Moxie Mom On Life and Kids

MOXIE MOM on Life & Kids

Caffeine High

I discovered the pleasures of a caffeine-infused child the other day when Ty bought and consumed a 16-ounce container of Mountain Dew at 5:00 in the afternoon. Naturally, it was when I wasn’t there to say no, which I have been saying for years.

Not surprisingly, he couldn’t get to sleep until after 11:00, each trip down the stairs to let me know accompanied by bigger and bigger bags under his eyes. He also tends to go a shade of pale when he’s beyond tired, and by 11:00 he was the color of new snow. There wasn’t a thing I could do to help him.

But when he told his dad (who had been out of town) about it the next day, what Ty recalled with a broad smile was the joy of jangly nerves and the half hour of a movie he got to watch with me at 10:00pm. No memory of the hangover at school, the deep fatigue that dogged him through the day.

According to a variety of articles on the Web, kids’ caffeine intake is growing, and you’re just as likely to stand in line at Starbucks behind a sullen teen as a hurried businessman (and we wonder why the kids can’t sit still in class). But there’s been little research on kids and caffeine, according to the Washington Post’s “Rousing Kids to Caffeine’s Consequences.”

I’m all for adults drinking Red Bull during sports—indeed there was a time when I couldn’t get through an ultimate Frisbee tournament without the promise of performance-enhancing caffeine, but for kids, not so much. I’m thinking it’s time the research kicked in.

Meanwhile, I’ll have to trust that Ty doesn’t drink Mountain Dew. After, uh, 10:00am.

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Outdoor Adventures

Over the weekend, Ty and his dad went out for their own outdoor adventure and some male bonding, while Leah and I stayed home to watch movies and sleep in our beds.

At 8:15 in the morning, as I lounged with a book in bed and listened to the rain, Ty burst through the door, hair damp, shirt wet, eyes sparkling.

“Hey, buddy,” I said.

“We started walking at 5:00 this morning,” Ty crowed. “We’ve been awake since 3:00, and my sleeping bag is soaking. I had to sleep in it that way.”

For a boy who’s quick to moan that a trail is too steep and his legs are too tired, or the day is too rainy to go outside, he seemed mighty cheerful about sleeping in a wet sleeping bag (I hate it, myself).

Ty's bivy spot for the night

When Ty and Curt later showed me the pictures of their little hike to the top of Gee Peak, I was surprised to see how rocky and small the top was. And they slept up there. Under a rainfly.

“Yeah, it was too small for us to sleep side by side,” said my husband. “There wasn’t room to set up a tent.”

“How exposed was it?” I asked. Climber jargon (not that I am one but being married to one for 15 years entitles me).

“It was pretty airy.”

Uh huh.

“Yeah, Mom, you wouldn’t have liked it. It was steep and there were cliffs,” Ty interjected.

Ty reading on Gee Peak

Turning his head to whisper, Curt said, “It wasn’t that bad. There were trees that would break your fall. It’s not like it was a sheer cliff or anything.”

Uh huh.

Ty’s right, I’m glad I wasn’t there. I have a thing about heights, and when my progeny is leaning out over open space, I get a little breathless. On the other hand, if he gets this excited about scrambling around on steep slopes and sleeping out in a downpour and, well, if I’m not there to have to watch, I’m thinking it’s worth it. Truly, he was as pumped as a hound on a hunt. Curt and I are already scheming on ways to get him out again.

Ty and Dad I guess there is something to male bonding. Even if I was willing to sleep out in the rain, I’m a mom, after all (even if I do like to hike), good for finding the Band-Aids and giving hugs, but not so great, it seems, for helping a boy discover his inner man.

Point taken.


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Boy Disputes

Yesterday a friend of Ty’s spent the afternoon at our house, and at some point not long before it was time for him to go home, I realized the boys had had a silent falling out over sharing a book. I tried to help them come to a solution, but they were pretty clearly positioned in their corners, and Ty’s friend ended up going home in tears.

“How was F. today?” I asked Ty when he got from school this afternoon. “Was he still mad?”

“No, he was fine. We agreed that I was mean and he made a big deal out of something small.”


I’m thinking the female persuasion could learn something from this.

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Garage Sale Gems

Ty came home yesterday with a 50-year-old packet of chewing gum he’d bought at a garage sale—as far as I can tell, the highlight of his summer. (The garage sale was a few houses down from the friend’s house where he was playing.)

Aside from computer games, Ty’s favorite pastime is garage saling, so much so he paid his bored friend to stay longer so he could peruse further. When he came home he flew into the house with his purchase.

“Wow. That’s quite find. How much did it cost?” I asked.

“Twenty-five cents.”

Well, at least he didn’t have to pay antique prices for antique gum.

“Have you eaten any of it?”

“Oh, no, Mom, this gum is more than fifty years old.”

Just checking.

So we admired the labeling, and he opened the end of a stick to show me its brownish hue, presumably the result of no dye rather than age, although we couldn’t be sure. We also read the ingredients and wondered if they were more natural than gum nowadays. They sounded more natural.

Later, in the car, he mused aloud about the steak knife at the garage sale. We have been talking lately about needing them in our house.

“Did you buy it?” his sister asked.


“Why not?”

“Think about it, Leah. Two nine-year-olds and a steak knife?”

Leah and I had to laugh. No, I suppose that wouldn’t do, would it?


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Last night I took Ty to the library for some books on Montezuma (his choice) for a school research project. As we descended the steps toward the fountain, he said, “I used to think throwing pennies in the fountain was good luck. Now I know it’s just a waste of money.”

My little businessman.

When the kids were small and we trekked to the library for story time, the event of the day was throwing pennies into the fountain, as it is for most Bellingham toddlers. Life came to a screeching halt if we didn’t take the time to toss a good-luck penny and study where it landed. Judging from the number of pennies in the fountain (and it’s only May) the tradition is carrying on.

Without us.

Now my son is hunkered at the dining table reading from a history book written for adults. The Aztecs and Montezuma and blood sacrifices and Cortes. The bowed head, the creased brow as he tries to read unpronounceable names, the reciting of new information—it all charms me. He’s as cute now at nine as he was at three. It’s different, though, less innocent.

I miss the penny throwing.

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