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The Great Spider Massacre of 2012

9 Mar

I was playing with Ellie upstairs when I saw, out of the corner of my eye, a small spider on the guest room door. We ran over to assess the situation.

“Ewwww!” she said. She grabbed the bottom of my shirt with one hand and pointed at the eight-legged beast with the other. Hopping up and down nervously, she clearly instructed me to “GET IT, MAMA!”

So I DID. I got a Kleenex out of the kids’ bathroom and squished the spider; then I flushed it as she watched me. “Oooooh! Bye bye, ‘pider!” We waved as the spider was whirled away in the watery cyclone.

Benjamin came over and wanted to know what was going on. “Mama flushed a ‘pider!” Ellie explained.

“MAMA? You flushed a spider down the TOILET?”

I smiled at him as Ellie hugged me. “Yep!” (I am the triumphant spider killer, valiant defender of my family!)

“Why did you do that?”

“Well, we don’t want spiders in the house, right?” (Logic is on my side, boy!)

“Sure we do! I love everything in nature, and spiders are part of nature.”

“That’s true, yes.” (You are correct, son, but I am still way more righter.)

“Did you smush him first, or was he alive when you flushed him?”

“I smushed him first.” (This is the right answer, I just know it.)

“Oh, Mama! That’s so mean. Then he couldn’t breathe!”

“Well, no, but I was thinking that then he wouldn’t drown slowly in the water. This was much quicker and kinder.” (Er…right?)

His little shoulders slumped and he shook his head, suffering incredulous disbelief over my obvious stupidity.

“Mama, that spider probably had a family! Now they’re going to miss him so much.”

“Well, I guess that’s true…” (Smugness…waning…)

“You broke my heart by killing that spider, Mama. You really broke my heart.”

“I’m sorry, Ben.” (Man, I STINK.)

Tears welled up in his eyes.

“My heart is broken. You shouldn’t have killed him.”

“But then he would’ve crawled around in our house and crawled on us while we were sleeping. What would you think about that?” (One point for me!)

“I would like that! It would tickle.”

“But what if he bit you?” (What about that, hmmmm?)

“I wouldn’t care!”

“Really.” (I don’t believe you, but I do admire your resolve.)

“Nope! Would it hurt, though? Well, maybe I wish you’d just taken him outside, then, instead of killing him.”

“My gramma used to do that. She’d scoop up the spider in her hand and take it right outside and let it go in the grass.” (Let’s talk about something else, like how cool my Gramma was!)

“Yeah, that’s what you should do. And then you could just say, ‘Have a nice day, spider!’ instead of making it lose its whole life.”

“That’s a really good point, Ben.” (Good, and also exhausting.)

“Yeah. It was really, really mean, what you did.”

“I’m so sorry, buddy. I’ll ask for your help next time, okay? And we can figure out the best solution together.” (And the solution will be that YOU can pick up the spider! See how brave you are then, Nature Boy!)

“Okay, Mama.”

“I love you, Ben.”

“Love you too, Mama.”

***

I wondered, afterwards, what will happen when if we get a mouse in the house, or when it hits him that he regularly eats a variety of animal products. I sat there and imagined the moment he figures it out. He’ll likely demand that we change our dietary structure immediately, that we all become vegetarians, or maybe even vegans. I’ll heartily agree that it’s a better, healthier way to eat, and come up with vegetarian meal options for the family. (I already did this once, a few years ago, when I got on yet another vegetarian kick after watching Food, Inc.)

The whole thing will probably only last until the nearest Saturday, when he learns that he can’t have…*gasp*…BACON with his favorite weekend breakfast. Because this, folks, is how that child feels about bacon:

Regardless of my premature daydreams of possible bacon deprivation, I’m feeling really happy that the boy feels strongly about all of the world’s creatures. It shows that he’s developing a compassionate and loving heart – and in my humble opinion, there is absolutely nothing that will serve him better in life than that.

500 Miles to Heaven

9 Sep

Well, hello! I’ve been quiet, I know, but I was on vacation. And then when we got back home, my brain was on the slow setting for at least another week and a half.

Our vacations are typically spent at my parents’ place on Lake Superior. They live in the same state as we do, and yet their place is 500 miles away. 500 miles! In the same state! I’m sure that sounds like loony talk to you east coast people, who can drive through 5 states in 20 minutes. But if you look at a map of Michigan, it will make sense. Michigan is two long gobs of land surrounded by water…not a shortcut to be had. See, look how crazy Michigan is:

We drive from almost the furthest southeastern point on the map (near Detroit) to the furthest location northwesterly (is that a word?) in the fingerlike projection east of Minnesota. So, the northwesterly fingerlike thingy. You see what I mean, right?

