Thursday, May 16, 2013

Bad bus behavior and true love

"Mom, I'm very discerning about cake and quinoa.  I don't really like that cake."  I wish I could say the same.  I've eaten half of it.  He said he wanted a tombstone cake, but apparently this wasn't the right shape of tombstone.  It does kind of look like a fire hydrant.  JP got kicked off of the school bus for 3 days this week because he got out of his seat.  The bus driver, our beloved Clarence, told him to sit down.  He didn't listen.  Clarence had to pull the bus over to sort it out.  This is the Clarence who picks Jack Peter up at the door of the house and drops him off at aftercare for us.  He's added an extra 8 hours to my week by doing that.  For the first 2 weeks of the year I had to bustle the girls and Jack Peter out to the bus stop down the street and wait for 10 minutes.  I would have had to leave the studio 2 hours early to meet him on the back end.  After that initial 2 weeks Clarence knows he's no longer being followed by his higher-ups.  He, then, tailors his route to accommodate kids and their families.  

Crossing Clarence called for drastic measures:  we cancelled Jack Peter's bounce house, bacon, beer birthday bash.  (The beer was for the parents.)  It's his relentless optimism that really got him in trouble.  When asked why he didn't mind Clarence, he responded, "I didn't think he could see me!"  When we told him that we'd be taking 12 hours out of our week to get him to school and back for 3 days and that we were pissed about it, Jack Peter said, "I get to go in CAR LINE!  Rosie (his girlfriend) is in car line!"  When we told him we were canceling his birthday party, he initially didn't believe it.  He wept and moped for a couple of days.  His last comment about the subject was, "When I turn 8, my party is going to be HUGE!!!"  I guess I'll be sending out "save the date" cards in January; it's going to be a RAGER!

I wonder where Jack Peter gets that insane optimism.  I've had a rough 3 years.  I've essentially had an unsuccessful pregnancy every 6 months.  I stopped telling my mom about the pregnancies when we learned that Dick was sick.  I figured she didn't need anymore bad news or anything else to worry about.  Tim was gone last week, and she came to help.  She not only did a ton of kid stuff: picking them up, cooking, cleaning, homework, but also, she came to the studio and did annoying chores for me there.  She was waxing the bottoms of pots, and I was glazing, and I told her about my attempts to have a #4.  Her first reaction was a quiet, "That must have been so hard."  Not 5 minutes had gone by before she said, "Imagine how much you've saved on birth control!!!!"  I've been wondering about my lack of trauma when each pregnancy would end.  I'd be sad for a bit, and then I'd think, "Yay!  I'm going to have a DRINK tonight!"  It's as if we are chemically unable to achieve angst. I've started to refer to my uterus as "Babyschwitz."  That can't be OK...

Jack Peter was allowed back on the bus this morning.  By the time I'd arrived at the studio at 8:45, I had an e-mail from the school administrator telling me to call.  Jack Peter and Theodore had decided to play catch with their lunch boxes on the bus.  Tomorrow we have a conference with his teacher about Jack Peter's behavior in the classroom.  Why can't we have one of those kids who's crappy at home and great at school?  Oh yeah, we do...Steel.

Steel has actually calmed down at home, and she is a peach at school.  She's also in love.  It's a strong word, but it's really been quite a romance.  Jack Peter is friends with a twin duo, Owen and Cole.  Their mom, Deena, is my first Green Woods Charter School mom friend.  It started in the winter with a play date.  She followed up with an e-mail:

I remembered your saying something about the lunches you pack Jack Peter.... See if you can top this in the "why is my mom so weird" category:
today's menu:
home-made guacamole
organic corn chips 
cherry tomatoes
home-made corn bread
dried pomegranite
what's in your wallet?  any novel lunch ideas?  in like your "spare time" :)
hope your night is going better than mine...

