Friday, November 24, 2006

On Target

I had no plans to partake in the biggest shopping day of the year. To me, a door buster sale = the fifth layer of Hell. No gracias. However, as Sam stormed out the door to open the bike shop, i.e. to open the gates to the fifth layer, he ranted about how ALL of Paolo's pajamas were too small, and the pajama drawer was an absolute disaster: a tsunami of too-small pjs. An absolute disgrace. So I did a little mind-reading and asked if he would like me to pick up some new pajamas. He said no, but I'm all about shutting him up. It's why our marriage is so solid.

I threw Paolo in the car and decided to go one store, just one. During the drive, I coached myself to face the crowds with infinite patience and courtesy. The second I entered the chosen store, I lost my resolve. It wasn't the crowds or the merchandise all over the floor, it was the checkout lines. The inside of the store looked like Broward County post-Wilma, with damp, disgruntled people lined up for bottled water, creamed corn, and tarp.

I hated to abort the mission so quickly, so I dragged Paolo next door to Target to see if it was equally as horrible. Thanks to the thirty-eight (or so) beeping registers, the greedy consumers were flying through checkout. Thank you, Jesus. I nabbed some pajamas on super-sale, and we hit the toy section. As usual, Paolo honed in on all of the toys that shriek music, flash lights and gyrate robotically - you know, all of the crap we refuse to allow into our house. He helped me pick out some trucks for his only female cousin. (What? You didn't think I was going to get her something from the pink aisle, did you? Dude, that aisle makes me twitch. Trust me, she'll love the trucks.) When we were almost to the front of the store, I realized that Paolo had not asked for a thing. He never does. He's content to play with the toys and then be on his way. It's not that we never let him get a toy when we're out. We do. He just doesn't expect it or demand it.

So I marched that lovely child of mine over to pick out a wooden race car for himself, and I picked one out too so we can race. Then we checked out with blinding speed and got the fifth-layer-of-Hell out of the shopping district and back home. Mission accomplished.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Mad Love

Love is...

the click and whirr of the VCR coming to life because my husband programmed it to record the Italy-Turkey friendly for me to watch tonight after work.

Mad love is...

setting the recording a half-hour before the game starts so I won't miss a note of the Italian national anthem.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Black as My Soul

I just want to state for the record that Paolo is not depressed, planning to fire-bomb his daycare, or currently worshipping the devil. I know, I know, he has dressed in black from head to toe every day this week, but it is not due to a fixation with The Cure or Johnny Cash, although either would be pretty cool. Strike that - that would be freaking awesome. Just imagine some innocent librarian commenting on his funereal look, to which he responds, "Ma'am, until this world turns back, I'm the man in black." Then again, do I really want my three-year-old to be able to out-cool me?

No, the real reason Paolo wears black is Darth Vader. (You probably saw that coming.) When Paolo turned three, we festooned the house with Star Wars decor, but omitted Darth Vader because he was too scary. A mere seven months later, Paolo gets all up in my face and breathes like an obscene phone call, "Hoooooooooh. Haaaaaaaaah. I'm Dark Vader!" And every morning I struggle in vain to interest Paolo in his other clothes, clothes that say, "Hey! I'm a fun-loving little boy," as opposed to "Repent! The kingdom of heaven is at hand."

Unfortunately, the tough personna is more than a little diminished by the white and blue striped pillowcase that tops every outfit. For reasons unknown, this Dark Sider doesn't wear the sparkly red cape his grandma made him specially so he would stop wearing pillowcases held together by chip clips - clips which, I might add, he loses at school nearly every day. So Paolo, one way or another, this Darth Vader business has got to stop. Our chips are getting stale.

Thursday, November 9, 2006

A red light saber is exactly what I wanted for my birthday

When I walked in the door after work last night, Sam and Paolo were at the kitchen table with a plate of three home-made, heavily frosted cupcakes, a lit candle in each. My present from Paolo was tied with the string of a helium-filled Spiderman balloon. My boys sang Happy Birthday to me without forgetting any of the words, which is an accomplishment for both of them. Then Paolo helped me blow out the candles before giving himself a chocolate-frosting facial. "Wait!," my internal voice shouted. "You forgot to make a wish." My mind went completely blank, and then one truth washed over me as I looked around the table. I have nothing left to wish for.