Crazier still is making that drive with two little kids and a 6-month old puppy. Before we left, I thought, “Oh, it’ll be fine.. Benjamin’s gained so much maturity since last time, and Ellie…well, at least she’s not a baby anymore.”

Ummmmmmmm. Well.

GAZILLION HOUR FAMILY CAR TRIP LOG:

7:00 a.m. Already several hours behind schedule. Ellie, normally the early chirpy bird in the family, refuses to get up. She actually says, “Mama, you be quiet now so I can sleeeeeeeeeeeep.”

7:30 a.m. Car almost loaded. Children jump around, excited. Puppy goes on one last walk before interminable confinement.

7:45 a.m. Tim Horton’s drive-through. Coffee. Coffee. Coffee. COFFEE.

8:00 a.m. Takeoff! Estimated time of arrival – 6:00 p.m.

8:30 a.m. Benjamin asks how much longer it’s going to be before we get there.

9:00 a.m. I had wanted to save movies for later when things got desperate. As it turns out, we’re already desperate at the end of hour one. I put in the movie Rio.

9:30 a.m. Children quiet, dog crying. Bathroom break!

10:00 a.m. Road trip bliss. Silence from the back. I’m even reading a grown-up book.

10:15 a.m. Movie concludes. Whining begins. Ellie’s diaper has soaked through; The Daddy pulls over.

10:30 a.m.  Back on the road.

10:45 a.m. Children want to see Rio again.

12:30 p.m. We stop at our favorite drive-in restaurant for lunch. Amazingly, Ellie has wet through ANOTHER diaper? Also, only one surly waitress has been assigned to carside service. She ignores us, and then ignores us some more. Finally, a woman in the car next to us takes pity. When the waitress comes to take their order, she points to us and says, “Uhhh, they’ve been here for a long time, much longer than we have.” She sullenly takes our order. When she finally brings the food, she delivers it on one of those window-hangy trays, even though I had told her that we’d need it to go since we’d been there so long (an hour!). I’m afraid of her, but I muster the courage to ask her to bag it up for us. She is furious. I give her a big tip so she doesn’t slash our tires on the sly before we can peel out of there.

1:45 p.m. Finally eating food. No picnic tables available, so we set up lunch on a blanket in the grass. It’s fun! It’s so much fun, in fact, that both children, overstimulated by the wonders of nature, ignore their lunches completely.  I plead and admonish, but no one listens. The Daddy walks Maya in large circles around the park, trying to eat as she alternately sniffs and lunges. Poor guy.

2:15 p.m. Back on the road. Benjamin asks, “How much longer?” and “Can we watch Rio again?” I start listing all of the other movies I brought, but each selection is denied. I tell them we need a break from Rio for a little while and they should just watch the scenery go by, or maybe read a book. Benjamin reminds me that Ellie can’t read, so I suggest that he read to her. He chooses to watch the scenery. Ellie whines.

2:30 p.m. Both children are hungry and whiny. Surprise! I mention that they should’ve eaten lunch, and pass out snacks and juice boxes.

3:00 p.m. Ellie’s whining finally flips my overload switch. I yell at her to quit it already, which makes her cry. The crying is louder and screechier than the whining. The Daddy is wowed by my superior parenting skills.

3:15 p.m. You guessed it….Rio.

3:45 p.m. And more whining.

4:00 p.m. Can’t anyone just take a NAP? We stop to walk the dog again. I get some “coffee” (brown aquarium water?) at a gas station.

5:30 p.m. We stop at Wendy’s so the kids can get out of the car for a while. The Daddy is once again stuck with the dog, although I am beginning to feel jealous of dog duty. We try to order some food, since lunch was so poorly received. Ellie wants chicken; Benjamin wants nothing. Then he wants a cheeseburger. No, he doesn’t. Yes, he does. No. Yes? Oh wait – no. We get to the table, and it turns out that what he really wants is chicken. What I really want is a lobotomy. And ear plugs.

6:00 p.m. Getting closer. I talk the kids into watching Curious George, which is even more audibly irritating than Rio. Ellie says her “bums hurts” and Benjamin says, “Mine too!”

