I decided to have some quality time with the kidlets this weekend. DAMMIT. It seems absurd to me that we would need to schedule such a thing, but sometimes if I don’t make a mental and calendar commitment to it (complete with a mild expletive), it doesn’t happen. So it was slated to go down this weekend, like it or not.
We started it off in classic sloth style with a pajama day on Saturday. We all slept late and never got dressed. Well, I take that back—I eventually showered and got dressed around dinnertime, because I wanted to walk out and get the mail, and after having spent the entire day holed up in the house I figured my overly-concerned neighbor might call DFACS if she saw me trudge out there in my jammies. But we laid around and watched TV and read books and played Wii and just hung out together. It was lovely.
Sunday, we reemerged to join society. In fact, we not only made plans to meet friends to go see Bolt, I also surprised the kids by taking them out to lunch! This is because I am the greatest mother ever, or possibly because we were kinda out of food and I didn’t feel like going for groceries until after the movie. Whatever. And because we are extremely fancy, we went to Taco Bell.
(This whole having-a-vegetarian-kid has greatly cut down on our fast food options, which is mostly fine because we rarely eat out. But I will miss the days of Chickadee clamoring for a Wendy’s cheeseburger or a trip to Chick-fil-A….)
Taco Bell had the notable advantage of offering plenty of vegetarian options, which is awesome when you’re trying to eat healthily by avoiding animal flesh and instead eating as many artificial colors and substances as possible. Meat = bad! Radioactive orange cheese = good! And in addition to that, they have a serve-yourself drink machine, which is Very Exciting.
Normally I make the children get water or milk, but this was a Special Day and so when Monkey looked at the options and sighed, “Well, I guess that root beer there has a lot of sugar, so you’re probably not going to let me get that,” I told him to go ahead. Both kids scampered to collect their soda before I could recant.
“Wow,” said Chickadee. “You’re letting us have fast food, and you bought candy for the movie, AND you’re letting us have root beer! This is, like, the best day EVER!”
“Yes,” I agreed. “Haven’t you heard? Today is International Get Jacked Up On Sugar Day!”
“Is it REALLY?” asked Monkey, sheepishly falling back to guzzling his root beer when his sister laughed at him.
(Hey, sometimes you have to go all out. Just to keep them guessing.)
So we finished up our gourmet lunch and headed over to the movie theater, where we found ourselves in line in front of a trio of older ladies who immediately took a shine to Monkey. This may have been because he was bouncing and talking non-stop. Which I would dearly love to blame on the root beer, but he’s always like that, so I probably can’t.
“What movie are you going to see?” one of them asked him.
“Bolt! We’re going to Bolt! Because I love dogs! And it’s going to be really great! And my friend Franklin is meeting us here so they can see it TOO!” He bounced around in a circle, and the women all chuckled.
“Isn’t she ADORABLE?” one of them said. Monkey was still pinwheeling around and didn’t hear them.
“And do you have a dog at home?” the inquisitor continued.
“Nope!” he answered. “I mean, I have my stuffed Puppy. But not a real dog. Not yet. Maybe someday, we’ll see!”
“She’s precious,” the woman said to the other two. And this time, Monkey heard.
“I’m a boy!” he chirped, ever-cheerful. It’s worth noting, here, that Monkey was wearing a skater-style fleece, blue track pants, and green camouflage sneakers. Look, I realize some people cannot wrap their heads around a boy having long hair, but there was NOTHING else to suggest the child is female. Nothing.
“What, honey? You want to be a boy?” this poor, misguided woman now followed up.
Monkey laughed. “No, I AM a boy!” he said, still giggling.
Now the woman turned to me. “She’s… a boy?” she asked, clearly confused. Her tone told me she didn’t know if she’d just stepped into some sort of hippy-dippy progressive parent trap. Maybe my daughter was just an extreme tomboy and we were encouraging her to embrace the transgender lifestyle at age 8! Maybe when said tomboy dressed in boys’ clothing we allowed her to CLAIM to BE a boy!
“HE is a boy, yes,” I answered, trying to keep my voice mild.
“But…” she was clearly rocked, and losing her footing. “She’s so pretty,” she finished.
Now it was my turn to laugh. “He’s quite attractive, yes,” I agreed, ensnaring him in a hug and smoothing his hair down. “But he is, in fact, a boy. With long hair.”
“You shouldn’t be so pretty, with those long eyelashes and everything,” she said to Monkey, and although it sounds creepy and weird, I really think she was trying to be nice. (Also: Monkey IS pretty. I know exactly what she meant.)
“I can’t really help that,” he said with a shrug. “But I do prefer to be called HANDSOME.”
And just like that, the weirdness passed and all three women were delighted with him, again. Also, it was our turn at the ticket window. Thank God.
Yep. Quality time.