Tuesday, May 21, 2013

So, I Have a Great Idea...

This is yesterday’s post-school-pick-up, in-the-car conversation with my 6-year-old.  That’s all the set-up this needs.  And all the hyphens it needs as well.

BEAR:  So, I have a great idea.

ME:  Yes?

BEAR:  You can give me maybe three hundred dollars or so, and then I can get my own iPhone with its own phone and apps, and then I won’t have to use yours.

ME:  Hm.  Interesting.  No.

BEAR:  [incredulous] No???

ME:  Nope.  It’s highly unlikely you’ll get your own phone for quite some time.

BEAR:  When?

ME:  I don’t know. I haven’t thought about it. But at six… no.

BEAR:  When?

ME:  Not for a while.

BEAR:  When?

ME:  Jeez… maybe in middle school.

BEAR:  When’s middle school?

ME:  Sixth grade.

BEAR:  So in a little over four years?

ME:  Good math.  Look, I honestly don’t know when you'll get a phone. No promises. Maybe high school.

BEAR:  When’s that?

ME:  Ninth grade.

BEAR:  So maybe seven years?

ME:  Possibly. I really don’t know. Quit it.

BEAR:  Yesssss!!!

ME:  Glad that makes you happy.

BEAR:  [without a pause in the conversation] May I get my pilot’s license?

ME:  Your what? Your pilot’s license? Like to fly a plane?

BEAR:  Yeah.

ME:  Um, someday. Sure. Though I’m pretty certain it’ll be a few years until you’re old enough. You may need to be at least old enough to drive a car.

BEAR:  Which is how old?

ME:  Sixteen.

BEAR:  Forget the pilot’s license.  I just need a phone so I can do my job.

ME:  Your job...

BEAR:  Yes, I’m going to be a cop.

ME:  You are? That’s great.

BEAR:  Well, okay, I’m retiring from being a cop.

ME:  Already? You’re a very young retiree. I’m not sure you even qualify for social security.

BEAR:  Well, it’s time.

ME:  Will you have another career?

BEAR:  I want to be a travel worker.

ME:  Um… a what?

BEAR:  A travel worker. Like you. I want to work from my house, with you, and then travel to visit people, with you.
This has nothing to do with this topic. I just like sharing it. Because... yay me.
I’ve now figured out how to describe my job to people, who always get confused when I try to explain what I do. From now on, two words suffice:  travel worker.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother of the Year

Tonight I made Bagel Bites for my Bear for dinner.  You’ve seen these things, haven’t you?  They’re essentially tiny pizza bagels.  They’re sold and stored frozen; you can cook them in the oven, toaster or microwave.  They’re chock full of nutrients (not), so an ideal dinner for a growing boy (again, not).

Prior to being cooked, the cheese on top of the bagel bites looks like solid little white squares.  As you can see from the photo below, many of the little square cheese bits on the Bagel Bites don’t actually melt flat but remain in various states of square-dom post-heating.

Mmm... such organic, healthy goodness. 
Now that you have the low-down on Bagel Bites, I can proceed with the telling of tonight’s tale.  We were sitting at the dinner table – Bear eating his Bagel Bites, Ballerina and my husband and I eating pasta – when Bear’s little hand suddenly hovered in front of my face. His 6-year-old fingers held what looked like a tiny mass of two or three somewhat unmelted cheese bits.

“Mom,” he said, “is this a tooth? Did I just lose a tooth?”

“Um…,” I stalled, trying to sort out the right response. “Have you had a loose tooth this week?”

“No,” stated Bear.

Full of confidence, I replied, with conviction, “Then no, it’s not a tooth. No worries. Just eat it.”

Bear looked at me with the slightest hint of doubt, but he dutifully put the little blob back in his mouth and crunched down.  He looked at me as he ground down this little bite and swallowed it.  Then dinner continued as usual, and all was forgotten.  Until…

At bedtime, I went to Bear’s room to have our usual little pre-sleep chat.  He was on the ground playing with a few Lego Star Wars figures, so I laid down on the ground near him and propped up my head in my hands, getting comfy for our good night ritual. Something I said to Bear made him smile, and that’s when I noticed this:

lost tooth

See the gap just to the left of Bear’s front tooth?  Yeah, um, that’s what I saw. As it happens, that gap is brand new. Fresh. Wasn’t there earlier today, if you get what I’m saying. And if you don’t, let me spell it out for you.
  1. Tonight, I fed my child a really poor excuse of a dinner.
  2. During this poor excuse of a dinner, I made my child eat the tiny tooth he lost during said poor excuse of a dinner.

Fortunately, Bear finds this immensely funny. He also realized, after he finished laughing at me, that the opposite tiny tooth is loose, which excites him to no end. Of course, Bear was relieved to hear that the Tooth Fairy magically is aware that he lost a tooth - even though we have no actual tooth to show for it - and will be bringing him some nice pocket change.

And the best part is that all of this gloriousness happened on Mother’s Day. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Heartless Murder of an Imaginary Friend

I’m a big softy and a sucker for a cause, especially any cause that promises to improve the lives of children in some way – preventing bullying, providing wigs for kids, curing childhood cancer...  

Still, “caring” and “compassionate” weren’t always adjectives that could describe me.  My nature from birth was more inclined toward strict pragmatism, even bordering - for much of my youth - on coldly calculating practicality.  It took many years for me to develop even what I’d consider a “normal” level of empathy and kindness, much less the overflowing blob of emotion that I now can harbor when I’m confronted with the injustices of the world.

Case in point:  My imaginary friend.  According to my mother, when I was 2 or 3 I had an imaginary friend.  It’s something that I forget about most of the time, but the other day I was reminded of this when I found myself answering a slew of questions – asked by my little daughter – about the untimely demise of a child’s imaginary friend in the movie “Parental Guidance.” (If you have not seen this flick, give it a shot. It’s very cute.)

According to my mother, my imaginary friend was named Dansindoor.  I can only speculate about the actual spelling of his name, as I didn’t know how to spell back when my imaginary friend told me his name, so just go with me on this.  And to answer your next question, no, I have no memory of him whatsoever.  See?  Callous.  But it gets worse.  Far worse.

Apparently, Dansindoor was very small and lived in my pocket.  Once in a while, I would take him out and hold him up in the palm of my hand, and we would sing songs to people.  When we were finished singing, I would return Dansindoor to the cozy confines of my pocket.  (I have no idea where I kept him when I didn’t have a pocket in my clothing, though perhaps he lived in an imaginary pocket in that case.  See how that whole imaginary thing works?)

Anyway, as the story goes, one day I apparently no longer needed Dansindoor. Did I wish him a fond, tearful farewell? No. Did I have a long talk with my parents about the fact that I was ready to confront the world on my own terms? Nope. This is what I did:  I took Dansindoor out of my pocket and sang to someone – my mother, I assume, as she’s the one who tells me this sordid story. When we were done with our final little ditty, I looked at the invisible little being standing on my palm and said, “Good-bye, Dansindoor.” Then, with my other hand, I swiftly and unceremoniously clapped down, squashing my imaginary friend into oblivion.

That’s right. I murdered my imaginary friend. In cold blood. With no remorse.

Pretty bad, right?  Yeah, I thought so, too. 

But that’s not exactly the end of the story. Not anymore. Because the other day, as I recounted this to my children during their ride home from school, this was their response:

Bear (6):  “That is the most terrible thing you’ve ever told me. You should never kill your friends, even imaginary ones. Never tell me about that again.”

Ballerina (5):  “Mommy! That story was awesome! My favorite part was when you said, ‘Good-bye, Dasindoor,’ and then you squashed him! Can you tell it again?”
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