Monday, November 6, 2006

A Hot Wind Bloweth

Sunday morning the literates were perusing the newspaper, and the illiterate was amusing himself, occasionally reminding us that he hadn't snacked in five whole minutes. In between Beetle Bailey and Hagar the Horrible, Paolo walked over to me and announced, "Mama, I pooped in my pants." He said this with no urgency or distress; it was as casual an observation as noting it was still raining. The Sunday stillness went even stiller. Sam and I said in unison, "You did WHAT?" Wondering why he always has to repeat himself, Paolo said again, "I pooped in my pants." The stillness was broken. I began demanding his motives in an effort to uncover what had led to this tear in the fabric of our peaceful lives. Sam started in on how big boys poop on the potty, and only babies poop in their pants. Paolo is not too keen on being called a baby, so he was answering my questions, "Because" and "Because I just DID" while complaining that his daddy had called him a baby.

Since the living-room situation was deteriorating, I walked Paolo to the bathroom to commence the clean-up and dropped his drawers with every muscle in my body clenched. Only there was nothing there. Not a smear, not even a dusting. Nothing. "Um, Paolo, you didn't poop in your pants." "Yes, I did." "No, honey, look, you didn't." "But Mama, it was hot and and it had poo poo in it." Ahhh. I told Paolo to wait right there while I went and talked to his daddy. While I reported to Sam that his son doesn't know what a fart is, Paolo called from the bathroom, "Mama, are you telling Daddy I'm not a baby??"

Friday, November 3, 2006

Would you like fries with that?

Me to friend at work: So I picked Paolo up from school yesterday, and he tells me this OTHER little boy, not the evil one who I've already got my eye on, but another one told Paolo that he was NOT Sky Horse. He said that HE was Batman, but Paolo was not Sky Horse. Then he called Paolo a baby.

Friend at Work: Kids are so mean.

Me: I just don't know what to tell Paolo to say to these micro-jerks. Do you think it would be inappropriate to teach him, "I will cut you."

FW: "I will eat your soul."

Me: Winner.

Super Tiger Boy, now Apple-Scented

We had a plan. Are you laughing already? Go ahead. I'll wait.

So, we had a plan to take Paolo trick-or-treating on the downtown square. Sam was to fetch him from school and bring him to my office around 3:30. Instead, I got a frantic phone call from home; there were complications. Sam had walked into Paolo's classroom to find Paolo wearing just his costume head, frosting smeared around his mouth, with glazed and red-rimmed eyes from skipping his nap again. The teacher explained that Paolo had spilled a full cup of apple juice on his costume, so they'd taken it off and stuffed it in a plastic bag. Thank you, yes, that is just what you should have done. Because we won't need that later.

Sam threw the costume in the dryer, gave Paolo a snack to break up all the sugar in his system, and we got to the square 15 minutes before trick-or-treating ended, with a damp, smelly and cranky Super Tiger Boy. It was cold and windy, and the parents were marching their kids around like sheep, in a line snaking for blocks. That is the stupidest way to trick-or-treat I have ever witnessed. Why, oh, why this fixation with forming a line? We, however, are not raising a mindless follower. We are raising a rogue free-thinker who will CHOOSE when and where he begs for candy. I may be making too much of this.

Before every candy stop, we reminded Paolo to say "trick or treat" and "thank you," but he kept screwing it up. At the very last place giving out candy, though, he nailed it, and we were finally having fun. As we walked back to the car, Paolo happily chanted, "Trick or Treat," and I thought it seemed a shame to call an end to Halloween just when he'd figured it out. Then, a light clicked on in his head, and he began to sing, Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat. Nope, this is the perfect time to pack it in.

Still and all, it was a marked improvement over last Halloween for a number of reasons:
  1. Paolo didn't suffer from the delusion that any of his extremities had gone missing.
  2. We avoided Mall-o-ween, also known as The March of Lost Souls.
  3. Nobody threw up.