I Should Have Gone to Five Guys…

“You know when it’s been so long since you’ve exercised that you’ll make every excuse not to? And all you can think about is a burger from 5 Guys? Yep. That.”

I posted that on my Facebook page last Saturday morning. And I meant every word.

We are deep into M-A-Y. Growing up, it was my favorite month. The azaleas bloom hot pink, the bedroom windows stay open all night, we are a handful of days away from summer vacation, and my birthday kicks off the month in celebratory fashion.

Now that I’m a parent, I recognize May for what it is. The month of allergies, field trips, party planning, permission slips, and track meets that overlap with lacrosse games.

5guys

In May, I did this…

3rd grade mother/son overnight camping trip

3rd grade mother/son overnight camping trip

this…

5th Grade Reading Olympics Competition

5th Grade Reading Olympics Competition

this…

Boychoir Rumpelstiltskin performance. Unfortunately, yes, the ax is ours.

Boy choir Rumpelstiltskin performance. Unfortunately, yes, the ax is ours.

this…

Mother's Day Tea

Mother’s Day Tea

this…

Ringing Rocks field trip. Boys + Hammers + Boulders = Perfection

Ringing Rocks field trip. Boys + Hammers + Boulders = Perfection

this…

Meet Chuck, our newest family member. Acquired Family Night at the Book Fair.

Meet Chuck, our newest family member. Acquired Family Night at the Book Fair.

this…

Our 4th and final Pre-K Ocean Show

Our 4th and final Pre-K Ocean Show

I also made it to the school’s Imagineering Lab to see the Kenyan’s robotics project. And I enjoyed both performances of the 2nd and 3rd grade chorus. I have no photographic evidence of these events. But I was present.

Every single ounce of it was awesome. I cried happy tears like a gazillion times. I cried right smack in the middle of the 3rd grade campfire in front of the Kenyan, his hunky teacher, his entire class, and their Moms. So that wasn’t embarrassing at all.

But, so help me Jesus, the May calendar with children makes it near impossible to sleep, shower, or exercise.

Which is how I found myself fantasizing about a burger from 5 Guys at 10AM on Saturday morning.

But I’m a clever girl.

I realize 5 Guys doesn’t sell burgers until 11AM.

I have time to spare.

I may as well do a kettlebell workout.

B&B is with the Kenyan at a track meet. Waldorf relaxes on the sofa with Minecraft. The Interrogator and the Verb are engaged in Lego play. So, I set myself up in my home gym. Which is code for my family room. Where Waldorf is chillaxin and the younger two are throwing Legos. I shove puzzle pieces and toys under the sofa. Then push the four laundry baskets containing clean, folded clothes against the wall. Pop in a kettlebell DVD. And put on my iPod.

The first song is a Rihanna tune. I skip to the next song. Also a Rihanna song. Skip ahead again. Rihanna once more.

Mother of pearl.

B&B has been using my iPod again.

I suffer through 40 minutes of kettlebells. Which, though challenging, is easier to endure than 40 minutes of Rihanna.

I should go directly upstairs to shower. But I know we have that new jump rope out back, and maybe I’ll give it a whirl while I’m warmed up. And by jump rope, I mean nautical rope that is both heavy enough and thick enough to secure a cruise ship to a port of call.

B&B is in the throes of a gardening project and, for some ungodly reason, a giant, clear, plastic tarp hangs from the ceiling of our covered patio. I sigh and drag the heavy rope to a spot that I hope is clear of the plastic sheeting. Fingers crossed.

And ONE ROTATION,

OOOOOF!

And TWO ROTATIONS,

This mother fucker is HEAVY!

And THREE ROTATIONS,

OW, my wrists!

And FOUR ROTATIONS,

CAN’T BREATHE!

And FIVE ROTATIONS,

FUCK THIS.

And SIX ROTATIONS,

I’M BAILING!

My right foot lands on the rope…which is the approximate width of an elephant’s thigh…and my ankle rolls. I gasp in pain and land in a heap on the ground. Tangled in B&B’s plastic garden sheeting.

