Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Birthday Suit

Like most young boys, Son has an extreme aversion to formal wear. Given the choice between a necktie and a noose, I'm pretty sure he'd choose the noose. Getting him into a tux for his aunt's wedding required cunning and guile known only to members of the Mafia. Well, cunning, guile and a major bribe.

The excuses we hear about why he can't possibly wear anything but jeans and t-shirts are usually pretty entertaining; it's too big, too little, too red, the stripes clash with his hair (Don't ask. We still haven't figured that one out yet.) But he came up with one excuse that is my all time favorite.

The occasion was Son’s birthday a couple of years ago. To his very great dismay, his birthday fell on a Sunday, meaning that rather than spending an entire day indulging in whatever revelry and debauchery he had planned he was going to have to spend some of the day in church.

Never one to let an opportunity to tease Son pass him by, (Hubs figures it’s fair play since we are rapidly approaching the teen years when Son will make our lives worrisome and difficult so we might as well avenge ourselves while we have the chance.) Hubs announced, “Hey! Guess what? Since it’s your birthday and it’s Sunday, you can wear your birthday suit to church!”

As expected, Son was horrified. “No! There is NO WAY I’m wearing my BIRTHDAY SUIT to church!” Not only did I find Hubs suggestion humorous, but I also found Son’s reaction rather amusing, probably because the boy doesn’t even own a suit. Well I mean, he DOES have a birthday suit, of course, but it’s not really something he wears outside the house. (Though oddly he will wander about the house in it from time to time.)

Son's Sunday attire is comprised of Dockers, a dress shirt and a tie, and each item of clothing is so despised that it is removed from his person and thrown on the floor before the front door slams behind him upon his return from church.

Son's sensibilities were so outraged by the very idea of voluntarily wearing a suit of any kind, birthday or otherwise, that he apparently forgot the fact that he doesn't actually own a suit. He simply went straight to argument mode. Hubs was therefore able to keep the charade going for quite some time. With a perfectly straight face Hubs asked,

“Why not? It’s a suit. It’s a Sunday. It’s your birthday. What could be more appropriate?”

You know, it’s interesting how much pressure can build in my head without having it (head, not pressure) actually explode when one is trying to stifle laughter. And in our house, given our affinity for sadistic humor, being faced with the struggle of trying to maintain a straight face (not to mention an intact skull) is a fairly common occurrence. I have a lot of practice, but I still can’t quite keep a straight face the way Hubs can. Still, keeping in mind that tormenting our child is a noble endeavor, I kept things under control.

At least I did right up until Hubs asked, “But that suit is so cute. I think it’s the cutest little birthday suit I’ve ever seen.” Son was so incensed that he didn't even notice as I started to sputter. With a glare worthy of his grandmother Son announced,

“I’m NOT wearing my birthday suit. Not EVER. It’s old and it’s wrinkled and it itches.”

Well, I’m afraid I can’t argue with him there. Although from what I can tell, his birthday suit is probably in pristine condition (if you overlook the scabbed knees and various bruises, that is.)

I do sympathize, though. My birthday is approaching in a couple of days and I have to say my birthday suit is getting old, wrinkled and itchy too. I guess it happens to the best of us.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Next Best Thing

There is nothing in this world that I would rather be than Hubby's wife and Son's mother. Well, unless I could be the wife and mother who never has to do laundry and gets long vacations in the Bahamas. Or even just a nap, now and then.

We'd love to have more children, but so far we've not had much luck. I still count myself lucky, though. I do have a beautiful healthy son, and on most days I wouldn't trade him for anything. (On MOST days. There are moments when I'd trade him for a sprig of parsley. Or less.)

Still, there's something about having a great thing that makes one want even more of a great thing, so I'm sometimes saddened by Son's only-child status.

And so I'm very lucky to have the next best thing. At the moment I have twelve little nieces and nephews. And I adore each of them. Being "Aunt Stacey" is great because I can spoil these kids, get them all hopped up on sugar, and the minute one starts getting cranky, I can turn him or her back over to the parents! Personal satisfaction and the joy of inflicting chaos on my brothers all in one!

One of my favorite things to do is hold tea parties with my nieces. Not that I'm exlcuding my nephews, mind you, but so far they have been entirely too busy to be bothered with tea parties. Plus, getting them into tiaras for said tea parties is completely out of the question. One of my three-year old nephews did consent to attending a tea party once, but only with the strict understanding that he could bring his power drill to the table and use his screwdriver as an eating utensil.

