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I’ve noticed that my eldest child really likes to argue with me.  There are four reasons I can think of for this.  Number 1 is bonding by argument.  I totally get it.  In my younger days, I used to flirt by starting arguments with the boys I liked.  In sixth grade, I used to argue with a guy about whether or not I was a nice person.  It was awesome, he was talking to me, not only talking, but saying I was nice.  Yep, I was arguing that I wasn’t a nice person.  In college, I took long walks with a really cute guy and the whole time I was debating all his beliefs.  I wanted to know what he really thought, not what his parents said, or his church said.  Plus, it kept him talking and interested.  It almost backfired though, as my playing devil’s advocate had him thinking I didn’t believe in the Bible and other crazy things.  Lucky for me, he stuck around and learned that I just really like to argue.  So I get it, debating is talking, and talking is relating.  Number 2 is that my son is testing to see if he can get me to back down.  He inherited my stubborn streak.  He’s also heard me say that I am the most stubborn person I know, and sees that as a challenge.  Number 3 is that he’s asserting his independence.  By opposing me at every angle he is “growing up” and “becoming his own person”.  Number 4 is to drive his mother crazy.  He knows I can’t resist an argument, and rarely will I stand by when I hear bad information being passed along.

His number one, go-to argument really does drive me to the loony bin.  It all began in the commissary parking lot.  Military commissaries normally assign letters to every other parking lane so you can remember when you parked your car.  In Alaska, to get into the Alaska spirit, pictures of native animals have replaced the letters.  You can park in the moose, bear or whale aisle.  There is one aisle in particular that I like to park in, it is strategically placed near the commissary exit.  The picture is that of a puffin, which I’m sure you know looks like a penguin with a large beak.  Ever since early childhood, I knew one fact about animal life on this planet.  Polar bears live at the North Pole, and penguins live at the South Pole, they do not live together, ever.  That fact has helped me answer many a trick question, and I have also been able to use it to show off at many a trivia contest.  Before we even moved here, I was able to tell my children that in Alaska there are polar bears, and there are, beyond a shadow of a doubt, absolutely no penguins.  Then at some point during the drive here, we found that there in fact were penguin-like birds here.  The puffin.  I did not know that, but I used that as a learning experience.  Xavier on the other hand felt lied to.  It looked like a penguin, and before that I’m not sure that he was aware of the existence of the puffin.  He now refuses to believe in puffins, stating that they are simply a variety of penguin. Now, every time I park at the commissary, or any other time the subject of puffins comes up, Xavier must say it is a penguin.  This argument is so heated, I wonder if the Hatfields and McCoys didn’t start their feud over something similar.

The amazing night of Monday Night Football, has given us another great feud.  Was that a legitimate touchdown, or a bad call?  As Xavier was rooting for the Seahawks, he is more than happy to call it a touchdown.  His main argument, in his childlike naiveté, is that the refs called it a touchdown, therefore a touchdown it must be.  I say Greg Jennings had control of the ball, at most the Seahawks tackled the Packers in the end zone, gaining a safety.  Don’t know if that would work on an interception, part of me wants to say that only the defence can score a safety.  I don’t know, my knowledge of football rules is negligible.  I could look it up easily if I wanted to, but I don’t care that much.  I do know enough, to know that if the defence intercepts the ball in the end zone, a touchdown is not scored.  And I call what happened Monday night an interception.  So now, anytime the Packers or Seahawks are brought up, my son likes to taunt me that his team scored in the last second of the game.  I cannot resist the bait, and the family feud is ignited.
Xavier has developed an interest in Fantasy Football.  He really wants to play.  While I know extremely little (although, I was the number 1 player in my league two seasons ago, before the playoffs, we won’t discuss the playoffs, just concentrate on number 1 at the end of the regular fantasy season), I have decided to teach him what I know, and let him help me with my fantasy team.  Together we picked a quarterback, and then we moved on to wide receivers.  Jennings happens to be my best wide receiver.  All work on developing a team that should beat my father’s team was shut down as we again debated the finer points of that touchdown/interception.  It didn’t help that ESPN was playing that clip in the background at the same time.  (We were at McDonald’s getting Monopoly pieces, in case you were wondering how ESPN came to be on.)

Now as a mom, I must learn to walk the tightrope between allowing good family fun of debating, and making sure that my son knows how to relate to people without picking fights.  Although, I can’t say that it has done me all that bad.  That guy I debated in college did eventually marry me.