So I am on crutches for the rest of this bastard month.

I can’t say I’m  enjoying my new status as a You Tube phenom.

My video debut

I should have gone to Five Guys.

The Tortoise and the Hair

B&B: “Oh we’re doing it.”

Me: “We don’t have time.”

B&B: “We DO have time”

Me: “We have to leave in,” I glance at the clock, “8 minutes!”

B&B: Eyebrows raised, “It’ll only take 5.”

No it won’t.

But his mind is made up, so it’s pointless to argue.

Me: Sighing: “Fine.”

B&B removes his shirt, smacks my unsuspecting behind, and hollers, “Kenyan! Outside! Quickly!”

The Kenyan stops running his circular pattern in the family room long enough to mutter, “Huh?”

B&B: Calling down the steps, “Come on, we don’t have much time!”

The Kenyan bounds the steps into the kitchen two at a time. Looks at me, looks at B&B, looks back at me. “Is it time to go?”

B&B has a wild look in his eye: “Almost. First I’m going to cut your hair.”

Kenyan: Covering his head protectively, “Oh, no. Never again. You’re not cutting MY hair.”

B&B: Exasperated, “Come on, Kenyan!”

Our son backs away, hands still protectively clasped over his overgrown hair. He shakes his head, “No. Nope. No thank you, and no way.”

B&B looks at me for assistance.

Oh, no, leave me out of this!

B&B: “Mommy, doesn’t he need his hair cut?”

Apparently, after almost 18 years together, B&B still cannot read my mind.

Me: Clearing my throat, “Ahem. Yes. He does.”

B&B, Looking at the Kenyan, “See? Mommy agrees with me.”

Kenyan: “She agrees I need a haircut. You’re not touching my hair.”

At least one of them can read my mind. Well done, Kenyan.

B&B, looking once again to me for assistance, “Mommy, doesn’t he need his hair cut right now? Before his first race of the season?”

Nope. It’s a fakakta idea. There’s no time. Oh, and there’s that small detail I’ll leave for last…but certainly not least…that you butchered him the last time you cut his hair.

B&B: With a note of hysteria, “Mommy?! Doesn’t he need it now?!” Eyebrows raised, palms skyward, promise of serious spousal dispute in front of child if I disagree.

Me: “Um,” I look at the Kenyan, wrinkle my nose, squint one eye, shrug the opposite shoulder, “Kenyan, I bet he’ll do a better job this time.” Hoping my voice, which is 3 octaves higher than usual, doesn’t illuminate my lack of confidence in B&B’s clipping skills.

The Kenyan looks at me, narrows his eyes. Removes his hands from his head and they fall to his sides. “Ugh! Fine! Not as short as last time though!”

B&B’s face illuminates. He claps his hands and shouts, “Woohoo!” then hastily disappears from the room to gather his equipment before the Kenyan and I can change our minds.

I put my arm around the Kenyan. “I’m proud of you, buddy. Trusting Dad to do this means alot to him.”

Kenyan: Grudgingly, “Yeah, well it better come out better than last time.”

Word.

Me: “It will.”

I glance at the clock,  “B&B, you have 5 minutes.”

He escorts the Kenyan to the back patio, where the scalping cutting commences. I shake my head, filling water bottles and packing fruit while I wait.

I don’t have to wait long…

“What?! Oh! Nooooo!” come the Kenyan’s cries from outside.

Oh dear.

Kenyan: “I look…I look TERRIBLE! You did it again!”

Oh, crap.

Kenyan: “I’m never letting you cut my hair again!” Sob, sob, sob, sob.

Aw, shit.

I knew it. Terrible idea.

I hear B&B quietly coaxing the Kenyan, “You look great. It’s only hair. Think of how fast you’ll be. It’s not nearly as short as last time.”

Once the Kenyan commits to a feeling, he cannot be coaxed into un-feeling it. So, B&B has his work cut out for him. And so do I if I’m going to get him to track on time.