7:00 p.m. Getting closer.

7:30 p.m. Yesssssssss!

So there you have it – only eleven and a half hours. What am I complaining about?

Despite the pain of getting there, the rewards make it all worthwhile. Time spent with my parents is priceless, and they don’t get to see the kids enough. The beauty of the place is breathtaking, and what could be better than having a private place to play and swim, right in your own back yard?

It is simply heaven.

The Scream Queen

8 Aug

The Daddy worked this weekend, so I was essentially a single parent. Single parents everywhere, I tip my hat to you. YOU ARE HARDCORE. When it was just Benjamin it wasn’t so bad, but Ellie’s flair for the dramatic and the natural histrionics that accompany age 2 made me want to  move to another country – by myself, please. I got so angry once about the incessant arguing and defiance that I sent myself to time out, and then I sent everyone to their rooms so the dog and I could have a few moments to regroup. It didn’t really work though, because they just continued their argument upstairs, loudly enough so I could hear every word. Next: an unidentified crash, followed by crying, followed by Benjamin yelling, “I told you not to touch that!”

The dog sat close to me, leaning in as if to soothe both of us. I murmured apologies into her ear for bringing her in to such a chaotic family. Poor thing.

The whole weekend wasn’t like that, thankfully (right now, for example, they’re sleeping like angels). Earlier today, I took them to their very first stage play, a local production of Pipi Longstocking. It was a bit of a risk, taking Ellie there; I knew Benjamin would do fine, but 2-year-olds aren’t known for their attention spans, or their ability to understand why they can’t talk loudly wherever and whenever the mood strikes them. In the car on the way there, I explained what a theater was and how we should behave during the play. We practiced whispering. She assured me that she would be quiet. “I pwomise, Mama!”

Amazingly, we made it all the way to intermission with no problems whatsoever! I was so proud. They really seemed to enjoy it, too. When intermission started, though, Benjamin said,

“I really like this, Mama, but I’m ready to go home now.”

“Don’t you want to know how it ends?”

“No, I don’t. I just want to go home.”

Given how well things had gone, I decided that leaving on a high note wasn’t such a bad thing. I said sure, we could leave now.

Error #1: But INSTEAD of going home, instead of listening to the poor boy, I convinced him that it would be fun to go to a nearby furniture store to quickly pick up a pair of lamps I had ordered.

(When will I ever learn?)

We got to the store and it was packed with people. They were having some kind of big sale, seemingly attended by everyone in town. I had called ahead so that the lamps would be ready when we got there. Ellie wanted to ride in one of the courtesy strollers they offer at the door, so I let her. We chose one and started towards the customer service desk at the back of the store.

Error #2: Then I decided we should quickly check out the clearance center for bar stools.

At that moment, Ellie decided she no longer wanted to ride in the stroller; instead, she wanted her doll to ride in it. In the following moment, I decided I should look for bar stools another day, and we’d just get the lamps and head out of there.

Very rapidly, the situation deteriorated. I can’t even describe to you how it happened. All I know is that I told her we were leaving, and suddenly she was screaming – and I do mean screaming. It was screaming worthy of a horror movie, and it ricocheted off the walls of the jam-packed furniture megastore. She screamed and sobbed and screamed some more. It was like a dramatization of a child’s meltdown in a movie. I’ve never seen anything like it from either of my children. My best guess is that she had held so much inside during her stint at Pipi Longstocking that it all just had to come tumbling out. Of her mouth. Loudly.

At first, Benjamin and I just stood there and stared dumbly at her, unsure of what to do. Finally, I calmly said, “We’re leaving now.” I took Benjamin’s hand and started to walk away. She called my bluff and didn’t follow. Benjamin, a better parent than I am,  started tugging at me. “We can’t leave her here, Mama! Go get her!”

So we walked back to her. I put her screaming little self back in the stroller and went to the desk to pick up the lamps. On the way, I started laughing. Benjamin started laughing too, because I was. By the time we got to the desk, we were laughing so hard that we could barely talk, while Ellie continued her screamfest.

A masochistic employee offered to carry the lamps for me, since I obviously had my hands full. As we began our bizarre trip back to the front of the store, people glared and stared at us disapprovingly, moving carefully out of our way.  Ellie, in the lead, continued to scream inconsolably in her stroller; Benjamin and I followed, laughing maniacally; the store employee brought up the rear and attempted to set himself apart from our strange, cacophonous parade.

