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.

Pig Vegan

Back in Novemeber, Tornado S declared himself pig vegan. Which is to say, he decided to stop eating all meat from pig.

Bacon?

Tornado S: No.

Ham?

Tornado S: No.

Pork chops.

Tornado S: No.

Sausage?

Tornado S: No.

Bacon?

Tornado S: I already said no.

We tempted him. We tried to bribe him. We scolded him. We teased him. We tried to trick him.

On New Year’s dinner, I told him if he didn’t eat the ham, he had to eat everything else, including the beans. And Grandma’s Beans are gross. So very, very gross.

And the kid ate them.

Then I remembered when I was a little older than Tornado S I learned that that dolphins were getting caught in tuna nets. So I gave up canned tuna. I tried to get my classmates to boycott tuna noddle casserole lunch day. It didn’t go over well. The bullies had a field day. But my mom never made me eat another bite of tuna.

So I stopped pestering Tornado S. I gave him real alternative choices to pig meat. He is proud to be pig vegan. And I explain to everyone what it means. Everything has been fine.

Until he tried to ban pepperoni pizza.

Whoa. Whoa. Little man. We respect your believes and allow you to get cheese pizza. Respect our beliefs to eat pepperoni pizza. The one, true pizza.

 

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.

A Difference of a Year

Last year was one of the worst birthdays I ever had. It cracked the top three. It was the second day on the job, and my room was far, so very far, from being ready, especially as I had freshman orientation the next day. My new key from the district didn’t work, but someone saw my distress and let me into my room to put my stuff in. So I was nearly late for the group picture. After pictures, I ran around the campus trying to find someone to help me with the key. Oh, I can’t help; go ask Mr. So-and-so. Oh, I can’t help, go ask So-and-So. Finally I got a sub key to get in my room to grab my stuff for my meeting. Which I was now late too. They were talking about teen depression and suicide. And I got triggered. Tears streamed down my face as I stood in the back until I finally had to ran as professionally as I could to the hall before collapsing in sobs. What the hell? After that meeting ended, I was able to compose myself for the next meeting, which ran long. Then I had to run to the district office to get a new key and race back to my school and my unfinished room. I nearly started crying again at all the work still left to do as my room had been completely thrashed by summer school and was a left over room from someone who had retired. Why clean up if no one is ever going to see you again? I worked as long as I could but was not nearly done. I got home just before we had to race to dinner and then to karate and then I had to drop my boys off at their dad’s. Yeah, last year really did suck.

But this year. My room was pretty much intact, and my parents and the boys came in with me on Saturday to help me. I was done with everything I could do yesterday at 1:30 but stayed until 2:30 because I had a meeting at that time. (That’s when I learned I’ll have 38 students in one period. Holy cow! I don’t even have enough desks!) Today I still had issues like no speakers, no remotes, no AC, and a leaky room. But the AC was fixed, and the remotes were found.

So imagine my delight when my phone rang during my planning time during freshman orientation. It was my mom, and I had to answer it just in case one of the boys was hurt.

Me: Hello?

Tornado A: Happy birthday to you! You live in a zoo! You look like a monkey! And you smell like one too! Happy birthday, Mama!

Me: Thanks, Baby.

Oh no, Mama!

As I do on a work day, I got up a little before 6. I talked with Tornado A. I did my gratitude list and worked on the manuscript. I got in the shower, and then I got dressed in a skirt, shirt, and boots. I gave the boys morning hugs and kisses before I packed my lunch and ate breakfast. I settled a squabble and sent the boys to pick up a few toys. I went to brush my teeth.

Tornado S: Mama- (He looked me up and down. His eyes got big. His lips quivered.) MAMA! You’re going to work!

He crushed me in a hug, burying his face in my chest, trying not to cry.

Me: Oh, sweetheart! It’ll be ok. I’ll be home early. I promise.

So began my first day back from summer break.

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.