Kenyan: “No! NO! I shouldn’t have let you! I knew it! You’re never cutting my hair again! I’m not going anywhere! I look…I look WEIRD!” sob, sob, sob

I wait inside. Clearly, I’m tasked with supporting this ridiculous decision to shave the Kenyan’s head. To compound that, I will undoubtedly be recruited to step in for moral support. I’ll wait right here until the time is right.

B&B: “Kenyan, it’s only hair, this is absurd behavior, it’s time you man up…”

And, that’s my cue.

I step onto the patio,  “Hey, what’s all the fuss about out here?”

The Kenyan is the palest of our offspring. He is bright white in August, after spending the entire summer with his skin exposed to the strong summer sun. Shaving his hair down to his scalp, which hasn’t seen the light of day in a solid 5 years…well, it’s a dazzling effect to say the least. His head is glowing. Like a beacon in the ocean at night, he stands like a lighthouse, the glare of his almost bald head illuminating the way for ships in peril.

Except there are no ships in peril on our back patio. Just a 9 year old little boy, who is now running late for his first track meet, devastated about his new haircut.

And, yowza, I could cry too. It’s too short. By next week it will be just right. But, today, and for the next 6 days…too short. I’m careful to hide this from my face as he looks at me with tears running down his face. And I’m extra careful not to make eye contact with his father, whom I could murder.

I reach out and rub the peach fuzz for good luck.

Me: Smiling, “Buddy, it’s short, but that face is so handsome, you don’t even need hair!”

Nothing.

Me: “You look great!”

Nothing.

Me: “It’ll grow quickly.”

Nothing.

Me: “You’ll run faster!”

Nothing.

I break into an interpretive dance…to no music…just to make him laugh.

And…nothing.

B&B: “Kenyan, I appreciate your agreeing to this so last minute. So I will buy you the Lego set of your choice to reward your behavior.”

Something. A chink in his armor.

Kenyan: Hiccup, “A small set?” Hiccup, “or a big set?”

B&B: “Well, look at all of that hair on the ground! I’ve seen dogs with less hair. That much hair deserves a big Lego set.”

The chink breaks into a giant crack…quickly fracturing the anger and despair that’s shrouded him for the past 5 minutes.

When all else fails…bribery. Funny, the experts always leave that chapter out of their parenting books. It’s the cold, hard reality of getting things done with children. Bribery.  When I write my parenting book, that will be my title…Getting it done: The Art of Bribery.

The Kenyan is on board. B&B whisks him up to the bathroom to rinse the hair off his neck. I wait in the car, muttering a slew of curses at the time on the clock and at the current state of my child’s head.  And I know we’re out 100 big ones for the promised Lego set.

Jesus Christ Almighty and the donkey he rode in on.

tortoiseandhair

What a start to my Saturday.

B&B and the Kenyan emerge from the house. B&B, sensing my anger, race walking to the car. The Kenyan, who has not exhibited urgency a moment in his short life, lollygagging his way to the car.

B&B: “Good luck, Kenyan!” To me, “I’ll call you.”

I have many things to say, but none of them can be uttered in front of our child.

I peek in the rearview mirror at the Kenyan. Holy cow, his hair is short. Really, really short. I look at the clock…we have 17 minutes to arrive at our destination, which mapquest predicts is 34 minutes away. Goddamn it. B&B’s timing is as impeccable as his trimming skills.

I breathe deeply, but quietly, in an attempt to calm down. Futile. I need to start practicing yoga. I turn on the radio, hoping a song can lighten my mood.

“can be addicted to a certain kind of sadness. Like resignation to the end, always the end.” The Kenyan begins singing along. Somebody That I Used to Know is an enormous hit in our house.

I smile, listening to his singing. My mind wanders…

He has a great singing voice. And he is unabashed in his singing. I bet he makes Boy Choir just like Waldorf. Waldorf sang in the chorus of the Wizard of Oz last night. I was so proud of him, standing in front of the audience, singing with his friends. He had a ball! I wish I had gotten his hair cut before the show, but he still…

Oh. Dear. God.

I pull over immediately. Turn down the radio. Click on my hazards. Grab my phone and, with shaking hands, text B&B the words…

“Please DO NOT cut anyone else’s hair without my permission. Or, at the very least, until I get back home.”

