I took the twins to a holiday craft fair on a recent weekend and I noticed that my nine-year-old son may need some help responding appropriately to people in social situations.
He narrowed his eyes at her suspiciously. “Why?” he asked. “Are you trying to FIND us?!”
(I guess you can’t get away with anything with this kid!)
But, of course, that was a stranger, I told myself. He’s not used to talking to strangers. Still, he seemed to also have a problem with people he knows.
Unexpectedly we saw his teacher in another booth. She greeted him by name and asked, “How are you?”
Again he seemed suspicious and said slowly, “I don’t know how to answer that.”
(Truthfully I think he was just confused at seeing his teacher outside of school. Isn’t she supposed to LIVE in the classroom?)
The twins are nine now and have recently discovered the existence of Bad Words.
Obviously they find such forbidden words fascinating, and often tell me about something they heard another kid at school say with an air of shocked glee.
- Kid:”I would never say this, Mommy, but Tanner said the S word. The S H word, Mommy. The S H I word. The S–”
- Me: “Yeah, yeah. Stop now; I get it!”
This has led to some less-than-fun conversations about what these words actually mean. Ugh.
Anyways, this summer we happened to pass a mall with a Dick’s Sporting Goods store and they noticed it.
Little Boy stage-whispered to his sister, “Look!!” She gasped. “That store is named after a bad word.”
I remained silent and listened to them process this shocking information together in the back seat. “Why would they do that?” Little Girl wondered aloud.
“Maybe it’s the name of the guy who owns the store,” Little Boy mused. “Maybe that’s his name and he named the store after himself. ”
Little Girl was horrified. “Why would anyone name their son after a penis?” she said.
The library’s theme for their summer reading program was “Build a Better World,” so at the end of the show he told the kids to think of something they could do to help make the world a better place. “Tell one of the library ladies your idea on the way out,” he said, “and they’ll give you a sticker!”
I took the twins over to where kids were lining up for stickers and told them to think of something to say. I suggested recycling.
“Grown-ups love it when you say you are going to recycle,” I told the kids. No one liked that idea.
Little Girl decided she didn’t really want a sticker but Little Boy seemed to be thinking hard. When we got to the front of the line, he whispered something in the library lady’s ear.
“What?” she said. “I can’t hear you. How would you help make a better world?”
I leaned in to help listen and heard my son say, “I’d help the library put on better shows.”
I yanked him out of line before anyone could hear that statement and pulled him aside. “You can’t say THAT!” I hissed. “Think of something else.”
He looked at me. “Well, if I got the sticker I could try to make it last forever,” he said. “That would be good for the world.”
I rolled my eyes. “Just go back over there and tell the nice lady you are going to recycle, okay?”
He sighed and got back in line. “I’m going to recycle,” he said dispiritedly.
“Oh wow!” said the lady excitedly, handing him the sticker. “That’s a great way to build a better world!”
Little Boy looked less than enthusiastic, but he stuck the sticker on his shirt and came back to me. I was pleased to have avoided having him trash my uncle’s concert to library management, and he seemed fairly happy with the sticker, so I’ll call that a win/win.
Note: Later on, Little Boy was talking about how much he’d liked the show, so I said, “Why did you want them to get better shows then?”
It turns out that what he’d meant was that they should have more shows at the library LIKE THAT ONE. So I suppose he wasn’t actually trashing the concert… but it had sure sounded like it!
I suppose it looked suspicious because it was crammed so full of stuff.
The TSA agents dug through my backpack, randomly swabbing various items to test for bomb residue (including some paperback novels, my half- finished quilt squares, and a bunch of Laffy Taffy candy). I wondered which of the Laffy Taffies looked the most likely to be a bomb, since he was only checking some of them.
My nine-year-old daughter took the opportunity to ask me: “Mom, what’s a trophy wife?”
I tried to think of an explanation. “Well,” I said, “I guess it’s a wife that’s way better than the other wives so she costs a lot of money.”
All the TSA agents around us burst out laughing.
I shrugged. “Sorry guys,” I said. “Looks like she’s been listening to people trash-talk each other on family vacation.”
Do we still look suspicious?
The twins have recently entered the world of e-mail. This means they can insult each other electronically.
How quickly they grow up!
I remember when they first learned to write, and left rude notes for each other.
It just warms your heart, doesn’t it?
Conversation with my just-turned-nine-year-old son:
- HIM: Is Adventure Time an old show?
- ME: I guess… I mean it’s not a brand-NEW show…
- HIM: So it’s old, then?
- ME: Well, I wouldn’t call it OLD, exactly…
- HIM: Why not?
- ME: It wasn’t around when I was a kid or anything.
- HIM: (laughs) Well I know THAT. It’s in color!
- ME: How old do you think I am, kid?