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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hey, Mom! Can Kyle Eat This Minnow?

There was a time when it was just me and The Boy.

Young, poor, inclined to eat breakfast for dinner and drink far too much Kool-Aid, we had it made.

One year, when The Boy was 12, I managed to put away $20 here, $20 there, and come up with a cabin on a lake Up North. A full week in their last available cabin for the summer. Nothing fancy: a small living room, three tiny bedrooms, a bathroom and a kitchen. We had a small boat (outboard engine available for an additional cost) and a dock just outside the front door.

That June, I packed a dozen books, The Boy packed his cousin Kyle (just a year younger) and we drove six hours’ north.

The first night there, of course, the boys insisted that they sleep on the dock.

“What, so you can roll off it and then I gotta explain to everyone how I let two kids drown on my watch? No way.”

“What if only one of us drowns?” The Boy counters. “What if Kyle, specifically, is the only one that drowns?”

Significantly smaller than The Boy, Kyle cuffs him on the back of the head. The Boy picks him up and squeezes him until he squeaks.

“You’re funny,” I say, “and yet I’m still thinking “no”.”

The rest of the first day is taken up by driving into town for groceries, venturing into the out-of-doors in a swimsuit for the first time that season, convincing Kyle that even if The Boy did give him a dollar eating a minnow is disgusting.

You know. All the usual.

Around midnight, the kids went to bed, one to a tiny room, reeking of popcorn and elaborate plans for capturing more minnows in the morning.

It was at 2:00 a.m. that first night that I started hearing the whispering.

Pssss psss psss.

Hee hee hee.


I set my book down. Well those little…

I slide out of my little double bed, bare feet on cold linoleum. Opening my bedroom door, I ease into the dark hallway.

Kyle’s room is empty, save for the suitcase that appears to have exploded in the center of it.

The Boy’s door is closed.

And like so many good women before me, I press my ear to it.

“Pssss. Pssss. Psss. Hee! Hee! Hee! and he took the cigarette from his mom’s purse and she never even knew! Hee! Hee! Hee!”

I pull away from the door and frown. Hmm.

I push my ear back against the door as The Boy begins to whisper. In such low tones, surely this is seditious material. Cigarettes first! Now what? Booze? Sex? Drugs?

Holy moly, a gang?! Is that it? Are the boys going to join a gang?!

“Hey, Kyle.”

“What?”

“You know what the greatest thing in the world is?”

“No. What?”


There is the sound of The Boy sucking air into his lungs, blowing it out. Oh, my baby! My heart skips a beat as I picture him blowing smoke out of his bedroom window.

The Boy sighs in exaggerated bliss.

“Mentadent toothpaste. My teeth are so clean. Man, that stuff is tight!”

I turn around, go back to bed with a smile on my face.

Toothpaste.

I let them sleep on the dock the next night.

43 comments:

Symdaddy said...

Hooked on toothpaste at such a tender age!

I tell ya, Pearl ... it'll all end in a Greyban addiction when they're older!

Red Herring Jeff said...

"...Man, that stuff is tight!" Ha-ha-ha! Great story, Pearl! 12 year olds are kind of like Christmas presents sometimes. You can shake the box, but sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between a super-hero cape and a pair of underwear until the wrapping comes off.

haphazardlife said...

And no one fell off? - Jazz

Pearl said...

Symdaddy, :-)

Red Herring Jeff, THAT, sir, is funny. I plan on using that soon. :-)

Pearl said...

Jazz, Kyle gave up around 2:00 a.m. or so, but The Boy came staggering in around 4:30, absolutely drenched in dew and shivering mightily. :-)

Drew Benn said...

awwe, love this writing! Very huckleberry Finn / Tom Sawyer esque story and I love the innocence of it. Brilliant!

Drew :)

Cake Betch said...

That's one reason I'm afraid to have kids, because eventually I know they WILL do all the crazy things teens do (just like I did) :-)

a Broad said...

Awwwwwww ... feeling all warm and gooey. ( I love little boys .. I had one once too )

Pearl said...

Drew, thanks! The little buggers really are just children, and here I was thinking all those terrible things...

Cake Betch, yes they will. Luckily you'll be able to see through their silly behavior for what it really is.

Pearl said...

A Broad, makes ya miss 'em, don't it? :-)

Leenie said...

I don't know how you do it. Every day another arrangement of words on my screen that makes me smile and snicker and remember. I can just see those two--loving life and all its wonders from minnow slither to mint breath.

