A Punny Teen

He’s growing tall, my boy. Four inches over the last. Still more to go. And still very goofy.

I went after the Bookfair, where I left him, to pick him up. He was the last student to stay to clean up. He looked over at me.

Tornado E: Hi, Mama!

Me: Hi, sweetheart. Are you done?

Tornado E: I don’t know.

Me: Go ask what else you can do. Ask until everything’s done.

I want him to be helpful. I want him to be of service. I want him to stay until everything is done.

One of the moms: Thanks, Tornado E. Could you go get me my fan?

She was loading up her car with several tables. There was nothing for me to do. Tornado E came out of the school, carrying a large box fan. The mom turned and reached out for it.

Tornado E: This is my biggest fan. Be careful with him.

The mom burst out laughing.

She turned to me: I love his sense of humor. (She turned to him) I love those types of jokes.

He beamed.

The mom: That’s everything. Thank you so much, Tornado E. You can go home.

He came to me. I put my arm around him and walked to the car.

How did this kid get so much of me in him? I wonder if anyone sees anything else but me hanging out behind his eyes.

I kissed his head.

Nah. It’s all him. I could never enjoy math the way he does.

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Early Bloomer

Tornado E: Mama? Remember in third grade when the kids didn’t get my jokes?

Yes. Like when your teacher came up to me to tell me how bright you were and how advanced your humor was, that your classmates didn’t understand your jokes or sarcasm. Like when I started sending school notes with corny kid jokes to expand your humor to something closer to your peers. Like when you wanted to give your best friend a My Little Pony Pinkie Pie for her birthday because she had a nightmare about it and that would be hilarious.

You’re right. It would’ve been. If you were older. Like teenagers. In college. Adults. Not third grade.

Third grade when I had to explain it was ok to tease someone but when that person is hurt or offended, you apologize and never make that joke again. It’s ok to make a mistake and cross a boundary you didn’t know was there. But it was never ok to keep hurting a person like that. Sometimes people won’t be able to tell you they are hurt, so you have to watch for physical cues, and then you back off when you hurt someone. Always.

Me: Yes.

Tornado E: They get my jokes now. They think I’m funny. They try to copy my jokes. They like insulting each other now. They’re trying to be sarcastic. It’s kind of funny.

So it only took them three years to start catching up to Tornado E. I’d pitch him against any of my freshmen any day of the week.