“So, can I have a Facebook account?”
I look at Waldorf and immediately laugh in response to his question, “Haha! No.”
“It’s illegal for you to have a Facebook account. You’re only 11 years old.”
“Oh,” he digests this information.
“And Facebook is my territory,” I add.
“Oh, don’t worry. I don’t want to read what you write,” he says with a smile.
Indeed you do not. You’d be none too pleased.
“OK, can I have a Twitter account?” he asks.
“It’s also illegal for you to have a Twitter account at 11 years old. Plus, the internet is full of strangers. Dad and I don’t want you connecting with strangers online. It’s dangerous.”
I stand in the back of the school auditorium. Grinning and clapping my hands. Homa Tavangar, author of Growing Up Global, has just finished speaking to a group of girls at my kids’ school.
As the students file out of the auditorium, I head toward the stage, my copy of Growing Up Global in hand, eager to meet Homa in person. Hoping she’ll sign my book.
I’ve seen her picture and know her writing voice. She’s seen my picture and knows my writing voice as well. But this is the first time we’ve been in the same room together.
I smile broadly, and her grin mirrors mine. “It’s so nice to finally meet you in person!” we say simultaneously.
She is warm and engaging. She’ll be back at school to introduce the screening of 10×10’s Girl Rising on March 13th. We speak briefly about the film, and she signs my book.
How do I know Homa? We follow each other on Twitter. And we’ve shared a handful of emails.
Essentially, we are two strangers.
Who connected online.
It’s ironic, isn’t it?
“Kenyan, did you start your science project yet?”
“Well, it’s due in 2 weeks. Maybe now is a good time to start.”
“What are you going to invent?” I ask. “Something you need in your everyday life that we don’t have?”
“OK. So what do you need that we don’t have?”
He considers my question. “A pool. So I can swim.”
“Hmm. Not really an invention.”
“A TV in my room?” he suggests.
I shake my head, “This isn’t a wish list, Kenyan. It’s problem solving. Identifying a need and coming up with a solution.”
His eyes light up, “Well, I forget to take my medicine sometimes. Maybe I’ll invent something to help me remember.”
“And I forget to floss,” he continues.
“Hey! Maybe I’ll build a super toothbrush holder that can hold my medicine on one side and my floss on the other side! Because I always remember to brush my teeth!”
“Bingo! Get to it!”
“I’m going to call it The Remind-O-Tron.”
“It’s catchy, Kenyan. And how can you forget the Remind-O-Tron, right?”
I look down at my phone to read the text I’ve just received. It’s from a Mom from school. A friend.
“Hey, the Kenyan told me he left his science experiment at home. Want me to come pick it up?”
SON OF A BITCH.
“No. Thank you for offering. I’ll bring it to him.”
I text B&B,
“The Kenyan left The Remind-O-Tron at home.”
“Oh no. You mean he FORGOT The Remind-O-Tron?”
“Yes. That’s what I mean.”
And no. The irony is not lost on me.
In my sternest voice, I tell them, “Boys, we are at the dinner table. Haven’t I made it clear that the place to talk about pee and poop and butts and penises is in the bathroom? Please stop the potty talk at the dinner table.”
“Sorry, Mom,” comes the chorus from around the table.
“Can I just say one thing?” the Interrogator asks earnestly.
“Yes, Interrogator. You may.”
The entire table, B&B included, erupts in laughter. The Interrogator breaks into his 6 year old smile. The one with the adorable dimples and the gap where his two front teeth used to be. Unable to help himself, and thrilled with his brothers’ laughter, he throws his head back and yells again, “FFFFFFAAAAAAARRRRRRRTTTTTT!”
“So boys, Mommy has something very exciting to tell you!”
The Interrogator and the Verb look up at me from across the dinner table. We’re not eating yet. They are too busy scratching the table up with their Lego figurines, who are engaged in battle.
“Did you get us a new Lego set?” the Verb asks in his husky voice.
“Did you get us our own iPad’s?” the Interrogator inquires.
“No. And no. You know how Mommy writes stories sometimes?”
“I thought that was email,” chimes the little one.
“I thought that was texting,” says the big one.
“It’s not email. Or texting. Well, sometimes it is. But Mommy likes to write stories.”
“Do you make me a red power ranger in your stories?” the Verb wonders.
“Am I Captain America in your stories?” the Interrogator demands.
“No. And no. They’re just funny stories. Anyway, Mommy wrote a story and it’s going to be published in a real book!”
“What’s the name of your book, Mom?”
“The title is I Just Want to Pee Alone.”
The Interrogator heaves with laughter and slaps his palm against the table, scattering the Legos. The Verb laughs that laugh B&B loves the most. The one where he sounds just like Snoopy from Charlie Brown.
“Ha hahahahahahaha! Ahhhhh hahahahahahahaha!”
“You did potty talk at the dinner table, Mom. Pee is potty talk. No dessert for you.”
The irony is indeed everywhere.
But I’m too excited to care. Jen of People I Want to Punch in the Throat has compiled an anthology of hilarious stories by female bloggers, and I’m thrilled that I’m among them.
What did I write about? Well, you’ll just have to buy it and read for yourself.
I Just Want to Pee Alone
Don’t you too? Available this spring.
Our This is Childhood Series continues with Tracy of Sellabitmum talking about how different age 7 has looked on two of her three daughters. Tracy is a Minnesota Mom whose blog is one of my favorites. Her pictures are stunning, and her reflections on age 7 moved me to tears. Please read her here.
This is Childhood, ages 8, 9, and 10 continues for the next three weeks when the talented Amanda Magee, Denise Ullem, and Lindsey Mead take on those years.