Pig Vegan Part 2

On vacation, we had lunch with Wally, her wife, and a college friend. 4 women, 3 boys. I have amazing friends.

The topic veered to diets. Not the I’m-so-fat-I-can-only-eat-this talk. No. It’s I-own-chickens-and-I-can’t-eat-chicken-anymore. And it’s so-hard-for-us-to-find-a- restaurant-to-agree-on-anymore. And Tornado S piped up that he was pig vegan, which confused two of the women. So Wally and I went about explaining. When Tornado A, a huge fan of Tornado S, declared that he too was now pig vegan.

NOOOOOOOO!

Wally: What’s so wrong with that?

Me: Ham!

To which, Wally responded with an eye roll.

And before I could respond.

Tornado S: Then I’m going to become a vegetarian.

Me: What? You can’t! You love hamburgers. Aaaaah!

Wally: What’s so wrong with that?

Processing…. processing…. processing… Damnit, no, real logic was coming to my aid.

Me: (grumpy) It’s harder on me.

To which, Wally responded with an eye roll.

The next day, I took the boys to our favorite seafood restaurant. They are only in California and one in Phoenix. I go whenever I get a chance. And all three boys order fish and chips. Then they change the chips to mash potatoes and one macaroni and cheese. The restaurant has amazing mash potatoes and macaroni and cheese, but I’ve never seen any of my kids forgo fries. And then there was the other question.

Me: Tornado S, I thought you were becoming a vegetarian. You can’t eat fish.

Tornado S: I changed my mind.

Well, he did have a hamburger the night before….

Then my clam chowder came, and it was amazing. So amazing. The boys wanted to try it, so I gave them each a spoonful. Then another. I refused third helpings.

Tornado S: Mama! Does this soup have bacon in it?

Me: Yes.

Tornado S: No! But I’m pig vegan! Did I eat any bacon?

Me: No. I made sure you didn’t have any on your spoon.

Tornado looked at me, then the bowl, and then at Tornado S.

Tornado A: I’m sorry, Tornado S. But I can’t be pig vegan. Bacon is too good.

A Money Talk

Me: Well, I spent more than I meant to.

Tornado S and I were leaving Barnes and Noble. Why, yes, I do buy more than I usually should at a bookstore. Today was different. I didn’t know that Barnes and Noble rarely sells paperback picture books. So that easily add $10 a book. Then Tornado S saw a book he liked, and Tornado S never sees a book he likes. So I had to buy it. But I did not buy the five other books that wanted to. And I really, really wanted to.

Tornado S: You say that a lot.

Huh. I know I think that. I know I kick myself when I’m auditing, but that’s more of I-forgot-that-I’m-the-working-poor-and-I-shouldn’t-beat-myself-up-for-not-saving-more-when-there’s-not-more-to-save. I don’t remember the last time I misbudgeted for a store. Most months I do everything in cash to help me save more.

Me: Do other people say that about me?

The silence changed. Ah-ha!

Tornado S: I don’t know.

But he does know! Who would say it? My mother? My father? Or my-

Me: Does Daddy say it?

The silence changed. Ah-ha!

Tornado S: I don’t know.

Well, I did present him with the bill for school supplies. This year the sales were late because we started so damn early. The boys need tons of things. So yeah, it was a hefty bill we split.

Me: Was it recently?

Tornado S: I don’t know.

Not that it matters. The ex has a hard time with spending money not directly related to him. Like he never understood how I could spend so much on groceries or toiletries. His friends would explain that toilet paper is indeed kind of expensive. And then there were the arguments about my book spending and his entertaining. So many stupid fights.

Me: Daddy has always said that about my shopping. I did all the shopping for the house, so he assumed I was always spending even if it was food and toiletries. He also didn’t like me buying so many books. But I love books. Daddy likes to go out, so he likes to spend his money going out and treating people. He buys more expensive clothes than me too. But that’s ok. When you get older and share expenses, as long as you talk about it and compromise, you both can get what you want. You will spending money on things your partner will find silly, and your partner will buy things that you find silly. But as long as you budget and compromise, you’ll be ok.