Kids remind us to be amazed.

Douglas said...

He knew you were listening. I was a boy once (so many, many years ago) and we could sense a Mom approaching every time. It's like we could feel the ear press against the door. It's like a Spidey-sense thing.

Which, of course, does not explain the still almost visible hairbrush marks on my, uh, posterior region.

jabblog said...

Lovely:-)

Eva Gallant said...

Great story. I had boys. When they were that age, they wanted to spend the night outside in a tent. I let them, silly me! We lived adjacent to a golf course at the time. They spent most of the night hunting for golf balls on the golf course with flashlights. (The clubhouse paid $.50 for every ball they found.)

lgsquirrel said...

I enjoy all your stories about yourself and The Boy but I have to agree with Douglas; he knew you were there and said those things for your benefit.

Gigi said...

How nice to know that you have instilled good oral hygiene in The Boy! Very important, you know.

Pearl said...

Leenie, thank you. I spent my youth trying to be "a lert", per my father's admonitions that I remain alert as the world needed more lerts, so I think it may have paid off.

Doug, he wasn't very good at it! I overheard all KINDS of stuff. :-)

jabblog, I aims to please.:-)

Eva, industrious little things, aren't they? :-)

Pearl said...

lg, I don't know. :-) The Boy's been remarkably honest with me throughout the years, although I'm sure there are stories I wil, never know!

Gigi, he's kissing-fresh at all times. :-)

Sweet Cheeks said...

I'll bet The Boy has fond memories of that trip as well! What ever became of Kyle?

=]

Pearl said...

Sweet Cheeks! Kyle went on to become a Marine, two tours of Iraq. He's back now and trying to figure out what to do with the rest of his life...

Simply Suthern said...

What a relief that must've been. LOL You did well Mom.

mrwriteon said...

I was utterly charmed by this. You are such a wonderful tale-spinner. I could read you indefinitely. Thank you.

Ms Sparrow said...

Aw, that was so sweet. You must have been an awesome mom!

becca said...

how sweet and bet they had the best teeth in toen

Jhon Baker said...

nice little story - are we going to be treated to more of this trip? hope so.

Pam said...

What adults imagine is wrong is usually exaggerated..
Great tale, Pearl.

Mamma has spoken said...

Is it just me or do you not look old enough to have a 12 year old ever in your life?

tattytiara said...

Tsk tsk - it's only a matter of time before they're huffing mouthwash.

alwaysinthebackrow said...

And I am thinking that he has a beautiful smile to this day, right? The girls, they like the bright happy smiles.

Great story. Love boys-still love my two, and one is a danged good daddy himself to two (soon 3) little girls. It's worth it all.

Karen said...

That is the sweetest memory.

Susan in the Boonies said...

Pearl...

I hang on your every word.

I plow through other blogs out of duty.

But coming here, my dear, is a pleasure.

My big sleepover "no no" was when my girlfriend and I snuck and ate about 6 of my Mom's homemade crescent rolls and ate a bunch more Jolly Rancher Sour Apple Hard Candies, while we slept outside on my girlfriend's carport.

We felt like we had reached the height of nautidom.

Thanks for bringing it all back! :-D

Sioux Roslawski said...

What a sweet story. I have a Michigan friend who went away every summer to what she and her kids called "Reading Camp." Everybody in the family hauled a bunch of books along, and had a great time...

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Great story. I love your stories about The Boy.

jenny_o said...

You sound like a great mom. Not too lax. Not too controlling. Just right. More please!

Amanda said...

Such a sweet story! I have 6 year old twin boys and I can't wait for their first request to spend the night in a tent in the back yard.

On My Soapbox said...

That is funny! "From the mouths of babes...." I would have blown it by bursting out laughing.

Tempo said...

:-)

Shannon said...

Thanks for visiting my blog!! Cute story--glad it turned out to be toothpaste, but does he like the toothpaste because it covers up his cigarette breath? Hmm.

Shannon said...

Oh heeeey, I just saw my blog on the right side of YOUR blog. Awesome! Thanks.

Roses said...

Fantastic story.

It's a motherly skill, one I know still freaks my Boy out - the ability to know when he's up to no good.

Molly Potter said...

a sweet little story Pearl
Closed doors and kids is a tricky boundary
xx

Molly Potter said...

Oh and
I licked a slug once.

John McElveen said...

Man--I was THERE!!!!

Great stuff Pearl!

J