He immediately texts back, “Wait….why?”

Good grief.

I reply, “Just don’t. Please.”

Put down my phone. Turn off the hazards. Turn up the radio. And continue driving.

Miraculously, we arrive at the venue a mere 2 minutes late.

Me: “OK, Kenyan, here we are! Your first competition. After 2 months of practice, you’re ready for this! I want you to remember what Coach told you. And do your best. And have fun!”

He nods his almost bald head, which I slather with sunscreen on this beautiful May morning.

Kenyan: “Let’s do it, Mommy.”

Love. I run for more reasons than I can count. The fact that the Kenyan loves to run…well, it gives me one of my biggest reasons to continue lacing up my sneakers.

The first parent we recognize from our group takes one look at the Kenyan and, before I have the chance to give her my warning eyes, asks him, “What happened to your head?!”

Oof.

Me: In a voice much higher than usual, “He’s aerodynamic! His Daddy cut it this morning, just in time for his race!”

The Kenyan rolls his eyes. But he smiles a little bit too. I direct him to join his teammates for his warmup laps.

While he jogs, I talk to a few other parents, warning them not to make a fuss over his new haircut.

We grab a spot by the fence and wait for our kids’ races. And wait. And wait. And wait. By my calculations, 90% of the females 10 years and under in the tri-state area compete in track. And every one of them showed up today. The Kenyan splits his time equally between asking me “how many more girls are going to run?” and scraping deep enough into a pine tree that his hands are sticky with sap.  He’s on the cusp of rigging a spout to tap the syrup…and smelling suspiciously of Christmas…when his race is called.

Me: Clapping, “Woohoo! Kenyan! Get to it, big guy!”

The first heat runs. He’s not in that group. The second heat runs. He’s not in that group. The third heat runs. This is his group. I even took video…

I lean against the fence, asking the Dad of a fellow teammate…the same Dad I had just blasphemed to, “How long do you think until he runs? I thought he was in the 3rd heat.”

As I’m asking, the pale little boy who’s crossed the finish line waves at me and smiles. What a friendly kid, he must recognize me from practice. I raise my arm to return the wave and realize that this pale child is indeed the same one I gave birth to 9 years ago.

Mother of the year.

Me: Whispering to the parents around me, “Holy shit, it WAS his race! I stopped recording! His first race ever, and I didn’t even see him cross the finish line! Goddamn that haircut, I didn’t even recognize my own child!”

I clap and yell, “Great job, Kenyan!”

I grab the arm of the man next to me. I ask, “Who won? The boy in the white shirt?”

He nods his head, “Yes, the pale kid won first place.”

Mother humper. I will KILL B&B.

The Kenyan won. HE WON HIS FIRST RACE!!! Our little boy won his first race ever, and I didn’t even recognize him. Because of this stupid haircut.

I clap again, yelling, “First place, Kenyan! Way to go, buddy!!” He smiles, and gives me a thumbs up.

I text B&B immediately, “The Kenyan placed first in his heat!”

He replies, “Yes!!!! Tell him it was the haircut!”

I shake my head. Figures B&B would credit the stupid haircut.

I look up to see my son heading my way. The shorts of his track uniform are shorter than he’s accustomed to wearing. Behind the safety of my sunglasses, I’m able to drink in every inch of him as he approaches. When did he get so tall? And his legs, have they always been so strong and sinewy?

I want to jump up and down, cheering like a fool, but I won’t make a scene for fear it will embarrass him. Instead, I smile, open my arms, and he rushes into them. With one arm around me and the other clutching his blue ribbon, he buries his head against me.

Kenyan: “That. Was. Awesome.”

So are you, my love.

Me: “First place, Kenyan. FIRST PLACE! I’m so happy for you! You’ve worked hard all season, and you earned that ribbon. I’m so proud of you!”

Kenyan: “It was really close. That other guy almost beat me.”

I smile and nod, implying that I’d actually seen him finish. Bad Mommy.

