Calvin and I are walking down the street. We are headed toward his speech therapist’s office. It was about 5 o’clock and there was a lot of traffic. I instinctively moved Calvin to the inside of the sidewalk so I would walk closest to the passing cars.
Calvin: “Why did you push me over Mommy?”
Me: “Well, if a car jumps the curb, I want it to hit me, not you.”
Calvin: “No! You might die!”
Me: “That’s right, which is why you need to be over there and I need to be over here.”
Calvin: “But if you die, who will take care of my brothers? I need to die. My brothers need a mommy.”
Where does that come from? Calvin and his beautiful brain.
Target, the parking lot. Me and my troops.
“OK,” I say generously, evenly, not betraying my entire lack of confidence in what I’m about to say. “We are going inside Target. We are going to do this fast. I have a headache. We are late. You have been awful for the last hour and it ends now or no movie, no pizza, no fun. We will leave. Understand?”
Three heads bob in affirmation from the backseat.
“OK, hit it.”
We are out of the car and walking with purpose. First stop: Alleve. I really do have a headache. While I am calculating cost per pill for the economy size, they start in. Sam has decided to push over all the pill boxes. Calvin decided to discipline him. I grab the largest box imaginable and escape to the pizze aisle. Cost to keep Calvin from corporally punishing Sam: $15.75.
Here things got weird. All three boys want a different four cheese pizza. Like the difference is nuanced and discernible to a boy who picks his nose. A small skirmish breaks out and Calvin says if we don’t get his pizza he’s not going to eat – ever. Jack says he must have rising crust because the other is flat like cardboard. Sam says he must have the thin smear of tomato sauce between the cheese topping and the crust just like in the picture or he’ll throw up. I can’t take it. All three pizzas go in. Cost to avert vomit: $18.00.
Off to dvds in spite of my threats. This is only because we are going to the Boyfriend Candidate’s house and if the kids don’t have something kid-like to do they will act like themselves and I can’t have that. All the moveis stink and we already have every other G/PG film out there. We end up with two B level movies. Why? Because they are fighting about it, playing two against one games. “We want the owl movie, and two against one. We win.” The older boys taunting the baby. I got both movies. Cost to avoid years of therapy for Sam: $45.
At this point, I want out. I need to get these belligerent, ill-behaved, disrespectful, spiteful angels over to the BC’s house where he’s likely to take one look at all of the chaos and reconsider his relationship with me. The evening has taken a turn for the crazy and it hasn’t started yet.
Going into Target I thought we’d do a quick driveby. $30 and done. Nope. Keeping the peace cost right under $100. A babysitter would have been a helluva lot cheaper. And I might have maintained my sanity.
Calvin at 7.
So Calvin says to me tonight, “Mom, you’re really clever, even though you’re old.”
He almost had me. It was so close. But he followed it up with this beauty:
“You have so many things in your head. I don’t have as many things in my head. Not yet. As you get old, you get more knowledge and it all fits in your head. So a person’s head always fits their knowledge.”
My Calvin with his unique and wonderful brain can come up with things that give me pause. How does it all fit in there? I don’t know. Our feet grow, but our heads don’t. Weird, right? You’d think if anything would grow it would be your head to accommodate the wealth of information, the daily memories being saved for later use, the sounds and textures and smells of a lifetime. It’s such a cool observation. Cool and twisted.