When my brother and his wife had their third daughter, I was only too happy to take his two older daughters to my house for a couple of days. My brother thought I was being very kind and helpful, (though in truth, he was so stressed and exhausted that he would have been just as willing to leave his kids at the Atilla the Hun Day Care Center) but the reality is, taking care of the girls was a selfish thing for me. I loved every minute of it. I was so excited, in fact, that on the way home I couldn't help grinning. Hubs was driving so I was able to turn around in my seat and beam at the little girls strapped into their car seats. Niece One noticed and asked, "Aunt Stacey, how come you keep smiling so big at me?"

"Well, Sweetie, I'm just really happy."

"But how come you're so happy?"

"I'm happy because I have two pretty little nieces in my car and I get to take them home and play with them!" Niece One pondered this for a moment. Meanwhile, three-year-old Niece Two tugged the hem of her skirt up a couple of inches. She studied her legs and then with great excitement and no small amount of pride announced,

"Aunt Stacey, guess what? I've got two pretty little kneeses too!"

It doesn't get better than that.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Negotiating With Son

Mom: Son, would you please gather up the trash, take it outside and then take it to the curb?

Son: Um, that’s not my job.

Mom: Excuse me?

Son: Gathering it all up and stuff. It’s not my job. I’m more in the transportation department.

Mom: Meaning?

Son: I just take the big can out to the curb. I don’t gather it up or anything. It's not my department.

Mom: I see. Well congratulations! You’ve just been promoted! You are now working in the Rubbish Collection, Packaging and Relocation Department!

Son: (With much rolling of the eyes) Well do I get a pay raise with this promotion?

Mom: Maybe. How much are you making now?

Son: Nothing.

Mom: Right. Okay, tell you what. I’ll give you a five percent raise.

Son: Excellent!

Son is a tough negotiator. If he were better at math, he’d probably break us before he’s twelve.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

No Wonder I’m Lost

This week Hubs is attending a business conference in the Big City. It’s the same city where we spent our honeymoon so we were thrilled to find out that I could join him later in the week. Hubs left for the City today. The plan, as I understand it, is that I will leave Son in the capable and indulgent care of his grandparents and drive to the City in the afternoon. Hubs will have meetings to attend, but I assured him that somehow I would manage to keep myself entertained until he’s finished. I’m noble that way, you know. There is no sacrifice I won't make for the man I love. Hmmm, what to do, what to do? Well, I’m sure something will come to me as I wander through all those little shops and art galleries with my credit card.

Hubs has been a trifle concerned about me making the trip by myself. While it’s true that I have visited the Big City many times, I have never actually driven there by myself. It's also true that I can get lost in my own closet. So his concern is not unwarranted.

Usually when Hubs is away on business I miss him terribly. But today he has already spent more time talking to me on the phone than he would if he were still in town. And what is the purpose of these calls you ask? Why to make sure I know how to get there of course!

It’s actually kind of sweet that he is so concerned. Annoying, and a bit insulting, but sweet. Well it was sweet the first two or three times he called. After that I started to feel like a five-year-old on the first day of school. “Now are you SURE you can make it, Honey? Because if you need help, I can send someone for you. Maybe that would be best. Should I arrange for someone to drive you? I can send a car. Would you like me to send a car?”

How did I become this helpless? Should I pin a note on my blouse with an "If found please return to..." message on it? His last call came a few minutes ago, giving me detailed instructions on how to get there. And when I say detailed, I mean DETAILED.

“All right, first you go through the canyon and you stay on that road until you get to the crossroads. If you turn right, you’ll see that restaurant your Dad took us to. You remember they had the really dry chicken and the vegetables were undercooked?”

“Yes, I remember that place. So I turn right?”

“No, that’s just what you’ll see if you do.”

“Okay, so I turn left?”

“Yes, turn left and you’ll see the highway that goes past the reservoir and you stay on that road until you reach an intersection. If you go left you’ll see a housing development. You remember, the one where all the houses are so close together that you said you could never live there because you wouldn’t be able to play the piano after nine p.m. without disturbing the whole neighborhood?”

“Sure, I remember that. Okay so I turn there?”

“No, you’ll want to go right. You’ll see the old cemetery. You know, the one on the way to the shopping district.”

“Shopping district?”

“Yeah, the one where you bought all those books?”

“Of course. So…I want to go past the cemetery?”


“And I’ll see the shopping district?”

“No, if you see the shopping district you’ve gone too far.”

“All right. Then what?”

“Well then you should see a huge hotel up on the mountain. There’s another hotel next to it with a waterfall.”

“Is that where you are?”

“No, it’s just really huge, you should check it out. The waterfall is kind of cool.” I was trying not to get frustrated as I kept writing down instructions and crossing them out.

