The Happy Bus

Jon writes our “When a Toddler Turns Teen” posts here on the blog because believe it or not, your adorable bundle of joy will grow up….


happybusWere we that unusual? I don’t think so. My wife and I talked and talked while the bun was in the oven, “It’ll be great to sit and do homework with him, and we can take him to all kinds of really educational and fun places, we’ll instill a love of learning and I can coach him in sports, and you can teach him to read, and…..” Then Gus popped into this world (well it was more of a slide than a pop, but that was just my impression from the cheap seats), and we were all about his uniqueness and accomplishments:

“Oh isn’t he special?”
“yes
so special.”
“And smart.”
“Just like you, and sweet.”
“Like you, and…”

Can you say “OMG?!”
He was truly cute, and special and it was “All aboard the Happy Bus people, it’s going to be a lovely ride!”

What the heck happened?  Hormones hijacked the Happy Bus, that’s what.
Every little child is precious and full of potential. Every parent sees their little one as special – and why wouldn’t they? But then the little ones hit double digits and by middle school (in our case, Junior High School), things change. It becomes “Let me put a few graffiti accents here on the side of this bus and while I’m at it….push over, old man…I’ll drive for a while!”

For instance, Gus goes to a dance, but we have to drop him off on the other side of the parking lot, in fact, if we’d just slow down as we drive by so he could just jump out, that’d be perfectly fine with him. Can’t have the kids at school see that you have parents, you know. Seems the entire school was cloned or hatched or something.

Gus and I bowl in a family twosome league, I score about 180 to 190 pretty consistently, Gus gets a little over 100. He’s struggling and his fundamentals are, well, he has none. Will he take advice from Dad? Nope – Dad’s an idiot. Advice from complete strangers like the league coach, or even the lady at the snack bar? You bet!

happybus2A number of years ago Gus wanted to go on vacation to Pittsburgh. He wanted to see Fort Pitt. Nice trip, educational too, just as we had always deluded ourselves. So we went, learned some history and actually had a great visit – to Pittsburgh. This year we were going to go big time and visit the Grand Canyon. Not the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon- THE Grand Canyon. Nope, Gus is not interested. “Who wants to see a big hole in the ground?”  Yep, the ol’ happy bus has gone off road, and we have no GPS!

Remember the “And you can help him with homework,” part? Negatory there good buddy. He never brings it home. Seems he hates repeating himself. “They ask the same things on the tests and quizzes, so why bother?” he protests. And he aces all the tests and quizzes, the homework is just an easy GPA booster. Nope, nope, nope. How in the world Pat from Annoyingly Boring gets his kids to do this, is anyone’s guess.

Good to know we’re not alone, though. I’m told these are the trying turbulent years and that it gets better.  All I know is I want the keys to my Happy Bus back….and soon!

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4 Responses to “The Happy Bus”

  1. PG March 26, 2009 at 3:39 pm #

    Usually homework time is a bit more hectic than that photo represents! The kids took pity on me though and buckled down so I could knock off “H” on my A-Z subset.

    Homework with my oldest is usually bit of a battle, with nicer weather coming though it’s easier to make sure it gets done.

    I am home with them afternoons so the homework has to get done before anybody goes outside to play.

  2. Leslie M. April 2, 2009 at 10:31 pm #

    The years Buzz by so fast! You just wish you could bottle up those baby days! One day they are crawling and the next you sending them off to college! It goes by too fast!
    Enjoy every minute of every day! It is a precious Gift from God!
    Leslie

  3. Rose April 5, 2009 at 5:37 pm #

    I love this write-up, and can TOTALLY relate. I love the before/now pictures too, they add a great touch. Hang in there, dad, sooner than you can blink, they become compassionate, caring young men (I know, I have four little darlings…one who is not so little at all).

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