L came home yesterday with a special buddy. He decided he wanted to do a little sewing (again, I question if we are biologically connected as needle/thread aren’t part of my skill set or my vocabulary).
Directions for making “Pocket Penguin” (as told to me by L):
“First, you take a piece of black felt and you fold it in half
And cut out a shape that looks like an egg and
stitch around the sides but leave a little hole at the bottom
For stuffing him only you may not find real stuffing, so you can use
whatever is lying around that’s pretty soft and then
sew him shut and cut out the rest of the pieces and sew them on
And make sure you make his flippers big enough
Because otherwise they’ll come off, and you’ll spend a lot of time
Trying to find them, like I did, and then you’ll give up,
And need to start over, but that’s okay, because sometimes
It’s best to just start over, but keep going, don’t give up,
and sew on some buttons for eyes and then put him
In your pocket and he’s a forever buddy.”
I’ve been filling out the insanely detailed liability/permission forms for L’s summer camps.
(Seriously, folks, this isn’t a college application. He’s in SECOND GRADE. It’s SUMMER CAMP.)
There are questions about likes, dislikes, personality traits, is he an all-in kid, toe-first… I’m to answer these questions, then he’s to answer these questions, then I guess we should seek an impartial party to answer the questions, as well.
We’re nearing the finish line and there’s a section where the camp asks him to “draw or write about some of his favorite activities, hobbies, friends.” I keep checking to make sure this isn’t a dating site (“sunsets, long walks, coffee in bed”).
I sit him down and say, “okay, let’s get her done. Will you draw an activity that you like?”
Mister Sly comes up with this: (It’s L drawing L drawing… Heh heh heh.)
Dad is out of town, traveling for work. L and I swing by a local pizza joint for a to-go pie. We look up and there he is…
The Great and Powerful Oz. No, not the guy behind the curtain. The one who has a television show which, up until yesterday, I’d never seen.
The subtitles are flying by, (phonetically spelled, always a plus for a kid), and suddenly we realize this Great and Powerful Oz is talking about the dangers of eating (too much) red meat, the alarming rate of salmonella in poultry, not over-indulging in calcium…
Animated visuals are showing platelets zipping through the bloodstream like pinballs, an ominous buildup of plaque. Ultimately, we see a heart cease to beat (in cartoon, natch).
L: “Ack! I don’t think I’m going to eat red meat anymore. I barely do anyway.”
L: “Is hamburger considered red meat?”
L: “What did it say about turkey?”
L: “So milk is bad? Should I stop taking my vitamins?”
I do what any good, responsible parent would: I pull out my iPhone and command him to play.
L has been thrown off the scent.
All I can think is “The Exorcist” might have been less traumatic.
L and I are listening to the radio. “Same Love” cues up. I’m awed and amazed by this song. We’ve discussed being gay before. L asks again, “what does it mean to be gay?” I’m ready to launch into a long, sensitive tutorial on the subject. I’m interrupted at word three.
L: “Okay, so it’s like if two girls or two boys like each other. Like, LIKE each other. Love each other.”
“And then they get married.”
“So, basically everyone is entitled to their own thoughts and feelings. Got it.”
L: “If I were still a baby and I had one wish, I would want to be able to speak.”
Walking L to school. He’s holding my hand (swoon) and recounting every detail of his week, from his new “secret move” at tennis to how he can pound the ball in Four Square like a high five…
L: “Mom, I really like walking to school with you. It’s great, just catchin’ up.”
L: “Mom, I love you.” (Long, plaintive stare. He’s practicing his come hither look.)
M: I’ll bet you say that to all the girls.
L: “No, that’s gross. I don’t say that to all of the girls. I’ve never said that to any other girl. Because if I said it to all the girls, I’d be sorta skeevy and everyone would think I was trying to get attention and I’m not. Besides if I said that to everyone, all the time, I don’t think it would mean as much. In fact, it might not mean anything if I said it to everyone.”
M: I love you, too.
L and I walked to school today. We were discussing games we would invent. I rambled on about my Greek Myth-based adventure wherein the player meets each of the gods and must answer riddles, solve problems, and, sure we can throw in a duel (not really), to move ahead. I ginned up some poorly disguised multiplication word problem and L said:
“WAIT. That’s a math game. You’re trying to sell me on this idea when it’s really about math?”
“That’s not exactly action/adventure.”
“Why do you want your game to be about math?”
“That’s a ridiculous answer. That makes no sense.”
M: ‘Because’ is a good answer. As in why did you climb the mountain? Because it was there.
“Again, a ridiculous answer. You climb the mountain because you WANT to climb the mountain. That’s the answer.”
And therein lies our existential crisis of the day.
L: “I think I aced my spelling test today.”
M: Why’s that?
L: “I studied really hard and I have a system.”
M: (He has a lot of systems). How’s it work?
L: “I use my brain like a computer. I scan the words and then store them in my memory. Then when I need to spell them, I see them in my mind and I just copy them down. Just like that.”
M: Wish I had that.
L: “Maybe if you practice a bit more…”