That One Kid

We sat around the table, drinking coffees or sodas, planning for the good of the pack.

Me: Remember that policy paperwork we were writing a few months ago? The one that set discipline and rules for the pack? I think we need to finish it and set in stone.

Webelo leader: But the kids that were an issue are gone now.

Me: I know. But it’s not a matter of if we have another child like that; it’s a matter of when. We need policies to protect the pack, the leaders, the scouts, and the parents. We can’t let this go.

Bear leader: You’re right.

Me: Who knows? I might need it with my trouble scout. Tornado A.

Bear leader: The worst one in my den is my kid.

Packmaster: My kid is the worst in my den.

Webelo leader: (pause) I don’t have a worst kid. They’re all great.

The three of us looked at him. Because we knew who the worst one was in his den. We do have meetings at the same time where we gather for the flag ceremony and announcements. We do have pack meetings. The three of us looked at each other and then back at him, deciding silently to not enlighten him on the rule.

If you don’t know who the worst child is in your den, it’s your child.

When you do know who it is, nine times out of ten, it’s your child.

Which is why next den meeting I’m bringing rules, a discipline chart, and a new discipline policy. You know, for my kid.


Asking Personal Questions

Tornado E: Mama, I need to interview you for homework.

Me: Ok, kiddo. What do you want to ask me?

Tornado E: (reading) Who was the most important person to influence you?

Me: As a child? As an adult? As a teacher or writer?

Tornado E: (in that exasperated teenage sigh and voice) Who is the most important person in your life?

Me: Well, the most important people in my life are my boys because I have made them my first thought with every choice I have made in the last 12 years. Ever since you were born, I have had to question and strengthen my beliefs, I have worked to become a better person and role model. For my boys.

Tornado E: That’s a stupid question and a stupid answer. Let’s begin again.

Me: Hey! That was a great answer!

Tornado E: All parents say that.

Yeah, no. And those who say it, do they do it?

Me: Well, what else do you want to know?

Tornado E: What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done.


A Snapshot of a Depressed Moment

Tornado E didn’t seem like himself. Hadn’t since he walked into the room. I was so excited to see my boys on a Sunday that did not belong to me. But Tornado E. He seemed distance.

So I sat next to him, and we stared at the blank TV, sitting in the middle of the play area. We just sat.

Me: Is there anything wrong?

He shrugged.

Me: That’s ok. I understand. But I want you to talk to me. I’m not letting you go silent. It’s ok to be sad. It’s ok not to be happy. But I’m your mama, and I will always love you. No matter what.

I hugged him. He leaned into me.

Being twelve. Not getting enough sleep. Home life. School. Who knows?

But we’ll get through it together.


We were discussing my cousin’s son’s martial arts pictures. He wore a gi that my boys’ sensei would be annoyed with. But Sensei has the right to his opinions and judgements. He’s the top kung fu martial artist in our fair city. And he’s a great teacher. So what if he perfers the gis to be traditional.

My mom: So he doesn’t do what your boys do?

Me: No. My boys do karate and kung fu. I don’t know what our little cousin does. It doesn’t look like either.

My mom: How many martial arts are there?

Me: A dozen? Two dozen? Let me google it. (Pause. Search. Shock) Wikipedia lists 150 different types. Wow!

Tornado A: Looks like I’ll be getting 150 black belts.


“Certified Zombie Hunter”

Me: (I looked up from my wallet) Yeah…?

Cashier: That’s a good one. I like it. That’ll be $8.51

Me: (handing her the money, still slightly confused) Yeah…. Thank … you….

Then I looked at my purse as I was putting my wallet away. I had thrown it on the counter to get my money. It’s an olive green messenger bag with all kinds of pockets, including a clear plastic one for IDs. I had a Certified Zombie Hunter badge there. To match the bio hazard symbol patch on the front.

I nodded, said thank you, and took my groceries.

One of my friends gave me a “Walking Dead” shirt for my birthday, even though I’ve never seen the show. People assume. And it’s a cool shirt. Almost as cool as my “Keep Calm and Kill Zombies” shirt or my favorite “This is my Killing Zombies” shirt.

Another friend gave me a magnet zombie ribbon for my car. It will probably clash with my Zombie Response Team sign.

