Flu Shot Fiasco

In the imagination of my ten-year-old, flu shots hurt. He claims that his arm still aches from last year’s shot. “I have been in pain for years and years,” he cried today in a plea to skip his appointment.

Moms typically find no humor in public meltdowns. However, the ability to re-watch the scene through the eyes of his teenage big brother – twinkling with both awe and amusement throughout the scene – can turn drama into comedy.

The not-so-little-anymore ten-year-old began the appointment hiding under the chair in which I sat waiting for the nurse. Crying. Shaking. “I’m going to throw up!”

The baby wailing in the next room could not compete.

When the nurse entered, he stepped up his game. Screamed. Leapt out of my arms. Flew open the door, and raced down the hall.

By the time the nurse and I ran after him – big brother didn’t move, by the way – the waiting room showed no evidence of a mad ten-year-old in flight. She searched amid the quiet children and parents waiting their turn. People, like I used to be, who assume a modicum of sanity from their offspring.

I checked the bathrooms. Down another hall.

Where could he be hiding?

I found him outside in his socks.

“You don’t know what it’s like to be me!”

I talked him back into the doctor’s office. Threats of returning tomorrow with Dad. Waved at the nurse. Read to him while she recruited a colleague to help us pin him down.

He screamed to stick his left leg. “I need my right leg for sports. It’s my strong one.” Then….

“Nooooo!”

By the time his doctor entered, he was finished with his fluorescent green ice-pop and riding an adrenaline rush that entertained her with stories of farting, bad school lunches, baseball and his struggles with spelling.

“Next year,” she said, “you get two shots.”

And his big brother grinned.

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October Snow Dance

Rumors of an early snow day had three boys in my house in a virtual tizzy last night. And they concocted a few odd rituals to deliver the snow.

The eighth grader ran outside while we were finishing dinner and yelled into the dark, snowless ski, “Snow gods, make it snow!”

The fourth grader followed him out the door, but decided the snow gods would take more notice if he stripped down to his orange striped underwear. “We want a snow day!”

“No school!” called the ninth grader from the doorway.

I am not sure who came up with the final plea. For that, they dumped ice cubes into the toilet.

Then this morning, when only a dusting graced our lawn, they blamed the little guy. “You put too much ice in.”

Funny. I assumed it was the dance in his underwear.

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee

On Thursday, our eighth grader didn’t talk for two hours after school because he had screwed up on a Math quiz.  But the next day was Friday. Nothing can bring him down at 3:00 on Friday, and the afternoon car ride tends to be full of his chatter.

You know Seinfeld’s show “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”? He should drive with my kids. Rename his show “Comedians in Cars Eating Kit-Kats.”

Yesterday, the grumpy one was ready when his older brother punted him an easy one. “Can you believe Apple is worth over $800 billion?”

“So what? I’m going to make more than a trillion,” was the quick response.

“How?” challenged the punter.

“Well….” having shed his school-week gloom, he grinned, “I already own the Illuminati. The problem is, no one will ever be rich enough to buy it from me. So I’m a bit cash-strapped.”

“You could go public,” I joined in. “Then everyone could buy stock.”

Gasps all around.

“You can’t go public with the Illuminati! The public doesn’t even know we’re real!”

Then he went through which Presidents and celebrities are members, and which are “persons of interest,” usually for bad reasons. Trump and Kanye West both persons of interest.

“Was Steve Jobs a member?”

“Person of interest. He was kind of weird about stuff.”

“That guy who founded the Mormons? John Smith?”

“A little crazy.”

“Ronald Reagan?” As good as Apple in the mind of the eldest.

“That was my predecessor’s time. I wouldn’t know.”

They kept laughing.

“And then that stupid Youtuber, PewDiePie. Definitely a person of interest. Tells everyone our corporate headquarters are in Israel. I always thought that was too obvious anyway. My predecessor’s choice. But still! Then I had to move us, and that cost me a couple hundred million.”