Kenyan: “You know why I won?”

Hard work? Determination? Improved stride? Months of practice?

Me: Smiling, “Why?”

He reaches up and rubs his head. “It was the new haircut. I didn’t have all that hair slowing me down.” He looks down off into the distance, smiling, “Daddy was right. This haircut helped me run faster.”

First place…because of that haircut?!

The haircut that made him cry?

The haircut that cost us the price of a big Lego set?

The haircut that contributed to my blowing the speed limit to get here on time?

The haircut that elevated my blood pressure before 7:30AM?

Me: “That Daddy. He sure knows what he’s doing.”

I look at my boy…clutching his first place ribbon in one hand, absentmindedly rubbing his buzzed head with his other hand. Smiling as he mentally places his Daddy high up on the pedestal where he belongs.

All parents should be so lucky to be such giants in the eyes of their children.

Life is good. The Kenyan won his first race. My blood pressure is down. And the haircut debacle has resolved itself brilliantly.

I will be purchasing sunscreen in bulk for the next few months though. To keep that beacon the pearly white it belongs.

Costco, here I come…

 

 

Little Boy Blue. Navy Blue.

This is the tale I swore I’d never tell. The story I promised I’d take to the grave. But…it…just…keeps…begging…to…be…told. Like a bad case of poison ivy demanding to be scratched. This is why I absolutely must tell it. And huge props go to my Waldorf, who is allowing me to tell it.

Extra dessert tonight, big guy

My Waldorf is such a private young man. We’ve had some serious talks with him in recent months. Dispelling myths about a certain heavyset individual who dresses in a red suit and squeezes down chimneys bearing gifts. That was a big shocker for Waldorf. He slapped his little forehead and exclaimed, “My God, I’ve been such a fool!” Even more recently we’ve discussed S-E-X and how babies are made. The look of horror on that poor child’s face is burned on my brain. His reply to that talk was absolutely priceless. But I will omit it from this very public blog. There is only so much therapy we’ll be in a position to afford. And it will need to be spread among 4 individuals.  But we recognized it was time to have these chats with Waldorf. Because, in addition to being private, Waldorf does not like to be the last one to learn anything. His friends are discussing the obese gentleman with the white beard and S-E-X (although hopefully not in the same conversation). So, we wanted to clarify a few things for him, open up the lines of communication. And avoid his feeling like a fool if everyone knows something he does not know.

So, Waldorf is private. And he sings. And he has a nice singing voice. Allegedly. I say allegedly because I haven’t heard him sing in years. I probably haven’t heard him sing in 2 or 3 kids. And it’s not because I’m not listening. It’s because Waldorf is so private that he will not sing when there are blood relatives within a 50 foot radius.

Waldorf and his set of pipes are in the boy choir at his school. I am told by parents, faculty, and the choir director himself that this is a coveted position. Boy choir has mandatory tryouts and is by invitation only. Last spring, Waldorf had to audition. Waldorf was irritated that he had to audition. Nevertheless, Waldorf auditioned well.  He scored a spot.

Me: “Waldorf!! I received an email from school with wonderful news! You made boy choir?! That’s fabulous, sweetheart! Daddy and I are so proud of you!”

Waldorf: “Oh. Yeah. That. I’m not doing it.”

Oh, we’ll see about that…

Me: “Well, let’s talk about it later when Daddy gets home.”

What to bribe him with…chocolate raspberry flan? He loves that dessert. Yes. Chocolate raspberry flan. I’ll start crushing the Oreos now.

Waldorf: “There’s nothing to talk about. I am telling you I’m not doing it.”

Shit. I need more than the flan. Goddamn this kid and his negotiations. He is going to be fit for a muzzle when he’s a teenager.

Me: “Let’s not close the door on any opportunities so quickly. Let’s look at the information, discuss the pros and cons, then we’ll all weigh in. The final decision is yours though.”

Well played. That last little bit about the decision being his? Stroke of genius if I do say so myself…

Waldorf: “Yes. And I’ve made my decision. My decision is that I’m not going to do boy choir. Ever.”