All this zombie stuff people give me is weird. It’s not like I’m obsessed with zombies. Not like I am about vampires, faeries, fantasy, fairy tales, ass-kicking warrior women. I only have like 3 or 4 books about zombies. I did tell one of the new English teachers that she should totally read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies because it’s hilarious and she just finished teaching Pride and Prejudice.

I just don’t know why people associate me with zombies. I don’t watch any of the zombie shows. I just don’t have the time. Or the movies. But you should see Zombieland. I’m so excited about the sequel. But if you see Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, don’t compare it to the book. Two wildly different story lines, but I love how they deliver the back story.

Then the other day, my dad teased me for my lack of hobbies. Apparently reading, blogging, writing novels and poetry, and smashing the patriarchy aren’t enough.

Tornado A: She does! She kills zombies!

Tornado S: And she’s a vampire!

Tornado E: And a witch!

See, I have hobbies.

(Also dibs on the vampire killing zombies story.)

Glimpses into my Childhood

When I was a kid, I loved DuckTales. I watched it every day. 4:30, Weekdays, The Disney Channel. I would race into the room, turn on the TV, sing the intro song. I did a dance that matched the intro song. Yes, I’ve been a huge, overly-excited nerd all my life. I had a poster in my bedroom. My brothers and I dreamed of being on that show. With an uncle as rich as Scrooge McDuck, he wouldn’t mind adding three more to his brood. And the vault.

So when I learned that there was a reboot and an actual money pit modeled after Scrooge McDuck’s vault, I was as excited as a kid. When I told my brothers about the pit, they answered the same way, “Where? And when are we going?” Alas, we could not afford to go to the Disney Expo, so we languish on.

This weekend the boys found the reboot of DuckTales playing on TV. The intro song came back to me, and I sang it to the giggles of my boys. We watched the cartoon together. I think they did a great job. I liked the changes. And Webby! My beloved Webby is a full member of the cast. I should go find my Webbigail toy. The boys are intrigued. Not enough to record it (Thank God because they record enough shows. Honestly, guys, it’s like almost a dozen, and they never have time to watch them.), but it’s enough to watch it when it’s on.

Then this Monday the boys watched Young Sheldon. They adore The Big Bang Theory. They love Sheldon. Tornado E went as Sheldon for Halloween one year. They have been looking forward to Young Sheldon for months. Then the thing that hooked their hearts. Sheldon is my age. The boys were excited to learn that Sheldon and I were born the same year, which means watching Young Sheldon is a peek at my childhood. They were so excited to hear that Sheldon’s sister wanted to watch DuckTales just like Mama at their age.

Then I told my mom.

My Mom: You were never like Sheldon.

Me: I know. But this is cute. They watch DuckTales.

My Mom: His sister does. He watches Dr. Proton.

Tornado E: Mama, did you watch Dr. Proton?

Me: No. That’s a made up show for the TV show. We watched Mr. Wizard. And he was cool.

My Mom: You didn’t watch science shows.

Me: Yes, we did. It came on at 6am on Nickelodeon. So we watched it if we were up early. You were too tired and drinking coffee.

Tornado E: Was he as cool as Dr. Proton?

Me: Hell, yes.

Identifying Leadership

There we were with dozens of hundreds of Cub Scouts. At least a hundred of them were Wolves. Like my little guys. When they put on the uniform, they start to blend into the sea of navy blue. They put on their hats. Good luck.

From the back, I can only distinguish two of our Wolf cubs. My boy and his best friend. Tornado A has his head nearly shaved. His best friend has the long 1970’s boy hair cut. Everyone else has similar cuts and lengths.

At lunch, we had sat on a field, on of the few large open spaces of grass. Within twenty minutes, the boys were done and chasing each other. First my den, then the others started joining in. Then slowly my parents started moving out of the field to the wall. I, in my stubbornness decided to stay put. Until even I decided I chose life over pride.

So I stood watching 50 or more Cub Scouts running around.

Me: Hey, guys, what do you say if next year I get a can of washable hair dye and just spray their heads so we can pick them out?

A mom: Like yellow or florescent orange?

The parents all looked at me.

Me: (glancing around at all the parents and back on the field where more boys had joined the chaos) Yeah. Or we can color coordinate. Bears are light blue.

A dad: We could give it a shot.

The other parents murmured in agreement.

I’m a hell of a leader.