The neighborhood kids are in my kitchen again. They've been invading my home for days now. Why? Because they are playing poker at my kitchen table.
This winter, Jim, I and the twins played poker on Saturday nights after dinner. Just for an hour or so. It was fun. We laughed. And it was a nice way to spend the cold nights. Since I play once a month (September through May) with some good friends, it's also a way to share one of my favorite things while practicing.
Little did I know that my kids would be spreading the gambling bug throughout the Waterbury subdivision in little ole Roselle.
They're playing for chips. And I have to question their poker savvy when someone says they have "all clovers." Or when they were playing with 51 cards. Or when all blacks were wild.
But they're having fun. I know where they are. Plus, I get to watch the social interactions of the elementary and high school crowds.
There's been fighting. Storming out in anger. Apologies. Whining. Laughing. Teasing. It's fun to see!
Yesterday one little boy stormed out in anger only to return about twenty minutes full of apologies and tattling on the little boy who made him mad. I think he wanted me to do something about it. Maybe talk to the other boy. Maybe assure him that he was right to be mad.
Instead I stared at him in stunned silence. My usual, "stop your whining," "get over it" and "stop your tattling" didn't seem appropriate with a kid who's not mine. Asking if there was any blood involved or a bone sticking out seemed pretty harsh for this only child who must have more caring parents at home. I just smiled and murmured something that I hope came across as reassuring.
Later, I heard the same boy whining to another boy outside. "But you said we could play together! Just you and me! Not you and me and ten other people!" The second boy rides off on his bike, yelling, "I said maybe!"
I think Boy #1 needs to learn to relax. Go with the flow.
After all, that's what we moms have to do, right? Things change from second to second and if we were to remain rigid, we'd snap in two eventually. So we save our real anxiety and angst for the important things--blood and compound fractures. We don't have the fully loaded emotional debit card ready to be depleted over smacks and insults.
Boy kids don't seem to hold grudges. (I can't speak for girl kids.) Yesterday's smacker is now the smacked; the smacked is now the smacker. All they care about at the beginning of the new day is who wants to ride bikes, skateboard, or, in the case of my suburban sons, play poker.
I think I need to stock up some snacks...