Me: Kissing his forehead, “We’ll talk about it later, sweetheart. Go ahead and get your homework started.”

Relentless, closed-minded little shit.

We eventually, very calmly, reach a nice compromise about boy choir. In exchange for giving boy choir a try, Waldorf chooses a brand new DS game he feels he can’t live without, and we buy it for him. And we agree to let him play it once a week during the school year. This is a coup in our house. We had remained an electronics free household during the week up until this point. But he’s a tough negotiator. We bribed him. And he thinks he played us. But it remains a win-win in our minds.

This school year rolls around, and he’s on board with boy choir. Begrudgingly at first. But the eye rolling eventually wears off by October. He refuses to sing for us or around us, but he no longer complains.

One of the requirements of participating in boy choir is performing a winter concert in an historic church in late December. The boys need to wear gray slacks, white shirts, school ties, dress shoes, and navy blazers. In early December, Waldorf had none of the above items in his closet. So I go out in search of the required winter concert boy choir uniform.  I land the gray slacks, white shirt, school tie and dress shoes fairly easily.The navy blazer is a slightly more difficult find.

Because I refuse to buy something unless it’s on sale. This is a trait I’ve inherited from my Mom. I refuse to pay full price for anything except for Jiff peanut butter and Bounty paper towels.

I don’t screw around when it comes to peanut butter. Or paper towels.

littleboyblue

The sale blazer I finally track down has navy buttons on it. Awesome. Except, I prefer gold buttons on a navy blazer. Another trait I’ve inherited from Mom is the inability to sew. Or maybe it’s a complete lack of interest in learning to sew. Regardless, I’ve never sewn a goddamn thing in my life. Now, I know I can take the blazer to the cleaners and have them do the buttons for me. But no. I’ve decided it’s time to begin my sewing career. This is my first born child. This is his first navy blazer. For his first boy choir concert. I will sew these gold buttons onto this blazer for this child for this concert. Mom finds a (much too large for Waldorf) men’s navy blazer for $1 at a thrift store. And it has gold buttons. I will remove those buttons and sew them onto Waldorf’s blazer.

It takes me 3 hours to sew 4 buttons on his right cuff. And they are crooked. I suck. B&B laughs and points at me.

B&B: “Were you drinking when you did that?”

Me: “F you. I was not. This was a labor of love for me. I am proud of my work. Waldorf fidgets a lot, no one will notice the buttons on his cuff are crooked.”

B&B: “Sure they won’t. How far away does the audience sit? Maybe we’ll be lucky and he stands in the back row.”

Dammit, I know he’s right. I choke the words out.

Me: “You are right. This is not my wheelhouse.”

But I have to finish what I’ve started.

Well, maybe I’ll finish what I’ve started tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow.

Tomorrow rolls around, and we parents have to be at school to watch our 4th grade sons’ homemade volcanoes erupt. Totally awesome day. I have one hour between the volcanic eruption and the class party to commemorate the volcanic eruption. I could sew buttons in my car. Or I could browse the school’s consignment shop for some slightly worn, bargain-priced, much needed pants for the Kenyan, who continues to come home with holes in the knees of his pants.

Tomorrow. I’ll do the buttons tomorrow.

I walk into the store. Walk over to the boys’ section. And there, on the rack, it hangs.

A navy blue blazer. With gold buttons. With the original tags still attached. Mint in the box.

Shut up right now. Will you look at my good luck? Tell me it’s a size 10…

I flip the tag, my hands shaking in anticipation…

Size 10

Me: “HA HA!!! HA HA!!! YES! GOLD BUTTONS!!!!!!!! WOOHOOO!!!”

Naturally, I accompany this outburst with a dance, which I abruptly stop once I remember that I am indeed shopping without a companion.

I wonder how much it costs…

Hands still shaking, I flip the tag once again…

$10

Mother of all that is good and pure…

Me: “A HA HA HA HA HA!!! YES!!!! YES!!! YES!!! SOLD!!! HA HA HA HA!!! AND HA!”

