Patrick loves to bug his teachers, but they're not the only people he bothers. He likes to wait until we're alone, driving in a car or going places, and then act all goofy and silly with me.
"How do you know that God is the only god?" he asks me out of the blue. Well, because the Bible tells us so, that there are not other gods, or rather, that the "other gods" are just idols. I think. I'm trying to negotiate the parking lot and don't multitask very well.
Patrick doesn't even stop to think about that one. "How do you know that God didn't just defeat some Titan and BECOME God? Hmm?"
What? "Like Zeus," he nods and smiles as if he's in thought. "You know, Zeus and I have a personal relationship." He notes my expression, but he's enjoying himself. "No, really. He speaks to me. I mean, he doesn't speak AUDIBLY to me. Just... in spirit." Here he looks upward and holds his hand to his heart like one of those cheesy "Jesus holding the lamb" pictures everyone has stashed somewhere. Maybe if he works at it he can be God someday himself. He's just not sure whose butt he has to kick first.
Of course I tell him how dopey that really is and to quit it because Dad needs pop at Wal-Mart and he's taking too long getting out of the car. Patrick acts all insulted that I've belittled the holy writings HE wants to talk about blah blah blah.
Siiiigh. I know teens are supposed to "test limits," but I hardly know what to say to him. He doesn't rebel in the conventional sense. He insists his siblings eat dinner with him. He doesn't feel comfortable going to church alone. He is having a HUGE HUGE hissy fit about having to miss Wednesday night church this week because he must practice for the orchestra trip to China. I mean... refusal to skip church for free pizza?
Seriously. The kid doesn't make any sense. He's either questioning theology entirely so he can mess with my brain for fun or wondering why we don't do things more properly and conservatively for reallio.
I'm trying to tell him that it's ok for very occasional church-missings for something as big as a trip to China. It's also ok to miss school very occasionally for something important at church. BALANCE, ok? Of course I get the Jesus-going-to-temple verses from the guy and a general refusal to go... again.
I told him he's going, and he can choose between violating what Mom said and having perfect church attendance. Your pick.
He's decided that this one time, he will be ok practicing the cello and eating pizza with his friends. God bless him. I hope he has a good time.
In other news, Elf and Emperor had to accompany me on my latest trip to the laundromat. My dryer is busted and there is NO way I'm hanging my nasty stained stuff outside for everyone to look at. I save a lot of money on clothes and towels by not replacing soiled things. Hey, they're clean. They just don't look very good.
We emerged from the van with some wet clothes and some odd looks from onlookers.
"This... laundry place... is a whole building for laundry!" exclaimed Emperor in a loud tone as we entered.
"It's just like on MR. BEAN! Where he LOSES HIS PANTS!" screamed Elf.
Ohhhhh... I'm only cringing on the inside. I gave books to Elf and Emperor and told them to go sit over there and start reading. I had Rose beside me in the stroller and Woodjie off at preschool, so now I had a shot at getting the clothes dried. Woo-hoo.
But Emperor didn't want to read aloud if other people are nearby! They might LISTEN!
Um, no one cares. No one cares, Emperor, I swear. But after clarifying with me that I was not "swearing" even though I said that I swore (I know, I do this sort of thing 500 times a day; it's almost second nature), I finally get him to move to the general area with the book.
Ok, he's there now, but the book feels too soft and he can't hold it! I had to hold it for him!
Strangely enough, this is a usual thing at home. He has to have the book not touch his hands. He can read just fine as long as he doesn't actually have to touch paper. That would just feel all weird. Arrrgh. I get the clothes into the dryer and hold the book open for him.
Rose is the only easy one. Rose occupied herself with plastic frogs and said "ribbit" every now and then. Elf must gesticulate and do all the accents whilst he is reading. I'm trying to let it slide that he has stood up and is waving his arms around dramatically. This Elf would be great for the theatre if he weren't so afraid of "more than five people in the room." A fat old woman apparently doesn't like classic literature or free theatre and hobbles over to the other end of the room to (eew) clip her fingernails. Just as well.
Oh, well... the drying session ended up with a big fight about who got to sit in which chair and declarations of *eternal* hate. I made Elf apologize for yelling at him, but while he did, Emperor had to howl about something. Just shhh. Let him finish talking. Now what... ?
Elf HAD HIS FINGERS CROSSED during the apology. Then he doesn't have to mean it! I made him get his hands out of his pockets, and his fingers were crossed. Emperor is in tears because now Elf's apology is null and void, and he is *eternally* hated.
Elf's evil plan had been discovered. I'm pretty miffed, staring at him and waiting for the big confession and apology.
"But that would be dishonest!" Elf tells me. "And you are placing temptation in my path by making me lie and say I'm sorry. AND I **HATE** HIM FOREVER!! He took my chaiiiir! GRRR!"
I am just not saying anything right this minute, because I am rounding up the folded clothes as quickly as possible. We make it to the van after the entire basket falls on the girl's head from the top of the stroller and I have to comfort her.
Other people at the laundromat do not want to see this, I tell them after they have finally buckled in and are ready to go. This is just soooo not OK. I'm sorry that you lost your star for today.
"Wait. We lost our star?" came the bewildered voice from the back of the van. Ohhh, the injustice of it all. I don't know how I could be so arbitrary about these things.