The silence became introspective.

Tornado S: Ok, Mama.

And that too was a good answer.

It’s just a book

Of all the things I want for gifts, the one I ask for, the one that means the most to me, is for someone to take my boys shopping for me. Show them we buy gifts for the people we love. Show them that we remember special days for the people we love. Show them how to think and empathize with people we love. Buying gifts is a skill. Remembering important days of your love one is love.

My mother likes to give practical gifts. My dad likes to give gifts that will make the person happy. He has been taking the lead gift giving with the boys the last couple of times. For Mother’s Day, the boys and my dad got me a cool Wonder Woman picture.

So my parents took the boys shopping form birthday. Tornado E found a Star Wars gift but abandoned that for a Star Wars movie. Tornado S decided to give me the Star Wars gift. Tornado A walked into the book aisle and brought my dad a book.

Tornado A: (Smiling from ear to ear) We should get Mama this book! (Holds up the book)

Papi: (looks at the book with Donald Trump on the cover) I don’t think your mama will like that book. She isn’t a big fan of Trump.

Tornado A smiled bigger and nodded.

Papi: No prank gifts.

Tornado A sighed and marched back to the aisle. He came running back with a Star Wars book.

Prank gift giving in second grade. That kid is mine.

Best Friends Forever

We were watching the news, and they were doing those emotional pieces. While filming his son’s championship little league game, a dad had caught his son’s first home run ball.. During the interview, the dad said about his son, “He’s my best friend.”

Tornado E: Mama, am I your best friend?

No, Wally is, obviously. But does he want to me to say yes. The boy on the TV is Tornado E’s age. But that’s weird to be an adult with a 12 year old best friend.

My mom: No, I’m your mom’s best friend.

WHAT?! Mayday! Mayday! We’ve been through this before. I need you to be my mom, not my friend, not my best friend, my mom.

Me: Tornado E, do you want me to be your best friend?

Tornado E: No. I already have one. A—– is my best friend.

Sigh. That was close. Now to sneak out of the room, silently, gracefully like a ninja to avoid my mother’s comment.

Fandom

Wally: You know I’ll never have a mom like the country songs. The ones where my mom is my biggest fan. I’ll never know what that means.

Me: I know.

During the hellish year of being a temporary sub, I had all sorts of people from the school and district come and observe me and then offer me advice, starting with “if you don’t mind, I have a few critiques…”

And I would say, “I’m great at handling criticism. I have a overly critical mother.”

In fact, I’m wondering if I should make her a reader. She would really shred my manuscript apart.

So, yeah, my mom is not my biggest fan. Will never be. And that’s ok.

Yesterday I was at Panda Express with the boys, enjoying their company as we chowed down. We got to the fortunes, and we naturally became the Star fanboys and fangirl that we are.

Tornado E: (pretending to read his fortune) A great evil has been released.

Me: (pretending to read my fortune) Love is always the answer.

Tornado S: Love is never the answer.

Me: Hey. I wanted to say that!

And then we all read our fortunes for real, and I went last.

Me: “The world is ready for your talents. Don’t hold back.” Huh.

Tornado E: You have lots of talents, Mama! You should show the world!

Me: Thanks, Baby. (Then forgetting I was in public, in front of the boys, I said to myself {I totally talk out loud to myself, a horrible habit picked up when I was a lonely kid who had no one to talk to and still as an adult when I have no one to talk to; a cruel joke, an introvert with a need to talk.}) I wonder if my boys would be my biggest fans. Huh. Weird to create your own fandom.

Tornado E: We are your biggest fans, Mama! You’re awesome!

With that, I realized that my tornadoes, my herd of dragons, my entourage was really my fandom. I’m kind of lucky that way.

