I often feel like I’m on an island, surrounded by penises. The island part appeals to me because I dig a nice beach. Unfortunately, there is no island. I’m simply surrounded by penises.
“Verb, stay there while I talk to Mommy.”
I approach his teacher with caution, “Oh uh. What did he do?”
She frowns, “He bit someone.”
“He bit someone.”
Oh, Jesus Christ.
His teacher graciously finds the silver lining, “The boy was fine, and the Verb was honest about it.”
Translation: Congratulations. Your kid is a biter, but not a liar.
Me: “Uh, yeah, but he bit someone.”
She throws me a bone, “I figured he was probably tired?”
Me: “He was exhausted. He was up too late last night because B&B was reading to him past his bedtime. Then he and the Interrogator were carrying on in their beds. Then I moved him into our bed. Then I carried him to his bed when I went to sleep. Then he came wandering into our room at 4:30AM. So, yes, he was tired. I’m sorry, I should have warned you this morning.”
She laughs, “Well, tell B&B it’s his fault that the Verb bit someone.”
Yes, of course it’s his fault. I’m glad she sees it too. How dare he keep our child awake reading to him.
Teacher, “He should make an I’m sorry card for the boy he bit.”
Me: “Absolutely. Who was it?”
She reveals his identity.
His parents are really nice. And he’s not the youngest of 4, so they’re not used to these shenanigans. Son of a bitch.
Teacher, “And the principal will probably call you about it tomorrow.”
Teacher shaking hands with the Verb: “OK, Verb, thank you for being honest about what you did today. Don’t forget to make your card for your friend, and tomorrow is a new day!”
I gather my flock, and we migrate to the playground. The Verb extracts his dessert from his lunch bag and sits next to me on the bench.
I turn to him, “DUDE?!”
Verb: “Yes, Mom?”
Me: “Does Daddy bite Mommy?”
Me: “Does Mommy bite Daddy?”
Me: “Do we bite our friends?”
Me: “We do not bite people. Neither do you. You put food in your mouth, and nothing else. Understand?”
I kiss his sweaty head: “Now, go play.”
He runs off to join the Interrogator.
Wait until I tell B&B about this. This kid morphs into a beast if he doesn’t get enough sleep.
“Mrs. Meyer, can I have a ride home when you leave?”
I look up from the bench to see one of Waldorf’s friends. “Sure, hon. I’ll drive you home.”
There are 3 of them…Waldorf and two buddies. It’s a sticky day…unseasonably warm and humid…so I’ll drive both friends home if necessary.
I look at his other friend: “I’ll drop you off at home too.”
Me: “Guys, come here a minute.”
The three of them gather around me.
“The Verb bit someone in school today.”
Six eyeballs grow wide.
Me, nodding, “And he may bring it up when we’re in the car. So I want you guys to reinforce to him that we do not bite people. We use our teeth for chewing food.”
Waldorf: “And gum.”
Waldorf’s buddy: “And spitting.”
Waldorf’s other buddy, “And sometimes for whistling.”
Jesus Christ Almighty.
Me: “Well, yeah, but let’s just stress that we don’t use our teeth for biting. OK?”
“Hey, Mrs. Meyer, where did he bite the other kid?”
Me, matter-of-factly: “On the butt.”
They’re gone. Immediately on the ground. Grabbing their guts. High fiving. Kicking their feet.
It’s a chorus of voices: “The butt?! He bit somebody’s butt?! That is AWESOME! That’s HILARIOUS! Wow, I thought the Verb was cool before…but now? The Verb is the MAN!”
Me: “Get it all out now, gentlemen. I expect you to keep straight faces in the car. Otherwise, you’ll both be pounding pavement.”
“Sure, Mrs. Meyer…sure…bit his butt?! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!”
The boys spend the next 45 minutes playing tag, climbing trees, scaling sliding boards and jumping from the swings. We manage to drop both of Waldorf’s friends off before the subject of biting arises in the car.
Interrogator: “I didn’t wike my job today.” (Wike=like. The Interrogator struggles with his L sounds.)
