Friday, March 25, 2011

Breakfast for Dinner

I had to pick the husband up from work, which led to a spontaneous decision to have dinner “out,” which happens every so often, though usually on a full moon. We cruised around downtown as we called various places, inquiring as to whether they had room in their fine establishments for two adults and four kids. We checked Jines, the Highland Diner, and Sully’s. As we pulled into the parking lot in front of Sully’s it dawned on us, finally, that we were not, in fact, hip city-dwellers, but rather parents in a partially rusted mini-van.

We went to Perkins.

I was in a mild state of agitation thanks to Caleb, who had peppered me with questions on the ride out. Caleb is a morbid child, and I say that with as much affection as I can muster. He’s a close relative of that kid from “What About Bob”- the one who kept repeating “I’m going to die. You’re going to die. We’re all going to die.” I’m not sure if it’s normal for a child to focus so much on dying- not the afterlife, but the physical act of dying- but John assures me that he was just like that when he was a kid. Which doesn’t really alleviate my concerns.

In the car, I tried to pragmatically and calmly answer questions about choking to death, falling off a building, and becoming (here’s a likely scenario for ya) stuck in the stratosphere.

“Mom. What’s the difference between the atmosphere and the stratosphere?” If Caleb isn’t asking about death, he’s asking some scientific question I should know the answer to, but don’t.

“Um, I’m not sure.” (Caleb sighs.) “I’m pretty sure the stratosphere is above the atmosphere.” (It’s not. The stratosphere is within the atmosphere.)

“I’ll just ask dad,” he said.

Well, phooey, I thought. Caleb is convinced John is a million times smarter than I am thanks to my proclivity for saying “I don’t know. Ask your father.”

I told this to John, who insisted he wasn’t smarter, just different. He was more like Caleb, who has a scientific mind, while I was more like Ben, who is “artsy” and “sensitive.”

In fact, I do find Ben’s questions easier to answer than Caleb’s. Today, Ben wanted to know the following:

“Mom, do they make red pants?”

“Yes, ‘they’ make red pants.”

“I’m not talking about red shorts mom. I’m talking about red pants.”

“I gotcha, and yes, there is such a thing as red pants.” Ben considers this.

“No. I don’t think they do make red pants.”

So, I can’t win. Even when I’m right, I’m wrong.

Daniel and Ella, however, still believe that I know everything. Right?

“Look mom. The snow!”

“Yes, more snow. It’s yucky, isn’t it?”

Daniel gasps.

“The snow is beautiful!”

And Ella? As I was about to order her a grilled cheese, she said, “No. Pancakes.” Even though we had just discussed her desire for grilled cheese. She looked at me like I was stupid. I swear she was about to roll her eyes and say, “Duh mom. Why would I want grilled cheese? This is Perkins, mom. No one goes to Perkins for grilled cheese. I have to text my friend now and tell her how stupid you are.” (This is what I think teenage girls are like. And I am so afraid.)

I’m actually not bothered. They are growing up and realizing that I am not the beginning and the end of the universe. And that’s normal. It’s fascinating to spend time with them and learn what goes on in those little heads.

We were loud in Perkins. Super loud. Thankfully, it was dead in there, not an annoyed young hip city-dweller in sight- just a jolly, accommodating waitress with crayons and chocolate milk and an appreciated sense of humor. We ate pancakes for dinner.

Having kids is like having breakfast for dinner. I’ll have dinner for dinner someday, but right now, I’m loving the breakfast.


hokgardner said...

That is the best description I've heard of having kids. I love it.

Anonymous said...

John smarter than you? That's a hoot.

M Haag said...

We used to go to Carrows in Santa Barbara after church every Sunday, where they knew to put us in a big booth wayyyy in the back... your post always makes me laugh & cry as I see me in you and my kids in yours.... Love you, Holly!

Heidi said...

Holly, I always love reading your posts. You have a knack for making everything seem light! Which is why I have chosen you to receive the Stylish Blogger Award! You can pick up your award here:

James said...

Wow, Caleb sounds just like our Jameson. As soon as he could start asking questions, it's been all death and science with him.