Santa Barbara isn’t very well equipped for rainy days.
Neither is my son.
Eventually, when you coop up 59 pounds of eight-year-old boy energy inside a teeny tiny house for too long, something’s got to give.
Usually it’s my sanity.
While I would be perfectly happy — ecstatic, in fact — to spend a rainy day inside, curled up on the couch with a good book, my son looks at that same couch and sees a trampoline, a mountain to climb, or a boxing ring.
At first it’s kind of amusing. After all, we have old furniture for a reason.
But the last weekend it rained here was four days long, thanks to a teacher in-service day. They got trained and I got drilled. That’s 96 hours of rain, and what felt like 906 hours of being cooped up indoors.
When Koss started playing vaseball, with an aim at my roses, I lost my sense of humor, took a few deep breaths and tried to imagine how other moms of boys (MOBs) would handle it.
I remember Sally Cappon telling me about how when it rained on one of her three son’s birthday parties, she had the boys do indoor relay races up and down her hallway. They loved it.
Unfortunately, in my house, the “hallway” consists of the living room, which adjoins the bedrooms to the kitchen. So much for that plan.
Another MOB friend, Andrea Peterson, encourages her three sons to play outside in rain, sleet and snow. “So what if they get dirty, it comes off,” is her philosophy. Great logic, unless of course, like me, you only have one child, which means I’d be the one to brave the elements.
No thanks. I’m still sneezing and injured from the last three minutes I tried to play mudball.
Even if I were willing to break the rules about television and computer use for the weather, the poor kid can only sit still for so long.
No matter how much you try to civilize them, little boys are wired for action.
Before he was born I was sure I would raise him exactly the same way I would have raised a girl.
Then I woke up and discovered how little it mattered what I did.
It took Koss about 10 minutes to decide he liked his stuffed football toy better than his teddy bear and another 10 minutes to decide that peeing in my face was hysterically funny.
I’ll never forget pushing one-year-old Koss and his friend Sophia on the swings at La Mesa Park. A gardener drove by on a mini tractor.
You would have thought Barney had landed in a giant space ship and was handing out lollipops the way Koss jumped up and down on his swing.
Meanwhile, Sophia was happily gazing at the trees.
Big machines became one of the highlights of our lives. We would stake out construction sites — to the point where I’m sure the crew thought I was a stalker. For a really special outing, I’d take him to climb on the lawn mowers at Home Depot.
Rather than imagine the beautiful rows of peonies he might plant, when he climbed on the mower, he’d pretend to shoot aliens or be racing through the desert. Whatever the imaginary game, he always won.
Boys, apparently, can make a competition out of anything.
We recently went to the Long Beach Aquarium, where the highlights of Koss’s day were shooting the life-sized dolphin- and whale-shaped squirt guns at brave passers-by and watching the harbor seals compete for a raft. Koss and several other little boys actually got the crowd chanting, “Go Red, Go Red” (for the seal with the red identifying tag) in his battle to dominate “Yellow” for play pool superiority. The boys were so enthusiastic that I half-expected a flurry of Pokeman cards and marbles to change hands after each round.
Ah, the joys of MOB-dom.
Ah, the joys of rain.
Since we had already taken Koss to every movie that could conceivably be deemed appropriate, we took him to run some errands, just to get out of the house.
He dismantled the children’s section at Borders, and then created an obstacle course at Long’s.
If this weather doesn’t let up soon I’ll be destined to spend the rest of his childhood disguised in dark glasses and blonde wig, lest someone should associate me with this miniature wild man wrecking havoc on what used to be our sleepy little town.
On the way home I called the newslines, checking to see what other havoc the weather has created. Surprisingly, the only thing on there was a fire department report from Santa Maria about a bull with a plastic bucket stuck on his head. Apparently the bull was able to get the bucket off without firefighter intervention.
I laughed as I told Koss about the “big news story” of the weekend.
I could almost see the light bulb light in his boy-wired brain.
“Do you think the firefighters would come to our house if I could get a bucket to stick on my head?”
Maybe, just this once, I’ll let him have a little extra time on the computer. Eight hours of CartoonNetwork.com can’t be that bad, can it?