As soon as we got outside, she stopped instantly, like someone flipped a switch. I guess when your captive audience of around a hundred shoppers disappears, so does the motivation for your Oscar-worthy performance.

“We go home, now, Mama?”

“Yes, Meryl Streep. We go home now.”

The Box Rebellion

2 Aug

Sunday

“Mama, we go HOME.”

“We are home, Ellie, this is our home now.”

“No, Mama, dis is new house, not home. I wanna go HOME now!”

“Our stuff isn’t there anymore, sweetpea, it’s here in this house. Your bed is here, your toys are here, Mama and Daddy and Benjamin are here. See?”

“I wanna go home.”

“This is where we live now, bunny.”

“No, thank you. It NOT.”

Monday

“Mama, we going home now?”

“Yes, we’re going to the new house. That’s our home.”

“No!” *pouting, tears*

We take her to the old house to show her that nothing is there anymore. Then we go home.

Tuesday

I turn left at the light onto our new street. Ellie is in the back seat clutching her doll.

“Mama, we go to the new house now?”

“Yep, we’re going to the new house now.”

“YAY!”

It was unprecedented. The 2-year-old was suddenly, inexplicably able to triumph over her typical rigid and maladaptive nature, adjusting to the new house in only three days. Benjamin did an equally good job. I’d love to take credit and write something profound about how I leveraged the concepts of consistent, compassionate parenting in order to effectively manage change in my children’s lives – but really, they did a good job all on their own with little input from me. The Lesson: Sometimes if you get out of your kids’ way and stop talking so much, things just fall into place.

(Now that I’ve said that, it’s certain that the first thing Benjamin will bring up to his future therapist is the time he was ripped away from the only home he ever knew, and everyone acted like it was no big freakin’ deal. Unfeeling monsters! Passive aggressive manipulators! Emotionally numbed-out zombies who eat children’s tender beating hearts for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!)

Speaking of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I unpacked the kitchen first. Because BY GOD, WE HAVE TO EAT. Clothes? Medicine? Toiletry items? Books? Ppppffffftttt. I still haven’t unpacked all of that stuff. But all the food is right where I can find it.

Also unpacked and/or installed: televisions, blinds, wireless Internet, pet supplies, and sod. I’d love it if we were the kind of people who rushed to unpack their art studio first thing, or their cherished world-travel memorabilia, or even their home gym equipment…but alas, we are not those people. We are people who unpack the food and televisions first, and race to ensure that we have blinds up so the children sleep as long as possible in the morning.

I’ve given myself until the end of next weekend to get all of the rest of the boxes unpacked. The main motivation is that I’m tiring of conversations following this general template:

“Have you seen my _________?” (Fill in anything, here. Shampoo. Book. Health-sustaining medication. Cat.)

“No. Did you look in the box in the dining room?”

“Which one?”

“The one on the top? Or maybe it’s in the box in the coat closet.”

“No, I looked there. That box is full of cleaning supplies and toddler clothes.”

“Oh. Well, there’s a box of Christmas decorations in the half bath. It could’ve gotten thrown in there.”

“Christmas decorations in the half bath?”

“Yeah. I was carrying the box, and that’s where I got tired.”

“I’ll just go look in the garage. There are tons of boxes in there, still.”

“Good idea. Maybe someday we’ll actually be able to park a car in there!”

Or a bike, at least.

As usual, I’m being slightly hyperbolous. It’s not really that bad. There are not any boxes in the half bath (anymore). We are not missing the cat. Even now, there is room to park a bike in the garage. But anyone who has moved recently knows what I’m talking about. It’s like living in a convoluted cardboard maze. And no matter how carefully you label the boxes (oh, if only I’d labeled carefully), there is just no way to know where everything is until you’ve unpacked every last one of them.

Given my history, that will probably occur sometime around 2015.

MY SANITY IS IN ONE OF THESE

If Walls Could Talk

21 Jul Get Ready, Get Set...GO!

In recent days, I have become a professional at packing, taping, and stacking boxes. I had been feeling really smug about my packing efficiency quotient (PEQ), but then I started packing up the kitchen. Dishes are a real pain, you guys. All the wrapping. And pots are no picnic either, mostly because of the handles. They’re so pointy and poke-y and unbendable.

