Wind storms blew through last night, taking down a giant bough from the Elm shading our front yard. This morning, when Bean tore open the front curtains to see what the day brought him, he was utterly delighted to find the enormous bough lying on the ground like a leafy gift from the gods. Rushing to get dressed and find his shoes, he flew out into the yard, peanut butter English muffin still clutched in his hand, oversized BYU sweatshirt floppy around his legs, and climbed into the branches.
Tucking my legs under me for warmth in this crazy May weather, I curled up on the couch, rested my chin on my hands, and settled in to watch him out the front picture window. The sky was still heavy and laden with pewter clouds and a dull drizzle threatened. Bean stomped in circles around the bough, like a lion circling his kill. He’d take an absent-minded bite of his muffin, his other hand on his hip while he surveyed the damage, and then looked up at the sky, and then the standing tree, where the bough had been high only the night before. Shoving the last bite of muffin in his mouth, he wiped the crumbs on his shirt and resumed his circling, which was becoming more of a stomp.
Glancing at the clock in the kitchen, I called to Jeffrey that carpool would be here in 10 minutes and to gather his things. He wandered in, one shoe on, hair in a bright orange haystack, and plopped next to me on the couch.
“What’s he doing now, mom?” Jeffrey rolls his eyes as he leans on me and looks out the window. Bean’s antics and tirades are a source of both amusement and pain for my oldest child. I understand- I do. As his mother, I straddle the fence between charmed, bemused amusement, and utter frustration and consternation at my second son. Mostly though, I think he’s fantastic.
“Well, it would appear that the tree-gods granted him a wish last night, and he’s dancing a joyful dance and stomping a fearful stomp.” Jeff rolls his eyes again- almost 10-year olds are good at that- and goes to rummage for his snack in the kitchen.
Bean is now, from within the bough, dragging it across the front lawn. Through the green leaves, I can catch glimpses of copper hair and bright blue pants, but mostly the giant branch looks possessed as it lurches in fits and starts across my front lawn. Now I’m curious what he’s got planned. Five minutes now before carpool should arrive…
He gets it to the far fence near the driveway, and begins to heave the branch- easily 20 times his size- over the side of the fence. I tap on the glass, and he turns to look, to see me shaking my head at him. He grins, front teeth still all missing, and keeps shoving the branches and leaves anyway.
Carpool arrives, and both boys tumble out the gate and into the waiting minivan- Bean covered in leaves and dirt and English muffin crumbs Jeffrey shaking his head and rolling his eyes still. I really hope Bean’s teacher knows he does have a mother, and that she does, in fact, love him a great deal.
At his request, I made Bean jello. Well, I should clarify: he asked for grape jello, and since I could not find grape, I thought perhaps I could trick him and bought the black raspberry instead. Unlike the orange jello I spilled all over the entire kitchen the other day in an unholy sticky neon mess, I actually achieved success with the raspberry and even was a good mom and cut it into fun shapes.
You’d think I’d know better by now than to try and fool this kid.
Last night, when I gave him his bowl of jello shapes, I was so pleased when he bounded off and returned the empty bowl a bit later. I thought I had tricked him with my raspberry/grape switcheroo. I continued to think that until this afternoon, when I went into the spare bedroom downstairs- when I was greeted with carefully cut out, good-mom approved, black raspberry jello shapes… all over the ceiling.
Yeah, you read that right. The ceiling.
“BEAN!!! Get down here RIGHT NOW!!” He thumped happily down the stairs and bounded into the guest room. Even at this point he doesn’t realize why I might be calling him. Until he sees me looking at the ceiling.
“Bean? Is this… JELLO on the ceiling? HOW DID JELLO GET ON THE CEILING?”
He has the decency to look slightly sheepish. His brows knit and he scowls at me. “I wanted grape! It wasn’t grape!”
Honestly, at this point I am trying to keep a straight face and not crack a smile or give in to the fits of giggles I feel coming. “Bean, WHY did you put the … wait- no… HOW did you get the jello on the ceiling?”
He perks up, and looks at me and pulls a spoon stashed under a blanket on the floor, “Like this mom! It was SO COOL!” as he demonstrates the flinging potential of a toy on a spoon catapulted across the room. “Abby did it too!” he tattles.
Abby peeks around the corner- she knows enough to be sheepish and hide from me- and I ask her if she contributed to the jello on the ceiling. She denies it, and when I press her, with Bean protesting that she is lying, to tell me the truth, she says “Nuh- uh! I didn’t! None of mine hit the ceiling!!”
I burst into laughter. There was simply no other option.
Both of them spent the next hour with sponge and a step ladder scrubbing jello off the ceiling in my guest room, and they are grounded from TV and computer time for the weekend. I’m sure this is going to be far more of a punishment from me than it is for them- and Bean is never having jello again. Grape, or otherwise.
At least he has his branch in the front yard to entertain him. Can’t wait to see what he come up with next.