Monday, May 29, 2017

Mama. What a baby word.

Day 6 of my 500 word a day writing challenge. The instructions: tell a story through someone else’s eyes. I chose my six year old son.

I look at her.  "Mama."  What a baby word.  
Why are you calling me Mom now?  she asks.  She just doesn’t get it.  

I carefully explain.  When I’m outside, I’m going to call her Mom.  I don’t want the other kids to make fun of me.  “Mama” is for babies.  “Mama” is what Abhaya said when she talked about her mom, and some kids made fun of her.  I don’t want them to make fun of me.  So, she’s “mom” in front of my friends.  

But there’s “mama belly.” It’s definitely not “mom belly.”  Mama belly is the best.  Warm, soft, yummy.  I rub my head on mama belly.  I feel good.  Safe.  No ouchies when there’s mama belly. I don’t ever want to stop mama belly when I start it.  But Mama wants me to. And sometimes she won’t let me even do mama belly.

But back to mama and mom.  
But when we’re inside, I explain, I’ll call you Mama.  No one else will hear it.

She seems confused.

What about Dada?  Will he become “Dad” when he’s outside?

I think about it. No.  I don’t call him that much.  That doesn’t matter as much.  She nodded.

The thing is, I’m getting big.  I’m not a little kid anymore.  But I’m not a big kid yet.  Sometimes she’s Mom.  Sometimes she’ll be mama.  And sometimes I don’t know what she is, but I just miss her and want to do mama belly.  It’s like I just want to crawl inside her and snuggle up all nice and warm.  

Why do kids make fun of someone who says mama? she asks.  Does it matter what you call your parents?

They’ll make fun of me, mama. I say.  That’s the worst. It’s like kisses.

She looks confused.  What about kisses, she says?

Kids make fun of people who like kisses?


I shrug.

Who makes fun of kids who like kisses?  Ellis?  Aston?  Bennett?

Sigh.  Just Ellis. He says, Ewwwww!

Who cares what he says.  I mean, I bet most kids in your class like kisses.

That makes sense.  I mean, I like kisses.  So,  I say, If all the kids went up to Ellis and told him they like kisses, they’d win.

And that’s how it works.  I guess most kids do like kisses.

Maybe if they say something, you could just say, ‘Whatever.  I like kisses.’  Something like that, Mama says.

I imagine kids making fun of me and feel bad.  Then, I imagine Mama giving me kisses, and I feel good.  Much better.

She smiles.  What if I just smothered you in kisses and then called you my sweet baby boy and said, ‘I’m going to kiss your cheeky weekies.’  What about that?  

Mama gets very very silly.  

Nawwww!  I squeal.  She nuzzles my neck and cheek.  Cheeky weekies . . . And now she’s getting really silly, telling me all the super cute things she’s going to do in front of ALL of the kids.  She can’t be serious.  I have to check.

Are you serious?  I ask.

I’m cereal, she says.  And smiles.  Very cereal.

And that’s mama.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Mama, we added a special ingredient

It started when I saw my son and his friend tip up the top of the sandbox and look into it. K was perched on the edge while Phoenix looked on.  They were scooping sand but clearly not playing in the actual box itself.  When I arrived on the scene, they both gave me a look as though they had been caught in the act of doing something.

Hey guys, what are you doing?

Just getting sand out of the sandbox, my son said.  I appreciated how he kept his answers short, without enough information to incriminate.  

Where’s it going after that, I asked.

We’re making special mud, he explained.  K nodded enthusiastically, hopefully.  

Well . . . the thing is, I said, once the sand is out of the box, it won’t go back in.  I hesitated.  I was assessing how much harm a few bucketfuls of sand would do.  Really, not much.  At the same time, I didn’t want a pile of sand outside behind the shed.

Okay, just one more bucketful I said.  They nodded and got back to work.

Later that night, Phoenix told me more about the “special sand.”  We mixed sand and dirt, he said.  And . . . can I say a bathroom word?

We were in the bathroom, so it seemed appropriate. Sure, I said.

And pee.  He stopped and looked at my face.  K and I peed into it. He studied my face.

Ok, I said.  No big deal. And then I thought, kids will be kids.  Peeing into some mud seems pretty much like exactly the right thing kids should be doing.

At one point, Phoenix continued.  I accidentally touched K’s pee.  But it was my fault.  AND, I washed my hands right after.

Okay, I said.  But you know. K’s father, A, he might not be okay with this.  I’m just letting you know.

K’s father tended to be a bit more squeamish and had a different sense of propriety than I did.  He was bigger on nicer table manner, not as comfortable with bodily fluids, that sort of thing.  

I mean, I don’t think it’s a big deal . . . but just know he might.
I wasn’t trying to build a mean guy out of K’s father, but I also wanted Phoenix to know that not all parents would view this sort of thing kindly.  Perhaps it was why he very tentatively felt out the situation when telling me about the special ingredient.

But I felt good.  I felt that Phoenix had sussed out the situation, took a risk to tell me something, and the risk had paid off.  And this meant he might take future risks, share future scary things.  

After all, pee wasn’t the worst.  In fact, it was pretty funny.

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