It’s been hard, too, to pack with the kids around, so most of the packing has been taking place at night. Except when Benjamin got out a suitcase one busy morning last week and started stuffing his clothes into it.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Packing up my clothes so we can move to the new house, Mama!”

“Good job! Except we don’t need to pack up your clothes yet, because we’re not going for another week or so.”

“But I’m so excited to live there!”

“Me too, sweetie!”

“But…Mama? I think our old house is going to really miss us.”

“So you think that the house has feelings like we do, and it will feel sad when we’re not here anymore?”

“Yeah. I think it’s going to feel really, really sad.”

I know what he means. I was going to explain to him that houses aren’t living things with feelings, but I didn’t. Because when I was a little girl, I felt exactly the same way. I remember riding in the back of my parents’ car as they drove it to the dealership to trade it in, lying on the seat, tightly hugging the upholstery (this was, of course, before seat belt laws). As though I was bidding farewell to a dear loved one, tears streamed down my cheeks as I whispered, “We loved you, car. Thank you, car. I’ll miss you, car. You were a good, good car.”

Such a little drama queen! Now we know where Ellie gets it.

Anyway, I told him that story, and I added that even though I was sad to leave our old car, we got a nice new car that was great, and that the old car ended up taking care of another family. I said that our house was going to take care of some new people, too.

“So the house won’t be lonely,” I said, “because there will be new people here to keep it company. Does that make you feel better?”

“No, it doesn’t. Because it will still miss us.”

Again, I couldn’t argue, even though I’m a “grown-up” now and should “know better.” Sure, I could’ve explained that he was simply projecting his own feelings on the house as a convenient way to avoid difficult emotions, blah blah blah. But he’s five, and also, I’m not entirely convinced myself that the house won’t miss us.

So I said that we could do things like drive by the house and wave, and open the window and yell, “I miss you, house!” I said we could talk about the house any time, and that he could have some pictures of the house in his new room.

“Really? That would be great!” he said. “Then I won’t forget how it was here.”

I won’t forget how it was here, either. I won’t forget moving in with The Daddy, youthful and childless, thrilled to start a new life with a garage AND space for a guest room and home office. The elaborate Christmas Eve dinners I tried to cook in my miniscule kitchen to impress my new in-laws.  Laughing on the big back deck with my girlfriends. Renovating the bedroom 7 months pregnant. Kissing my newborns’ cheeks in the big chair in the family room. Avoiding the squeaky floorboard in the nursery in the middle of the night. The way I felt instantly comforted, walking through the door after a long day.

What Benjamin will eventually understand is that those feelings and memories have almost nothing to do with the house. Someday, maybe very soon, he’ll understand that home is wherever we all are – wherever we’re laughing, singing, playing, squabbling, cooking, sleeping, dreaming.

Regardless: We loved you, house. Thank you, house. We’ll miss you, house. You were a good, good house.

Five Is a Magic Number

1 Jul

On Thursday, my favorite Benjamin in the whole wide world turned five.

He’d been waiting impatiently for this day, counting down the months, the weeks, the days, the hours. I’m not sure what magical thing he thought would occur when he turned five, but whatever it was, it seemed very, very important to arrive at the day and revel in it.

The night before, he had told me how he’d like his day to go, and we followed as closely to his recommended schedule as we could:

6:00 a.m.: Begins the arduous chore of getting the rest of the family to vacate their beds. Family is reluctant.

6:30 a.m.: Enthusiastically opens presents with bleary-eyed family. Attempts to ride awesome new Transformer bike around tiny dining room. Amazingly, nothing ends up broken or damaged, other than Mama’s nerves.

6:45 a.m.: The Daddy struggles to free the Sentinel Prime transformer from his high-security packaging, valiantly battling tie-downs with dull kitchen shears. Benjamin declares that this is “the best birthday ever.”

7:00 a.m.: Ellie starts sobbing that she doesn’t have any princess presents for “her” birthday. Any and all attempts to explain that her birthday isn’t until December are met with pouty indignation and intermittent heaving sobs. Benjamin’s repeated reminders of the proprietary nature of the day do nothing to soothe her egocentric crisis.

8:00 a.m.: Breakfast at IHOP! Ellie spills coffee cream all over her and Mama. Ben eats his entire breakfast plus 30% of everyone else’s breakfast. The kids aren’t producing more than an average level of mayhem in the categories of volume or activity, so I ignore the foul looks from the elderly couple at a nearby table. Or maybe that’s just how their faces have frozen after years of sour moods? I make a mental note to perform hourly checks of my own facial expression status to avoid ending up this way.