Me: “Oh? What was your job?”
Interrogator: “Sponge duty.”
Me: “What do you do when you have sponge duty?”
Interrogator: “You kween up (clean up) people’s messes. I didn’t wike it.”
Oh, I feel you, Interrogator.
Me: “Verb, what was your job?”
Verb: “Not to hit. Or bite. Or call anyone ‘poopypants’.”
Me: “Did you call someone poopypants too?!”
Verb: “No! My job was NOT to call anyone ‘poopypants’.”
Interrogator: “That’s a potty word.”
Verb: “I KNOW! That’s why it’s my job not to say it. Unless I’m in the bathroom. Then I can say poopypants poopypants poopypants!”
Interrogator: “MOOOOOOOOMMMMMMM! Verb said poopypants 3 times!”
Me: “I heard. Stop with the poopypants, both of you, please.”
Waldorf, unsolicited: “Verb, you know, you shouldn’t bite anyone.”
Interrogator: “Huh? Verb, did you bite someone?”
Verb: “Mm hmm. On the butt.”
The Kenyan serenades us from the back seat, “ I’ve got a butt. He’s got a butt. She’s got a butt. We’ve all got butts.”
*Side note…This is a real song. Coincidentally we heard it the very morning of the biting incident. Perhaps the writer of the song bears some of the blame for the Verb’s poor behavior. Just sayin…
Interrogator: “Why would you do that?!”
Verb: “Um, I was tired.”
Interrogator: “But you don’t bite someone on the…”
Waldorf interrupts, “OK, enough, we know, Interrogator!”
The Interrogator yells at Waldorf: “You’re a PU TAO!”
In unison, we ask: “WHAT?”
Interrogator: “I said you’re a PU TAO!”
Waldorf: “Mommy, the Interrogator is calling me something in Chinese.”
Me: “Interrogator, what are you calling him?”
Interrogator: “A grape! Pu tao is grape in Chinese!”
Waldorf: “OK, I am NOT a grape. That’s just ridiculous.”
Waldorf: “Oh, God. Enough with the Chinese already!”
Verb: “Yes! I take Chinese too!”
Me: “Interrogator, what does Ping guo mean?”
The Interrogator couldn’t be more pleased with himself: “It means apple! In Chinese!”
Waldorf is less than amused: “Yes, we KNOW in Chinese!”
Interrogator, grows serious: “I’ll have to ask my teacher what the word is for ‘butt’ in Chinese. Since the Verb bit someone on his butt.”
Me: “Please refrain from doing that. We do not need to use potty words in Chinese class.”
Interrogator: “Well, he did, Mom. He bit someone’s butt.”
Kenyan continues serenading, “ I’ve got a butt. You’ve got a butt. He’s got a butt. We’ve all got butts.”
Me: “Enough butt talk. Enough.”
When we finally arrive home, I hide in the powder room and call B&B:
“So, your son bit someone today.”
B&B: “Oh, shit. Which son?”
B&B: “Is the other kid OK?”
B&B: “What happened?”
Me: “Well, he was up too late last night when you were reading to him, remember I told you?”
B&B: “Whoa, wait a minute. You’re not blaming me for this, are you?”
Me: “No. Of course not. Don’t be ridiculous.”
Me: “Anyway, he was overly tired and he made a bad choice.”
“Where did he bite the kid?”
Me: “On the butt.”
B&B erupts into laughter.
Me: “It’s not funny.”
B&B: “Come on, it is kinda funny.”
Me: “When it’s somebody else’s kid, it’s funny. Not when it’s our kid.”
I wait for him to stop laughing. And wait.
Me: “So now the principal will be calling us tomorrow.”
Me: “It’s protocol. The teachers need to report that stuff to cover their asses.”
B&B: “Cover their asses? They better cover their asses! Before the Verb takes a bite out of theirs too!”
Oh, and here is the Kenyan’s contribution.
So, here I sit. On my island. Surrounded by penises.
Minus the island.