“I want you to build a waterpark in our backyard,” says my seven-year-old son.

“You can’t have a waterpark. Nobody has a waterpark. We can go to one, but we can’t have one.”

He is momentarily pacified.

“I need an iPad and you have to get it for me,” demands my nine-year-old.

“No, I don’t have to get you an iPad.” After several volleys back and forth, accompanied by threats of misbehavior, he eventually calms, though not contentedly.

What do I owe my children? This question has been on my mind since I first read about the Morris County teen who moved out of her parents’ house and then sued her parents in order to make them pay for her college tuition, room, board, transportation, and other expenses. She seems to believe that they have to do this.

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Minecraft has Saved My Children

Boys playing Minecraft on Kindle

BR & SJ side by side on their Kindle playing Minecraft.

The Captain and Tenille sang, “Love will keep us Together.” Now, love may have kept the Captain and Tenille together (actually, they recently announced they are divorcing), but something else was needed in my household.

The answer here in the MMK household is Minecraft. Yep, Minecraft is what is keeping my boys together. No joke, snide remark, or clever retort. I am thankful to those Swedish invertors for their best invention ever. Yeah, they can keep the Saab.

This past weekend SJ was screaming at the top of his lungs, “I hate my brother.” BR was laughing at SJ’s outburst. He could not care less.

My wife and I cringed.

I wish I could say it was the first time this ugliness has sprouted. It’s not. And it never gets easier to hear.

My wife and I have talked to the boys many times about how they need to be there for each other. They should be happy to spend time other. They should have each other’s back. Yes, my wife and I are like every other set of parents – we want our children to be friends.

Yet when the boys act like this, my wife and I are happy to have them apart. We try to remember that sibling rivalry is not unique at this age. We hope that they will grow out of it.

By the next morning, détente had occurred. Life had returned to our village, and all was good. And the reason for this peace was Minecraft. Plain and simple. The boys were side by side playing Minecraft on their Kindles. And they were talking. Here are some samples of the conversation that passed between my boys.

The zombie is chasing you. I have to kill it.
I don’t want your gold. I gave it to you as a gift.
Thanks for the dirt.
Fine, you can take the raw chicken.
I’ll build us a house. I need more clay.

Now, that might sound weird to you (well, that is unless your child is one of the millions that is also addicted to Minecraft). However, to me these are words of love. In fact, I hear those words we love each other, we will always be friends, we will take care of our parents when they get old.

Whoops! How did that last line get in there?

I know, I know some might say that this is a false peace. It’s dependent on a video game being played on a Kindle. I beg to differ. Sure they are not talking about feelings and offering up support. They are not encouraging and dreaming together.

However, my boys are playing together. They are enjoying spending time together. They choose to play Minecraft Survival mode (I had to ask multiple times till I remembered that) which involves both of them.  They are happy in each other’s company.

For that, I am ecstatic.

Minecraft has brought my boys together.

Boys focused on kindle Minecraft

Boys focused on their Kindles and on Minecraft

Who Did I Sleep with Last Night?

Seth Rogen

Seth Rogen – that guy always makes me laugh.
Courtesy of PhotoPin.com

I know that sentence could be part of a movie where guys are all called dude and they are comfortable at the frat house getting drunk on beer. Of course, Seth Rogen would have a role in it.

By the way, as you well know, I am married. I also know that adultery is right up there in on the Mount Rushmore of sins. And I don’t believe in the Dick Van Dyke separate bedrooms for spouses kind of thing.

However, I still want to know who slept in my bed last night?

My boys are not babies. 7 and 9 they are. They are generally happy, energetic, wild, and crazy. Yup. Normal that is.

BR, my 9-year-old can sleep through a storm. Really.  He woke up refreshed the night we were huddled in the basement as Hurricane Sandy bore down on our area.

However, putting him to sleep is another story. It can be a process.  Well, at least we get to have some bonding time.

SJ actually tells us he is ready to go bed. How beautiful is that?

By 10:00 P.M., my house is essentially a kid free zone.  My wife and I are free to do adults things – Whether its watch tv, go on the computer, have a conversation (nice to practice that fine art without interruption), or something more exciting – without interruption.

It’s the down time that everyone – especially crazed parents – need at the end of the day.

Except for some business trips, my wife and I have start every night together in the same bedroom.

Yet, over the past two weeks something has changed.

Morning comes. The alarm rings. I turn and my wife is gone.

Dun, dun, dun. Where has she gone?

Before I can say Perry Mason, I realize I have someone else in my bed.

No, it’s nothing like that. Come on now people, where are your minds? You really need to watch less cable.

Anyway, there’s bulge in the covers at the base of the bed. Or there’s a head leaning on my elbow. Or my blanket is in a jumble.

Who is behind all this nocturnal activity?

Yup, of course you know. It’s my offspring, fruit of my loins, and the cause of my baldness.

The boys have snuck into our bedrooms more often the last couple of weeks than Romeo went to meet Juliet.

Seriously, I think we should have a sign in book at the door to trace the activities.

Regarding these nocturnal visits, there are two huge differences between my wife and I.

First as you noted, I am still waking up in my bed.  A wrecking ball would have to smash through our bedroom window before I am giving up my bed. I need my sleep.

The second thing you may have noted is that I don’t discover we have guests until the next morning. My wife who falls asleep faster than Usain Bolt runs the 100 meters wakes up nearly as easily. “Did a feather just fall?”

Yes, the boys have woken me up a few times over the last couple of weeks and many more over the years. However, I don’t get up.

And yes, I did suck during those years when babies have to be fed during the middle of the night. I’ll take the mid-day feeding thank you very much.

I hope this phase is nearly over and the boys will spend the entire night in their bed. It’s best for them, my wife and me.

Oh yeah, to answer the burning question, my wife gets up and goes to sleep in one of the boy’s bedrooms.  Ain’t that a shame that she has to get up in the middle of the night.

Come to think of it, with a bed of her own, she might be the smartest one of the bunch.

5 Things That No Else is Thankful For – Or Are They?

Children not fighting - something to be thankful for

They look happy – don’t they? Hmm, what’s the catch?

You’ve probably already read hundreds of posts with lists of things people are thankful for. You’ve smiled, shook your head in agreement, and maybe even sighed.

Then you throw in all the foodie blogs and Pinterest pins. Of course, each one is displaying and encouraging ridiculously complicated recipes for your holiday meal. Certainly, these Thanksgiving delicacies are laid out on picturesque tables with cute decorations.

By this point, you are a little sick of all this sweetness.

Come on. Admit it.

Look, I like Thanksgiving. Love it actually. It’s my favorite American Holiday.  I’ve written that post.

So this year, I’ve compiled five things that appear on no one else’s list of gratitude.

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