10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.: Time at Grandma’s to avoid boring parental errands.

2:15 p.m.: The Daddy takes Benjamin to see the new Transformers movie.
Mama attempts to renew plates at DMV, but is turned away due to statewide computer failure. Simultaneously thrilled and disappointed.

4:30: Mama and Benjamin pick up the cake!

5:30: First (outside) ride on bike. Benjamin is gleeful. Unfortunately the glee causes the listening section of the brain to shut down completely, resulting in an unfortunate crash.

5:45: Back on the bike.

6:30: BLTs for dinner (Benjamin’s favorite), followed by the SUPERDUPERAMAZING TRANSFORMERS CAKE!

MMMM...CAKE!

FYI, the blue and black frosting looked really cool, but tasted like battery acid mixed with rat poop. Not that I’ve ever tasted that combination, or even one of the components by itself, but you got the picture, right? HORRIBLE. But Benjamin loved it, and that’s the important thing.

The funniest things he said:

“So I’m five now. Why isn’t my voice lower?”

and

“When I blew out my candle, I wished for always having a loving family.”

“Oh, Benjamin, that’s so sweet! I love that wish. And you will always have that – we love you so much, and we always will.”

“AND THEN I wished for all the Transformers in the world!”

At least he knew which wish to tell me first. That’s a clear sign he’s developing the kind of emotional manipulation skills that he’ll need to survive in the world.

I couldn’t be more proud of my sweet, sweet five-year-old boy.

UNSTOPPABLE, JUST LIKE TIME AND OPTIMUS PRIME

Aftermath

5 May

“Mama, I miss Rex.”

“I know you do. I’m really sorry we couldn’t keep him.”

“But he was such a good dog!”

“He will eventually be a good dog.  But until he turned into a good dog, he was going to be too rough for our family, and we couldn’t get him to listen. Weren’t you a little scared when he knocked you down?”

“Well…I was very brave.”

“Yes, you were very, very brave. But not scared?”

“I was a little scared.”

“Yeah, I thought so.”

“But Mama, he listened to me and Daddy. And not you and Ellie. Because Daddy and me are boys, and you and Ellie are girls, and dogs don’t listen to you. Because you’re girls.”

Two thoughts:

1) I’m so glad I know the reason now! There are so many times that I think I am speaking out loud – I can hear myself talking, I can put my hand out in front of my mouth and feel air moving – but no adjacent ears are receiving the sound waves. It’s because I’m a girl.

2) My kid is turning into quite the little sexist. This + his recent pronouncement that BOYS ONLY will be invited to his 5th birthday party + his insistence that he not be subjected to “girl things” = a distinct potential for developing into a club-swinging, knuckle-dragging brute. Or he’s just a normal 5-year-old boy going through the gender identification process.

I’d talk to him about it, but unfortunately he CAN’T HEAR ME. *sigh*

Preschool Iron Man

26 Apr

“Mama, what does being strong mean?”

“It means that you are healthy and that your muscles can do a lot of work.”

“Am I strong?”

“I think you’re very strong for a boy your age. Why are you thinking about being strong?”

“I don’t know. If I can lift up the gime, does that make me strong?”

“What’s a gime?”

“You know, the gime, that people do for exercises.”

“No, I don’t know what a gime is.”

“How can boys get even stronger?”

“Well, you have to eat good foods, and get lots of sleep, and play a lot.”

“What are good foods?”

“You know…things like fruits and vegetables and all the stuff Mama always wants you to eat.”

“Oh. I like to eat chocolate. Is that a good food?”

“Not really. But you can have a little bit, as long as you eat your good stuff first.”

“Then I can lift up the gime?”

“I still don’t know what a gime is.”

“You spell it g-y-m, Mama. The gime.”

“OH! I think you mean gym.”

“No, I mean gime.”

(I think he actually means weights, but that’s an argument for a different day.)

“That’s not how you say it, buddy – it’s gym, like the name Jim, and if you could actually lift up a gym, then you really would be superduper strong.”

“I’m gonna say it gime.”

“Okay, but don’t be surprised if people tease you.”

“I WON’T!”

*sigh*

It occurred to me later that if he really did become superstrong, no one would tease him for saying gime. Would you bother to correct Mike Tyson if he told you he just got back from the gime?

Me neither.

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