Yesterday was a great day.  Taught all three of my kids.  I have learned that spelling lessons bring out the goofy in Xavier and me.  Goofy and spelling is good.  Poor child takes after me, so spelling is tough, it doesn’t come naturally.  When we are goofy, we are laughing; on days when we aren’t so very goofy, those are the days spelling brings us to tears.  So, yeah, goofy is good.  I need to remember that, and bring the silly to spelling every day.  All in all it was a really good school day.

Having been a good school day, Xavier’s suggestion that we should go out for dinner started to look pretty good in my mind.  Once he knew the idea to go out was firmly in my head, he went for his whole plan, Buffalo Wild Wings.  I usually don’t think things through very well, and will find myself in situations where I make nearly impossible plans.  Like going to Buffalo Wild Wings after the Monday night football game has already started.  This time, I did think about it.  I knew the only way to not have a forty-five minute wait on any given night at BWW was to get there before 4:30.  On Monday night, with the game starting at 4:30, I knew we’d have to be there even earlier.  All this was going through my head at about 4:15.  I tried to tell the boys it wasn’t the best night, but they gave me the look.  The cute kid look saying “please, please, please,” the look similar to Puss from Shrek.  And you know what?  Monday night football and teriyaki wings sounded very appealing.  So I looked at the boys and fully explained the situation.  We might not get a table until the game was over, but we could go, watch football, and eat when a table became open.  But they had to understand that, and behave while waiting, no matter how long, and no whining about being hungry.  They still begged to go, so off we went.  I’ll admit, a couple of weeks ago we would not have gone.  The rules in my head would have told me that there was no way we could get a seat.  If we wanted to try Monday night football at BWW, we needed to plan ahead, leave no later than 3:45, have Kindles and I-Pods charged (all electronics stayed home this go round), and I would have to feed the kids a snack before we left.  I threw the rules out the window in favor of potential fun.

As I drove to BWW, I realized I did forget one issue, where was I going to park?  It wasn’t like anyone parked would be leaving soon a half hour into the game.  However, I was able to find a spot on the street, there was room, and no No Parking signs.  I crossed my fingers that it was legal and parked.  Okay, I did more than cross my fingers, I determined by the parking of many other cars that parking on both sides of the street was okay, looked long and hard for No Parking signs, used what common sense I do have to determine it should be legal, and then crossed my fingers for some extra luck.

Once in BWW, I heard the hostess explaining to a party that with the game on they would give no wait time, the bar was full, and there were still seven parties ahead of them.  Fed up with waiting, one party said “Make that six” and left, along with the party talking to the hostess.  I was fully prepared to wait until the game was over, as long as my kids could wait with me. The game was on and the waiting area was sparsely populated with an entire bench free for my family to sit.  We put our name on the list and picked teams.  I’ll be honest, I could care less about either the Seahawks or the Packers.  Jennings in on my Fantasy Football team, but unless he could bring some major points (we are talking like 50) it really didn’t matter.  However, I happen to kinda like Rodgers, so I choose the Packers.  Austin, ever the pleaser, choose the Packers as well.  Xavier liked Seattle’s uniform, so he picked the Seahawks, and convinced Clara to join him.  We got into the game and began cheering.  The hostess gave coloring sheets and crayons to Clara and Austin.  Before long it was half time.  I crossed my fingers that some costumers would leave then, hoping to make it home by the second half.  The game was too close for anyone to be bored already.  My wish came true, tables began to empty.  And somehow, everyone ahead of us had left as well, we were at the top of the list and seated immediately.  I shouldn’t reveal this secret in case I ever want to repeat our luck, but when all was said and done, we were seated in the same amount of time we would have had to wait had there been no football game.  The wait even felt quicker because we weren’t crowded on top of people, and we were having fun watching the game.

Service was good, our drinks were always taken care of.  The food was great as always.  And we had fun.  Lots of fun.  The kids were all really getting into football and watching the game.  Cheering, paying attention, and learning more about the game.

We stayed until the last minute, you know the one where the refs decided the call on the field for the Seattle touchdown stood.  I still say, Jennings was the one with control of the ball, but Xavier agrees with the ref.  No matter the call, the game was exciting and I think I may have three football fans on my hands.  Call me silly, but I think a love of football is important.  You have to look past the issues, and there a lot of issues.  But football can teach loyalty, sticking with your team, even when they don’t win a game all season.  Football is also a great cultural bonding.  You meet a new person, and at least 75% of the time you can begin a conversation about football.  What teams they like, what they thought of that call last night, the list goes on and on.

After last night, my little football fans are playing a game and working on their touchdown dances.