Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Up & Down Day for GoofBoy

Sunday was a tough day for GoofBoy. I made him go to a speech class at our synagogue. One of the reasons I send the little Goofs to Jewish day school is to spare them the experience of Hebrew school. I hated Hebrew school, it was more school (with homework and everything) after school. We would come home from school where I would hang with the other kids in the Hebrew school carpool for thirty-five minutes (which was usually just long enough for me to get a concussion playing dodgeball) before going back to school. This was the pre-ritalin era and in any random sample of boys there was at least one that really, really needed it. I usually sat next to him in the backseat of a sub-compact. I hate carpool now, but I hated it even more as kid.

But our synagogue offers a special class on public speaking for kids getting ready for their bar mitzvahs and I wanted GoofBoy to take it. I am big into public speaking - it is my only real talent (that and building with Legos) and I want my kids to master it.

GoofBoy didn't want to go, he says he is already learning it in school. I told him there was a surprise if he did it without complaint. Nonetheless, He really dug in his heels on this one. I don't do this often, but this time I laid on the guilt. I told him, "Buddy, I rarely insist you do anything."

"You make me go to school!"

"Going to school is the law, that one is out of my hands."

"You make me do stuff around the house."

I snorted, "What, what do you do around the house? Look, most of your activities are things you choose to do and I take you to them. When you get frustrated, I don't push you. So this is the one thing I am asking you to do. I am not going to drag you there. I'm not going to yell at you. But I am disappointed, that's all."

Five minutes later he was downstairs, not happy but ready to go.

When I picked him up, he reported it wasn't that bad, and the reward awaiting him made it even better. GoofBoy has no idea – but there are a lot more where that came from. A good friend of mine was just ordered to “grow-up” by his wife, so he shipped a couple cords of comics to GoofManor.

The day wasn't over. His beloved Ravens were facing the Patriots. As everyone in the universe now knows, they lost. But they lost in a gut wrenching way. There were reversals, surprises, and it all hinged on a botched field goal.

GoofBoy was inconsolable, hiding under the table begging not to be sent to school the next day. He was worried about the other kids, but he was really worried about the math teacher who is a Steelers fan. I tried to tell him not to worry about it (while also trying not to laugh.)

I had told him that after the game, maybe he could help me build my new weight bench. Suddenly, through his sobs, he looked up and said, “I don’t think I can help you with your weight bench.”

“Buddy, don’t worry about it. You’ve had a tough day.”

With such a long crazy day, that he even thought about helping me…

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