Movie Critic

I took one for the team. The Ex should thank me. The boys watched Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom.

The movie is ok. The Ex hates the movie. It soiled the Indiana Jones name, but he already watched Raiders of the Lost Ark with the boys. And I. I love anything with Indiana Jones. When I was a child, I wanted to be Indiana Jones.

(Guy Friend: Oh come on, you can’t be Indiana Jones; you’re a  {Looks over at me and realizes his next words should be chosen wisely.}. Look, there are lots of great girls in Indiana Jones.

Me: Like the Nazi? Or the screaming wuss? I don’t to date Indiana Jones. I want to be him.

Guy Friend: Mariam! You can be Mariam! She’s cool.

Me: You can be Mariam. I’ll be Indy.

Guy Friend: But she’s-

Me: Not as cool as Indiana Jones. Exactly.)

So the boys watched Temple of Doom as I drove us home from the karate tournament in Phoenix. And I hear:

Tornado E: Why would you drink anything from a Chinese gangster?

Tornado E: How is that believable?

Tornado E: That would never work!

Tornado E: That’s not Indian food! I thought they were in India. Did no one research this?

Tornado E: I wonder how chilled monkey brains would taste. I would eat that. (No, he wouldn’t. He won’t even eat fruit pie.)

Tornado E: I don’t believe that.

Tornado E: Mama! Did you see that? (Driving!)

Tornado E: Why is she screaming?

Tornado E: That could never happen!

Tornado E: Does no one understand the Hindu religion?

Tornado E: Why? Why would you do that?

Tornado E: You can’t do that! You can’t pull out someone’s heart! Why is he alive?

Tornado E: *snort*

Tornado E: Voodoo dolls are not in India! Did no one do any research?

Tornado E: Mama, don’t they have to research movies?

Tornado E: No one researched this movie.

Tornado E: This is so stupid.

Tornado E: There is a bone to keep you from taking out his heart!

Tornado E: What?!

Tornado E: She’s always screaming!

Tornado E: FAKE!

Tornado E: This is so fake!

Tornado E: Why does she keep screaming?!

Tornado E: Mama, you never scream.

Tornado E: Oh, sure, there are some random crocodiles.

Tornado E: That’s believable.

Tornado E: Why are there only old people in that village? It’s only old people and kids. Where are there parents?

Tornado E: She’s so annoying!

Tornado E: Is she in the next movie, Mama?

Me: No.

Tornado E: Thank goodness.

Yeah, my kid is hilarious.

The Beginning of the End of Summer

Here in Tucson, the school year is about to begin. We go back at the beginning of August. Extremely early. But we have a week of fall break and a week of spring break, and we get out in May. But still. I’m not ready!

The boys are. They can’t stop messing with each other.

I am having nightmares about being unprepared for the start of school. You know how I can fix that? Preparing for school. I’m reading articles, sure, but I need to check my email, fix a few lesson plans, write a few lesson plans, select my first reading material. But I’m avoiding it. I should do it tonight, but I won’t. I have this book and 13 Reasons to watch.

Today I registered the boys at school. I’m realizing what a reputation I’m building. I’m the mom of three energetic boys, who is a teacher. People are impressed as I settle the boys down so I can talk to a teacher. They’re impressed as I scoop Tornado A off a stack of chairs before he can crack his head open. They’re impressed that the boys answer them with thoughtful answers.

The boys got to socialize with friends they hadn’t seen all summer. I commiserated with teachers over the end of summer, sharing ideas for lesson plans. I talked to a few Cub Scout parents about plans for the next year. Tornado A practiced his locker combination until he had it memorized. (I’m hoping for no tears this next year over first day locker jitters.) The music teacher asked Tornado A again if he would join any band. The fifth grade teachers assessed Tornado S, who beamed to be in the next school level. Tornado A was a tornado.

It’s good to have a community. Also I can’t believe the summer is ending for us already!