My response:

Geez, i cant imagine having trouble with lunch.  we just give him an almond milk, kale, mango, blueberry smoothie every day!
ummmm...Jack peter has 2 lambchops, shelled edamame and grapes today.  I'd say we're on the same rung of Dante's inferno...
One of his stand-by lunches is black beans with melted cheese in thermos and tortilla chips to scoop them; I always squeeze lemon and a WEE bit of sugar on cut apples.  Miso soup used to be a good one: tofu, seaweed n miso-super easy.  Lentil soup from trader joes got rave reviews, Clam chowder, Pork, soyaki and mayo on ritz with cucumber on top.  He got teased for that.  Pork mush looked weird.  I do the same with tuna, but no soyaki, and usually olives in that one.  I often put salt and olive oil on halved grape tomatoes.  Steel used to like baked potatoes.  Quinoa pasta although I don't really see the quinoa benefit-no more protein than normal pasta; I can't get them to eat quinoa, but we like quinoa tabouli-almonds, carrots, scallions, a touch if cumin and agave, with chicken and either mint or cilantro.  BACON...Ants on a log?  (Celery p-butter, raisins)
Should I write a cookbook?  Yesterday a woman who just wrote a book on kids bento lunches was on NPR.  She cuts apples into pokeman characters.

your message was hilarious.. thanks for a few good belly laughs.pokeman shaped apples slices- too funny- and I am so "not that mom "

Oh I forgot, sometimes I just fill his little thermos with melted butter and throw a lobster in the bag.

If she and I had met in college, we'd have been talking about homo-erotic behavior of football players at frat parties or Is there major difference in sex with an uncircumcised guy versus a circumcised one? or Is that visiting professor hot or a dork?  Now an in-depth discussion of Craisins is the road to mom BFFs.  

Shortly after our first meeting, Deena and her husband were going to her 21st Who concert in Atlantic City, and the sitter fell through.  (I'm still having trouble with the Who thing. I had to see the faces of the Who every morning for a year as my first boarding school roommate had a poster of them on our wall.  They are not good-looking guys.)  I invited the boys to spend the night.  They met me at my house, and we walked to pick up my kids.  The first stop was the girls.  Steel and Toby popped out of the fray, and Steel met Owen face to face.  She gets very close to people when she first meets them.  Their faces were about 5 inches apart.  She gave him her usual, quizzical stare, and his body jolted like he'd had a little shock.  Steel and Owen got into the double stroller together while Cole and Toby walked to get JP.  They stayed like that until we got home.  

I always worry that Jack Peter and his boy friends will leave out the girls and be mean.  I kept Toby with me cooking dinner, figuring Steel could hold her own.  I called them all for dinner telling Owen and Cole that they could each sit next to JP.  Owen looked at me and said, "I want to sit next to Steel!"  "OK" I said.  "Who will take the pink cup?"  Owen said, "I want it!"  Even my girls won't take the pink cup.  (Steel had her super-bright pink hair at the time.  I attribute Owen's sudden, aggressive love of pink to that.)  Steel and Owen cuddled throughout the entire movie that followed dinner.  I got everyone to bed with Owen and Cole on the air mattress, and my kids in their beds.  When I went to check them an hour and a half later, Owen and Steel were asleep together in her bed.  We've seen them a few times since; I've heard about some closet kisses, but I've not seen the strange intensity of that first night and morning.   Recently, Steel, Toby, and I picked up JP at Owen and Cole's birthday party, and I did notice that Owen didn't even greet her, and my heart broke a little bit.  She said, confidently, "He didn't see me."

On mommy day this week, Steel spent a fair bit of time writing a note to Owen.  She had to ask me how to spell a lot of it, but I wasn't allowed to see the final thing as she had made an envelope for it.  Of course I peeked before I gave it to Deena Tuesday morning at school.  (One nice thing about the bus hiatus is that I've actually gotten to see how the school rolls , and I got to see Deena and meet a couple more moms)  

Owen, I just wanted you to know that I love you.  Steel  

Deena vowed to give it to Owen on his own, so he could digest it without getting ribbed by his dad or by Cole.  My heart leapt this morning when I saw what I thought was Owen's response written on a file card.

Steel, I love you.  Owen

I texted a picture to Deena, and she said, "What?  I haven't had a moment to give Steel's note to Owen!"  We spent the day hypothesizing.  All of our theories were proved wrong.  Owen wrote the note to Steel on Tuesday and had Jack Peter deliver it without knowing that Steel had just written him.  It's uncanny.  They haven't seen each other for over a month.  Owen went into his room on his own to read the note.  He came out beaming and told Deena she could read it.  She did.  He said, "Can you read it out loud; I want to make sure I got it all."  After reading it, Deena gushed, "Owen, it's so great that you're friends and you love each other!"  His solemn response, "Mom, it's a bit more than that!"  

At least I'll get along with one set of in-laws....