“So, what is the cool thing to do at school these days?” I asked Tommy.
He shrugged. “I don’t know. Eat, I guess.”
Um. What? Eat? Seriously?
Why did I ever think going to a restaurant with the kids was a good idea? I mean, striking up a conversation with an eight and a three-year-old isn’t the easiest thing. Not that Tom and I would chatter the entire time when we’d go out. Usually he’d get distracted by the television and I’d be prattling on, thinking he was listening, but then he’d shout, “YES!” when his team made a touchdown which would always startle me.
I decided to take the kids to Texas Roadhouse because I was craving the steak. How I love steak. I was working hard on getting my offspring to converse with me so it would help pass the time along.
“What’s your favorite subject at school?” I inquired.
“Mommy!” Natalie cut in. I looked over and she stuck her straw up her nose. It’s something she would have never done if Tom were with us.
“Take that out. It’s disgusting,” I ordered.
Natalie listened but then she took the cinnamon butter and stuck her tongue all over it. Excuse me, I was EATING that.
“I like science,” Tommy answered. He was working hard on coloring his picture that the waitress had given him. I noticed in the corner he had written the word BORED. Well, excuse me.
“Hey Mommy?” Tommy said.
I leaned forward. He was TALKING to me. He wanted to CONVERSE.
“Yes?” I tried not to sound too hopeful. Sounding too hopeful might make him snap back into one word sullen responses. I bit into a roll—how I love the rolls—and sipped my sweet tea.
“My friend at school told me something,” Tommy began. He looked nervous and my heart dropped. Oh my God, what if his friend told him about crack? Can that start this young? Third graders whispering back and forth about drugs?
“What is it?” I placed my hand over Tommy’s. I noticed his nails were all bitten down. He takes after his mother.
“He said,” Tommy swallowed. “He said that cock was another word for penis.”
I nearly spit out the tea I had just taken a drink of. Did I hear that right? Did my precious son say the c-word at me?
And should I lie and say that no, his friend was misinformed, that cock was an inappropriate name for a chicken?
But then what if we’re out and he sees a chicken and he’s all, “A cock!”
Why wasn’t Tom here? Why did I have to go through all of these embarrassing questions on my own? And why did Tommy always ask about the male appendage in restaurants? Last year we were at Chilis and he bluntly asked where Max’s penis was—right as the waitress cane by. I was mortified. At least the waitress at Texas Roadhouse didn’t hear this.
“That word isn’t appropriate,” I finally said. “It’s an inappropriate word for…” I lowered my voice, “penis.”
Please don’t let Tommy continue to prod about this. Please....
“Here, have the last roll,” I said, shoving the basket in his face. “What do you think about these rolls?”
Tommy picked it up. “Good.”
Oh. Lovely. Now he was back to sullen responses.
“Natalie,” I said, focusing on her. She had cinnamon butter on her nose. “So what’s going on with you?”
“I like butter and I like flowers,” she responded.
So okay. Not exactly stimulating but at least she hadn’t uttered an inappropriate word.
And, she actually seemed interested to let me know that she was a fan of butter and flowers.
I will take it.