Sunday, May 18, 2008

Breathing out of Two Nostrils

On Saturday, Tom volunteered to stand by a booth for Armed Forces Day. It was at the mall and he basically had to explain to people what security forces did and show weapons that they used. (Unarmed, obviously..)

I had told Tom that I'd meet him there at noon and we'd have lunch.

Of course on Saturday I had a bit of a cold so I wasn't feeling that great. And Tommy continued to count by tens. Loud.

"Ten, twenty, thirty, FORTY, FIFTY, SIXTY!"

"That's very good, Tommy," I said, over his shouting. "But how about you do that quietly?"

My head throbbed a little bit and I longed to be able to breathe from both nostrils again.

Tommy, who doesn't understand the meaning of quiet, continued to count in his booming voice. By the time we got to the mall I was this close to taking off running to a quiet place. Of course I didn't. Instead I opened up the stroller, plucked Natalie inside of it and informed Tommy to hold onto the stroller with me.

"Why?" he asked.

"Because I said so!" I barked. A phrase I had promised myself I would never use when I had children but a phase that I've been using quite a lot. Though I do try to explain myself more but on that day, I wasn't feeling that great and wished that it weren't illegal to muzzle children.

When we got inside, there was a band playing. It didn't help my head much.

There were tons of booths set up. As we walked by, this old lady stuck a paper poppy underneath my nose.

"Do you want one?" she asked.

I grabbed it, just to get it away from my face. "Sure. Thank you," I said and was about to walk on.

"For a DONATION!" she said in this haughty voice, practically jumping in front of the stroller. Holy crud, for an old dame she was agile.

"Oh," I said, genuinely surprised. I mean the booth didn't even mention donations. I pulled my purse from the storage in the stroller and dug through it to find my wallet. I really need to clean in there. I found it and thankfully I had a dollar left. Usually I rarely have cash in my wallet. I offered it to her and her face fell. She took my dollar as if it were diseased or something.

"The donation is for veterans," she said rudely.

"I'm sorry," I explained. "I do appreciate what everyone has done for this country but I honestly have no money left." I even opened my wallet and showed her in case she thought I was holding out a twenty on her.

The old lady actually peeked inside and scowled. "Havaniceday," she grumbled and grabbed another paper poppy off her counter. Then she leaped in front of the next unsuspecting mother.

"Do you want one!?" I heard her screech as I walked off.

We were stopped again by an anti-drug booth.

"Would you like to spin for a prize?" the lady asked, gesturing to a small wheel with drug pictures on it.

"Sure," I said.

I spun and it landed on marijuana.

"You got marijuana!" the lady said in a voice that sounded too cheerful to me. Could it be that she's had experience with it? Hrm….I for one, have never done drugs and I'm quite proud of that.

She pulled the marijuana card out and flipped it around. She asked me a question on what marijuana could do to a person and I had to answer. I suppose I answered right because she said I could pick a pencil or a tape measure.

"Er, the tape measure," I said.

She went into the back and pulled one out. I immediately handed it to Natalie, who inspected it seriously.

Then she looked at Tommy and said he could spin too.

"Yeah!" he said and spun the wheel.

His landed on meth.

"Ohhh, meth!" the lady said and pulled out the card.

"True or false," she asked Tommy. "Meth can make you very very sick."

Tommy knows that drugs are bad for him. Because he's so into learning about the human body, I have explained to him that he should never drink a lot of alcohol or take drugs because it could ruin his body.

"TRUE!" Tommy said, jumping up and down.

"That's RIGHT!" the lady said. "Now what prize do you want? We have a rocket, a--- "

"A ROCKET!" Tommy said, clapping his hands.

The lady handed him this Styrofoam rocket with the logo "Drugs don't fly with us!" on the side.

"Yay! Thanks!" Tommy said and immediately tossed the rocket into the air. It nearly took out my eye.

"Tommy. No throwing inside," I hissed.

Tommy gave me a look that clearly told me that I was an Uncool Mom.

We finally found Tom at his booth. He was just finishing up showing a kid how to use the M-16 I think it was? I dunno. In the back area they were putting camo paint on children.

"Do you want some paint on your face?" I asked Tommy.

Tommy's eyes widened. "No!" he screeched. "It feels funny!"

Ahh, there goes the sensory issues again.

Tom finished up with the kid and said he was free to go since his relief showed up.

"Do you want to see the guns, Tommy?" he asked his son, who was staring at them in horror.

"Guns are bad," Tommy whispered.

"Guns aren't bad. I use them for my job. They can help get rid of the bad people," Tom explained, taking hold of the M-16. "Here, you can hold it.." He offered it to Tommy, who backed up.

"Guns are bad," he repeated.

"Guns ARE bad, Tommy," I said. "But these guns help Daddy at work."

Tommy reluctantly stepped forward and took hold of the gun. He held it for all of two seconds before handed it back to Tom and rushing back behind my leg.

We went to get lunch a few minutes later. I really wanted my tea from Chick-fil-A but the line was stretched. Ugh. They need to have an Only Wanting Tea line, really. That's all I wanted.

We went to Sbarro instead. We just ordered a large cheese pizza because it ends up being cheaper than if we each ordered a combo meal.

Natalie actually sat in the high chair while we ate. Though she got impatient at the end and kept standing up and pointing at everyone.

"What is that?" she'd ask, pointing at a man walking by.

That's her newest thing: she's been saying "What is that?" or "What's that?"

"It's a man," I said, setting her back down. "We must sit, Natalie."

I'd take another bite of pizza and she'd be up again. "What is that?" she asked, pointing at a woman.

"It's a woman," I explained. "We must sit, Natalie."

Two minutes later, same thing.

"What is that?" she asked, pointing to the lights.

"Lights," I explained. "We must SIT, Natalie…"

I don't mind her asking the questions. Because as my long readers will remember, Tommy barely spoke a word until he was nearly four. He said a few things, but it was few and far between. He was never asking what things were at Natalie's age. So I am grateful.

We checked out Sears before we left. Tom got some screw things. I was bored out of my mind as we walked down the tool aisles.

Then we headed home. Before we went our separate ways (we each had our own vehicle) Tom was all, "I'm impressed that you didn't go into Gymboree!"

I explained that I was waiting for the Memorial Day sale, which begins on Thursday. It's an extra 20% off sale items. Plus you can use a 20% off coupon. (There's a 20% off coupon in the latest Parents.)

"Oh Amber," Tom said, shaking his head.

"What? The government gave us money to spend. I don't want to disappoint the government." I smiled sweetly at him.

"Eventually," Tom said, putting his beret on, (Since he was in uniform.) "That excuse is not going to work anymore."

Really? Damn.


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