Screen Shot 2013-01-18 at 7.26.47 AMI’m sitting here trying to clean off my desk so I won’t be tempted to bring this computer on my yoga retreat. But The Boy Who Doesn’t Sleep got up early. That’s what he does. He zeroes in on my productive energy using it as a beacon to show up by my side.  I wouldn’t mind this so much if he disturbed me when I was disturbing myself–like when I am browsing nonsense failing to get any work done, but today, I organized and cleaned out my inbox, wrote two articles, banged out a chunk of a project and thought about finishing up what I’m doing for quarter three, because midterm exams at school are almost over.

That is an expansive chunk of productivity for my mind.

“Mommy, come on.  Sit on the couch with me.” Here’s where the good parent fights the bad parent for supremacy. I want to cuddle, but I need to finish this pile.  And technically, I’ve gotten up early to do so–he’s invading my space.

“Can I work while we sit together?” Chances are good that I don’t want to watch any of his cartoons, but perhaps I can appear interested in them. Kill two birds with one monitor.

“You can bring your little computer. You have to sit with me.” Sounds like a compromise the UN could learn from.

Now…to choose a show…Invariably, there will be nothing he wants to watch when I am trying to work. He rejected the usual lineup.

“What’s that word?” he said as I paged through the listings. He must now read every word.  This slows down progress anytime we pass road signs, walk down an aisle in a grocery store, and it’s killing my ability to censor TV.  He can now read the letters which unite to form the greatest evil, “Sponge Bob,” and he finds all the other shows I either personally despise or do not think are developmentally appropriate for a kindergartener. I used to skip by them. Now…”Not so fast!”

Today, he found Power Rangers.

“We don’t need to watch these–how about Max and Ruby?” Max and Ruby are two bunnies who solve little problems without parental supervision. That’s exciting.

“No, Mommy, I like Power Rangers.”  Well, since I don’t put them on, that’s a mystery. “What about Power Rangers do you like?” I inquired.

“Well, they fight to save the world. Just like Po fights to save China.”  Kung Fu Panda does indeed fight to save China, but also results in a hefty dose of me getting punched in the gut or kicked in the knee. I am not so amused by that.

But alas, it’s time…

Time to have this discussion–Declan has just started to attend karate class. His sister is his primary instructor now–teaching martial arts has been our business for years, and is, in fact, the way I met my husband. We have handed down the instruction to the next generation of teachers while my husband works on adult fitness and kickboxing and I work on teaching and not being the suckiest mom in the world.

I believe in the lessons of martial arts, from the self-confidence and physical fitness, to the actual history and development of the arts themselves. I love the great philosophers, and Zen masters. And I can rationalize fighting to save the world. The job of every great martial artist in history was to kill–that’s what warriors do. They weren’t always the best men. When I apply the strategies of Sun Tsu or Musashi to my life I realize that they developed these thoughts to avoid being wiped off the planet. Sun Tsu was perhaps the greatest strategic general and Musashi the best swordsman that ever lived. Generals and swordsmen fight and kill.

I’m using them for peace and strategy–that’s my problem. Their job was to avoid being killed. End of story.  Musashi never would have said, “Now, here’s how you deal with corporate raiders on Wall Street.” It is we who bastardize the history to make those connections. In truth, I sort of like the Zen connections. They inspire me.

Being a Gandhi-loving pacifist and a martial artist must seem like a paradox. This is deep philosophy. And it now time to discuss the intersection of peace with crusading for justice with Declan because he is done with little kid TV and trying to sneak in the superheroes and action ‘toons at every opportunity.

Screen Shot 2013-01-18 at 7.28.28 AMSo, right now, at this moment, I’m busy relearning my Power Rangers, Ninja Turtles, and how Po saves China from bad guys.  I am being told that it’s okay to fight to save the world from bad guys, and I’m trying to get a handle on what a bad guy is in the mind of a kindergartener.  I’ve learned that you can always tell a bad guy because they’re like monsters, sometimes they eat your brains and they are ugly. I’ll remember this if I’m walking down the street. I’ve met bad guys before, and they always took me off guard because I didn’t know these critical facts.

Maybe now that I’m taking the time to watch these shows and listen to my resident expert on bad guys, I’ll have an easier time keeping peace and order in my life–staying away from evil and all. I’d much rather think that this is what I’m doing right now rather than caving in to my hatred of the TV so I can get some work done.

[images: and hipsterdad’]

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