“Honey? Here’s an idea. Why don’t you just tell me where I’m actually going rather than where I’m NOT going?”

“Well, I’m just trying to give you accurate instructions,” he huffed.

After going over the instructions one more time, I thanked him graciously and told him I look forward to seeing him. In the time since I began this post he has called two more times. If this doesn’t stop I’m not going to get to miss him at ALL during this trip.

But at least I’m sure I’ll be able to find him. And lest I sound ungrateful for his assistance, be assured that I'm very grateful for his desire to help. He took a lot of time to make notes about it all. And I'm grateful for the directions. I even wrote some of them down. I may even use them. You know, if, for whatever reason, I decide I need to know where I’m NOT going and what I'm NOT seeing. Also? My notes will be easily accessible. After all, I wrote them down on the back of the printout I made of the easy to follow map I downloaded from Map Quest.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Growing Up is Hard to Do and Even Harder to Watch

So last night, we were watching a movie and one of the characters made a slightly off-color comment. It was one of those little jokes writers slip into kiddie movies, presumably to keep the parents entertained. You know-- a double entendre that would be amusing only to those with knowledge of certain facts of life. We've seen this movie before but last night something new happened. Son laughed. Yep, he understood the double entendre.

I know I can't keep him young and innocent forever, but I hate these reminders that he's growing up, growing more aware, and entering into a whole new (and for me, unnerving) part of life. I wish I could make those innocent years last. I wish I could keep him my baby just a bit longer.

I knew this was coming, of course. After all, we had THE TALK with him quite some time ago. At the time, he found the whole concept of where babies come from a little, well, silly. Still, I was pleased that he was able to ask his questions frankly and without embarrassment because we really want to establish a relationship with Son in which he feels he can confide in us or come to us with questions. This is mostly because I lived in terror for several weeks when I was in kindergarten after Bradley Carter kissed me at recess. I loved babies, but felt that at the tender age of five I was much too young to be starting a family and according to my sources (namely my friend Misty) families are formed by kissing.

Not long after THE TALK, Son and I were shopping together. After writing a check I produced my driver's license. While I was hoping, as I always do, that the cashier would see my picture and accuse me of using stolen ID (never has such a horrid picture graced a license of any kind, including those given to graduates of the Bela Lugosi School of Horror Film Cosmetology) I noticed something; Son was studying my ID as well, with a very concerned look on his face.

By the time we reached the parking lot, I realized Son hadn't spoken since we left the store. This is extremely out of character for him. He never stops talking. Ever. He doesn’t even stop while he's asleep. I asked if he was okay and he nodded, but I could tell he was deep in thought. I knew exactly what to do. Rejoice and enjoy the few moments of silence!

But alas, the silence did not last long. As soon as we were in the car the questions began.

"Mom, what information is on your driver's license?"

"Oh, it has my name, my address, my birthday, stuff like that."

"Yeah, I know but what else?"

"Well, it lists how tall I am and what color my eyes are and what color my hair is."

"Yeah, Mom, I know that, but what else is on there?" At that point I figured he'd seen the picture and wondered why they'd put a photo of someone who clearly does not resemble me AT ALL on my ID. While I tried to think of an explanation for that, I stalled by asking,

"Son, is there something specific you'd like to ask me?"

"Oh, nothing. Never mind." That was new. It is unheard of for Son to voluntarily end a line of questioning. The officials at the Nuremberg trials would have been as likely to stop asking questions with, "So, what did you think of the Bratwurst?" Something was definitely up.

"Son, if you have a question, you are free to ask." I watched in the rearview mirror as he fidgeted a bit.

"No, it's probably none of my business."


Son considers everything to be his business. He is one of the greatest eavesdropping, spying, nosiest snoops of all time. He'll even yell from his surveillance spot at the top of the stairs for clarification when Hubs and I are having what we foolishly believe to be a "private" conversation" and don't speak clearly enough.

I tried to think what possible question he could have about my driver's license that could cause this unprecedented display of concern for privacy, but I couldn't come up with anything.

"Son, I appreciate your respect for my privacy. If you have a question though, you are free to ask. If it really isn't any of your business I'll tell you so."

He thought another minute and then, blushing more than a little he asked, "Well, I was just wondering. How come you got an "F" in sex?"

Without hesitation I replied, “That’s none of your business.”

Before I could explain that I was kidding though, he asked me in all seriousness, “Is that why I’m an only child?”

Like I said, I’m going to miss the years of Son's innocence. Not only did I feel he was still very much my baby, but he was incredibly entertaining.