Thursday, November 26, 2015

Ninja Revelations

There's nothing quite like parent teacher interviews to bring out the guilt in children. You don't have to even be at the actual interviews for this to happen, you just have to casually mention in conversation that they're coming up. One by one, your children will soon seek you out to preemptively confess their school misdeeds. (But only if you're the Nice Parent. Kids never seek out the Mean Parent for their preemptive confession needs.)

These are some of the teary-eyed confessions that I - as Nice Parent - have heard over the years:

"I talk too much in class sometimes!"
Medium Fry, Grades 1 through - well, most likely her entire life.

"I was kissing girls!"
Small Fry, Preschool through - well, most likely his entire life.

It is really, really hard not to laugh. (But you can't laugh! Laughing would be detrimental to the whole process.) They are just so sweet and honest, and can Mean Parent *pwease* not come to parent teacher interviews, only you?

In the vein of talking too much "sometimes", Medium Fry has always been highly forthcoming about her confessions. Like, endless dramatic narrative about not being allowed to sit beside so-and-so at carpet time... or having to move to a different table from so-and-so... or completely missing a track and field heat and having to run against an older age group because she was too busy chatting with so-and-so to notice they had been called up. The force is pretty strong with this one.

Small Fry's confessions, however, are more varied in nature and tend to require some teasing out in order for the full scope of the confession to become apparent:

He comes into the room slowly. Gives Mean Parent a cagey glance. Edges surreptitiously over toward Nice Parent. Climbs onto Nice Parent's lap. Whispers in Nice Parent's ear, in that sortof damp and not-actually-quiet way that kids whisper, "Mommy, I need to tell you a secret."

I whisper back, in proper non-damp form in hopes he will get the hint one day (he doesn't), "What is the secret?"

* * *
"I had to put my head down on my desk."
"Why did you have to put your head down on your desk?"
"Okay, why did you have to do it twice?"
"For different reasons."
"But what reasons?"
"... I was talking too much with Sachiv when the teacher was talking."
"Okay, what is the other reason?"
"... I don't want to tell you."
"Do you think you should tell me?"
"I was fighting with Tyrel."
"But Tyrel is your friend. Were you real fighting or just play fighting?"
"Real fighting."
"Why were you fighting?"
"Because he asked me to."
"... So you were play fighting?"
"Yes. But for real."
"Were you being ninjas?"
"Did anyone get hurt?"
"Don't tell Dad."

* * *

"The gate is broken."
"What happened to the gate?"
"The lock thingy was a little bit stuck."
"That's okay, sweetie, we can fix a stuck lock."
"But I was fixing it already."
"How were you fixing it?"
"I was hitting it."
"... ?"
"... with a brick."
"Ah. I see."
"Don't tell Dad."

* * *

"It's not fair! They were kissing me first!"
"That again?"
"Don't tell Dad."

* * *

So far, I always tell Dad. I suspect he experiences some secret little flush of filial pride over the kissing girls business. Plus I'm not gonna fix the gate. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Patent Pending

Medium Fry - whose blog handle I may have to change one of these days to reflect the fact that she's 15 now and about as Large as she's ever going to be - joined the school choir this year. Choir, choir, choir, everything is about choir these days. I was plotting a conversation about birth control, but then she joined choir and I was like - naaah. We're good for another year.

I was in choir too when I was a kid, but this is some kind of all-girls, age-group, competitive choir. There are uniforms, steep enrollment fees, weekend training camps (plural! what could this possibly entail?!), and before and after school practice sessions at various times during the week. Good lawd. When I was in choir, it was because some kind of music class was mandatory and we were too poor to afford an instrument. It wasn't, like, a lifestyle choice or anything. If I had had to get up at 5:30 on Wednesdays to make it to early practice or stay after school on early dismissal days for late practice, I simply would not have done so. Early dismissal days, people! Not a fukken chance I would be at choir practice! But Medium Fry is all over the choir thing, so she puts herself to bed early on Tuesday evenings and is on public transit by 6:30 on Wednesday mornings. Because choir. (Also because whatever voodoo curses my mother tried to put on my future offspring when I was a teen clearly didn't pan out.) (I'm too scientific for that.)

Here is the best part: Medium Fry makes herself a fortifying hot beverage for her groggy commute on Wednesday mornings. Nope, not a coffee. Not even a tea. A hot chocolate. Isn't that super cute-larious?

Even more cute-larious, she sometimes puts a little instant coffee in her hot chocolate (decaf! she was quick to point out, as if she somehow believed that I - of all people - have something against caffeine): "It's really tasty! It's like Coffee Crisp! You should try it sometime!"

... just so darn cute that I wasn't sure how to break it to her that mocha is pretty old news. I made a Noncommittal Mom Sound* instead.

To be fair, I think I've invented things all the time. But no matter how amazing my inventions are I try to stay grounded in the notion that, statistically speaking, they're probably not new at all. I mean, there are a lot of "makey" people in the world; what are the chances I've beaten them all to it? Not that that stops me from wanting to share my inventions with people; it just stops me from actually sharing my inventions with people. For instance, I know for a solid fact that I didn't invent my most recent invention, but I still have trouble containing myself over it. I actually want to stop strangers on the street and tell them about it.

As a matter of fact, I crafted an entire blog post around telling people about it: watching a TV series makes working out suck SO. MUCH. LESS.

Yep, I know, everyone else in the world already knew that. Still, it was utterly game-changing to me when I discovered it last week. So as I was driving home from the gym early Wednesday morning (after a substantially-less-boring-than-usual workout!) and I passed Medium Fry standing at the bus stop with her go cup of mocha, I did not make a Noncommittal Mom Sound* about it. I rolled down the window and yelled, "RESPECT!"

* Patent-pending. But not really.