Clearly, I’m a dancing fool at this point. I’m able to retire my sewing needle. Waldorf will look so handsome in his pristine navy blazer with ruler straight gold buttons. And, shut UP with the $10.

Mom will be so proud

The day of the concert rolls around. We attend as a family. This means we sit in the back with 3 of our 4 kids and shell out snacks, DS’s, the iPad…and threats.

Me: Whispering to B&B, “They sound amazing, don’t they? And look at Waldorf!! He’s getting so BIG! And so handsome! I’m so proud of him! He’s singing! I see his mouth moving! Our oldest son is actually singing in front of all of these people!”

It’s difficult to relax and really enjoy the concert when the Interrogator and the Verb are in attendance. The Kenyan is easy.  The other two? It’s anybody’s guess whether one or both of them will embarrass themselves and us. But they knock it out of the park. Great behavior. No meltdowns. Minimal crumbs. A lucky afternoon indeed.

The following day, boy choir has an evening performance. B&B and I both want to go. We have a thumb war, which I win. One on one time with any of our kids is extremely rare. So I am thrilled.

Me: “Waldorf, I’m so excited for tonight’s performance! I can sit up front and really enjoy it!”

Waldorf: “Can we get ice cream afterwards?”

Always negotiating for the dessert..

Me: “That sounds like a great idea!”

Waldorf: “Can I play my DS on the way to the concert?”

Or the electronics…Jesus, Mary and Joseph…

Me: “Don’t push your luck, honey. Oh, before I forget, most of the boys had the top buttons of their blazers buttoned at yesterday’s concert. When we get out of the car, let’s do that for you too. It looks really nice.”

We arrive. Skate across the ice on our way into the church. Button his top blazer button, and I land my seat. Right in the front row.

Now this is what I’m talking about..

It’s a freezing cold night. Most of my holiday shopping is complete. I am sitting, showered and childless (a rare combo), among friends in a beautiful old church. I am wearing winter white slacks that are not too tight (holla!) and the chances are very slim that I will end the night with a small boy’s chocolate handprints on them. I am waiting for my oldest son to stand in front of this crowd and sing with his classmates and friends. And, he thinks it’s cool. And he is proud of himself. And I couldn’t be more proud of my first baby boy.

This is a moment. One of those moments of pure happiness. Remember it, Bethany.

The boys come into the church and assemble a stone’s throw from my seat. Waldorf is right up front. They begin singing.

OMG, it’s so beautiful. Don’t cry, don’t cry, DO NOT CRY, Bethany. Do NOT embarrass him like that.

Fa la la la la la la la la…

I am so proud of him. God, he looks so much like B&B. I am so glad we got his hair cut the other day. It looks so nice when it’s freshly cut. OK, I’m not crying, that’s good. Good job. Stay the course. No tears.

Fa la la la la la la la la…

I hope his shoes aren’t too tight. They fit him 2 weeks ago, but his feet are growing so quickly. He needs new sneakers every 3 weeks. Luckily he’s wearing the thin socks. I wonder if he’ll need deodorant soon. Some of his friends are wearing it. I bet the Kenyan will be ready for it before Waldorf. The Kenyan was such a clammy baby. Oh….OMG! Mom sang this song!! The year Waldorf was born! He was just a baby! I LOVE this song! Ah, think of something else, don’t cry, DON’T cry, DO NOT CRY!

Fa la la la la la la la la…

I am breathing deeply…

OK, keep it together! For the love of God, woman, keep it together. Good job remembering to tell him about the top button. It looks so polished. Every one of the boys has his top button buttoned.

Fa la la la la la la la la…

Hmmm. That’s weird….

Fa la la la la la la la la…

Waldorf’s blazer is twisted up a little in the front. How did he manage that?

Fa la la la la la la la la…

Now I can’t stop looking at his blazer. How did he twist it like that? It’s as though he buttoned it backwards…wtf?

Fa la la la la la la la la…

Oh dear God. Sweet Jesus Almighty, say it isn’t so.

Fa la la la la la la la la…

I am a horrible Mother. I am the worst kind of Mother. I should have my children taken away from me for this act of horror against my child.