“Where did you move?”

“I can’t tell you that!”

“Come on!”

“Somewhere no one is ever going to bomb. Or even think of.”

“Canada?”

“Exactly. That would be like kicking your dog. But don’t tell anyone. It’s top secret.”

“Well,” bringing it around, “I still think you can’t beat Apple.”

His Favorite Food

“Sesame Chicken and Indian food are tied for my favorite foods,” said the fourth grader. “But Sesame Chicken might win, because whenever I eat Indian food, I have to sit on the toilet for about 20 minutes.”

Yuck.

“But I love it anyway. I just don’t like it for lunch. Then I might miss a minute or two of recess stuck on the toilet. Which probably means I like Sesame Chicken best.”

Awkward Party Moment

Last night at a Labor Day picnic, I was chatting with a friend of a friend. Someone I’ve met a few times but don’t really know.

My teenage son, almost as tall as I am, appeared at my shoulder, clearing his throat and politely interrupting our conversation.

“Mom, I am now an official member of the Illuminati.” Very serious.

“Really?” I flash a smile at the friend of a friend.

“I signed up on their website.”

“They have a website?”

Seems strange, because the Illuminati was a secret society formed in Bavaria in the 1700s. Often compared to the Freemasons, they appear in fiction as an underground, powerful, almost magical group pulling strings at the highest levels of world government and religion. They have been blamed for many of history’s conspiracies, wars, and other cataclysmic events.

A Youtuber recently re-introduced the Illuminati into pop culture with a hilarious video, thus bringing us to this awkward party moment.

“Now, if they ever need me, they can contact me.” He leaned in, “And I’m on it.”

With a quick nod, he left me standing with the friend of a friend. “More wine?”

In the Dursleys’ Wine Cellar

Our youngest is not a “bed” guy. For years, he slept on the floor in his brothers’ rooms, dragging sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, stuffed animals and his book down the hall every night.

With the older two entering teen-dom, however, their patience eventually dried up. So, he set up camp on the floor in his own room right next to his bed. It took us a few months of cajoling to realize he is afraid of falling out of bed. So, we bought a queen-size mattress and put it on the floor (no bedsprings) with new super soft, red fleece sheets.

It worked. For months, he climbed into bed every night, then spent ten minutes methodically setting up shop. Large stuffed bear and pillows along the non-wall side. Seven foxes snuggled against Big Bear in order of whose night of the week it was to sleep closest to him. “Blue Blanky” as first blanket, because it’s his favorite, then the others on top.

But something snapped.

He realized that if he pulls the mattress away from the wall, he can set up a bed back there… on the floor.

The ten-minute bedtime process got moved.

Then two nights ago, when he was feeling sorry for himself, it moved again…

…to the closet.

“I want to hide from the world!”

Big Bear, Blue Blanky, pillow, foxes, flashlight, book all in the smallest possible place to sleep. Shirts hanging just above him.

“Like Harry Potter’s bed at the Dursleys’,” I said, thinking that would discourage him. But by Night #2, it was his happy place.

Harry had to sleep in the wine cellar. Remember? It was under the stairs.”

As if that made all the difference.

And in all my years of reading Harry Potter books, I never pictured the Durselys drinking wine.

The Peppermint Failure

Our dog digs. So, I bought peppermint plants.

I got the idea on the Internet. Then I confirmed that it works with the herb guy at the plant store. “Dogs hate that strong minty smell,” he said. “She definitely won’t dig near it.”

Unless you’re Star, the dog who created a little mulch nest in-between peppermint plants, her nose resting contentedly for hours within an inch of that strong minty smell she is supposed to hate.

Or Star, the dog who I discovered covered in mud, digging madly around one of the sprinklers, which was spraying her directly in the face. The peppermint plant she nestled with all weekend is missing. Not a leaf of evidence that it even existed.

So, onto Plan B. Fill hole. Sprinkle with red hot Cayenne Pepper.