My first born son, a painfully private child, is standing in front of 100 people, singing unabashedly, looking unbelievably handsome.

WEARING A GIRLS NAVY BLUE BLAZER.

Size 10. Never before worn. $10. Girls blazer.

I bought him a goddamn girls’ blazer. Jesus Christ Algoddammighty.

I must confess I spend the rest of the concert alternating between hoping no one else noticed (for Waldorf’s sake) and trying not to pee my pants laughing (also for Waldorf’s sake).

After the longest (yet beautifully melodic) hour of my life ends, they sing their final song. The audience stands and applauds heartily. Speeches are made, flowers are presented, and the boys are dismissed. I cover and contain Waldorf in his coat as though I am Spiderman catching a villain in his web.

Waldorf: “Whoa! I can put my coat on myself! You don’t have to be so rough, Mom!”

Me: “Sorry, sweetheart, it’s just so cold outside. I…I don’t want you to get cold.”

We get our ice cream. Waldorf chats happily. We finally arrive home. He gets ready to go to bed.

Me: “Waldorf, I am so proud of you. Boy choir was not something you wanted to do. We made a deal and you gave it a chance. You’ve worked hard and remained open-minded. Daddy and I could ask for nothing more. You are such a good boy. Be proud of yourself. I love you.”

Waldorf: “Boy choir is fine. Goodnight.”

Fine is like the greatest endorsement Waldorf is capable of giving. So this brings a smile to my face.

Me: “Goodnight.”

B&B is getting ready to walk Waldorf upstairs and tuck him in.

Me: “Can I talk to you for a minute?”

B&B: “Sure. How was it?”

Me: “It was amazing. They sounded wonderful. Even better than yesterday. I still can’t believe he stood up there and sang like that!”

B&B: “Yeah, me neither!”

Me: “Yeah, and you know what else?”

B&B: “What’s that?”

Me: Whispering, “Your son stood up there singing his heart out while he was wearing a fucking girls blazer.”

B&B: “SHUTUP.”

Me: “I kid you not. Girls. Navy. Blazer. Buttons on the wrong side. Completely my fault.”

*I do feel the need to embarrass myself further at this point by admitting that my summer job throughout high school and college was working in a fine clothing store. Men’s fine clothing. Whose owner dubbed my husband with his nickname Big&Black (after I’d described him as tall, dark and handsome). I shudder to think what type of abuse I’ll be taking from that crowd for the foreseeable future.

B&B is literally on the ground, laughing. Wheezing. Tears are rolling down his face. He’ll be there for awhile.

I grab a bottle of red wine and a glass, and I step over him. Walk downstairs into the family room, get comfortable on the sofa, and bust out my recently retired sewing kit. And his original navy blazer. I double check the buttons, just to be sure.

Yep, boys navy blazer.

I’ve got some work to do.

Maybe the wine will make me sew the buttons less crooked.

My moral of this story? Always finish what you start

Waldorf’s moral (which he insisted I include on this post)? There’s nothing wrong with blue buttons.

**My sweet Waldorf deserves a medal of courage for allowing his big mouth Mom to tell this story. I asked him, and he turned me down. A week later, he came to me with a proposition…

Waldorf: “So, I’ve been thinking about the..um..girls blazer thing.”

Me: “Uh huh.”

Waldorf: “And, I think you’re a good story teller.”

Me: “Thanks, buddy.”

Waldorf: “So, I think you can tell that story. If I can read it first.”

Me: “I would only allow you to read it first. And I would only post it if you are OK with it.”

Waldorf: “That’s not all. I think you might get money for writing someday. Because people like your stories.”

Me: “Well, that would be totally awesome, Waldorf. Completely and totally awesome.”

Waldorf: “So, if I let you write that girls blazer story , and you do get paid for writing someday, I think it’s only fair if you would….buy me a cell phone. Please.”

Me: “If I get published, a cell phone you shall have, Waldorf.”

And we shake on it.

My little negotiator.

So, for the record, there happens to be one individual who hopes I become a real author even more than I hope for it.