Feeling Old About Horror

When questioning Charlie The Kid about the appropriateness of watching The Shining this afternoon….

Cassie: Holy Crap! Are you watching The Shining?

Charlie: Why yes, yes I am.

Cassie: (ignoring the fresh tone of the thirteen-year-old) That’s a totally scary movie, Char. Not a good idea at all.

Charlie: It’s a perfect idea.

Cassie: Terrifying.

Charlie: Not really.

Cassie: Yes. Really.

Charlie: Perhaps a little scary in 1980. Now? Not so much.

Cassie: Next you’ll tell me you’re going to watch the Exorcist. Dear God and Goddess.

Charlie: Already saw that — like three times. Some parts of that film are phenomenal.

Cassie: I don’t think you’re ready for these horror flicks, Char.

Charlie: Of course I am.

Cassie: Thirteen is young.

Charlie: Not really. I can handle it. Time marches on, Mom.

Cassie: Pffft. (pause) Charlie?

Charlie: Yea?

Cassie: REDRUM

Charlie: Nice try.

Barbie Stories

(Overheard while Gigi and a friend are playing with Gigi’s vast Barbie collection in our basement playroom)

Gigi: We have to come up with a story. Each Barbie doll has to have a story.

Friend: Why?

Gigi: Because otherwise it’s boring.

Friend: What do ya mean a story?

Gigi: You know, why the Barbie is doing something or saying something. Like, the reason.

Friend: We can only play Barbies if there’s a story?

Gigi: Yes.

Friend: You have a lot of Barbies. We have to do a story for all of them?

Gigi: No, no, no. Just the ones we’re playing with.

Cassie: (sensing annoyance in the friend’s voice; inquiring as I start down the stairs leading to the playroom) Gigi, are you being nice to K?

Gigi: Totally, Mom. Don’t embarrass me.

(Having been told off, I retrace my steps and return to the kitchen.)

Gigi: I’ll just tell you how I do the story for this Barbie. Her mother is that Barbie doll over there. The Mother-Barbie and the Teenager Daughter-Barbie just had a fight about the dinner and now the Dad – you know, the Ken doll over there? He walks in and tells everyone to calm down…..’Get a grip,’ he says to the family. The Baby-Barbie starts to cry and the pretend Barbie-dog poodle barks like crazy….Now we make the Barbies talk and the story goes on.

Friend: That’s how you do the story?

Gigi: Yes. We just make stuff up. And talk and talk. Hurry up because you have to go home at 6:30.

Friend: I thought we just set up the mansion house and take the Barbie’s clothes on and off. That’s what we do at my house.

Gigi: Nah. At my house, you have to make it fun with a story. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Tooth Fairy Tardiness

Genevieve: So it took the tooth fairy a lot of nights to remember to come and take my tooth.

Cassie: Ridiculous!

Genevieve: Anyway, that’s really forgetful. Which is a lot like how you are sometimes, Mom.

Cassie: I know. I think both moms and tooth fairies get super busy. Can you imagine what the tooth fairy’s schedule must be like?

Genevieve: (with furrowed brow) The tooth fairy doesn’t have a schedule, Mom. She’s magic.

(Damn.)

Soft Chocolate

unnamedGigi: I like my chocolate to be soft. You know what I mean?

Cassie: Umm. No. Not really.

Gigi: That bite you gave me of that chocolate cake was too rough in my mouth.

Cassie: It wasn’t rough. It was absolutely delicious. From a very fancy restaurant. Dark chocolate mousse cake. Extremely soft.

Gigi: Did you say dark chocolate?

Cassie: Yes.

Gigi: Dark chocolate is rough. I like the soft kind.

Cassie: Maybe you mean milk chocolate.

Gigi: Yep. That’s it. That dark chocolate is so rough it’s probably making my throat and stomach have a blister.

Cassie: Oh brother. I’ll remember that the next time I bring home a fancy dark chocolate dessert to share with my beloved children.

Gigi: Yea…if it’s not soft chocolate, I don’t want to hear about it.

(Pffft.)

Vigorously Tying a Necktie

Charlie The Kid: This YouTube video on how to tie a necktie is lame. The voice over instructions are super annoying to me. Like he needs to have a better voice.

Cassie: Try another one.

Charlie The Kid: Right. (Goes to another video) Ok. I’m doing it. (He makes a twist and turn of the tie material, a tie loop appears) No. No. No. It’s sloppy. This knot didn’t work at all.

Cassie: Can’t you just wait for Dad?

Charlie The Kid: He’s shown me before. A long time ago. He ties the tie vigorously. You know, like zip, zip, zip. He does a good knot. Tight. Mine is too loose again. Nope. Total crap.

(He undoes the loose knot he’s attempted and fiddles with his phone to find another video on YouTube…he mumbles…he watches the next video, he laughs, he swings the tie around with one hand, his other hand nimbly scrolling the phone screen in search of necktie tying videos – are we on the third or fourth one now? He watches the video, slowly moving, twisting, looping his tie, which is a red, grey and black plaid. Very grown-up. One of Max’s old ties. I watch. I start to giggle. Charlie laughs, then swears under his breath.)

Cassie: Sorry, sorry to laugh. Your eyebrows. It’s funny.

Charlie The Kid: Sort of. Why are you watching me anyway?

Cassie: I’m not. I’m putting your clothes away. I see what you mean about vigorously holding the tie.

Charlie The Kid: Right? You can’t be loose and sloppy about how you hold the tie to make the knot. How many more days before the bar mitzvah?

Cassie: A few. It’s this Saturday.

Charlie The Kid: How long did it take Max?

Cassie: To tie a necktie?

Charlie The Kid: Yeah.

Cassie: I can’t remember.

Charlie The Kid: Pffft.

(I continue to put clothes away in the dresser as Charlie leaves his bedroom, moving onward in search of a mirror? Or a place where he can be alone to practice?

I try to remember Max’s necktie learning process. It was some years back and I just can’t remember how or when it went from loose and sloppy to vigorous and tight. How could I have forgotten such an important coming of age detail? How could I have forgotten?)

Swim Teachers

Gigi SwimGenevieve: That’s it! I told you I only want a girl for my swim teacher. I’m NOT changing my mind about it. No way!

Cassie: In California you had a boy swim teacher.

Genevieve: I was too little to know but I think I remember that I didn’t like him. Yeah. He wasn’t good at all.

Cassie: Okay. Okay. It’s just that there don’t seem to be a lot of female lifeguards who are also giving lessons at the pool this year. Every time I inquire, the three female lifeguards are all booked up with lessons, like for weeks in advance.

Genevieve: How come? Is there a policy?

Cassie: A policy?

Genevieve: Yeah. Like only boys can be lifeguards and teachers?

Cassie: No. It’s just how it worked out this year. And your teacher from last year has another job and isn’t working at the community pool this summer. She already texted me back.

Genevieve: My plan’s not going to work. I need to know how to swim for real THIS summer. (pause) When did you learn how to swim?

Cassie: I think when I was seven or eight. Maybe even later.

Genevieve: Who taught you?

Cassie: My Aunt Pat. She swam with my brother and me every day at my Grandma and Grandpa’s pool. I was definitely a late bloomer on swimming. Uncle Jay and all my cousins learned at a pretty early age. Jay was very physical; he never stopped moving until he went to sleep at night. So, of course, he got the swimming trick down easily. Also riding a bike….extremely quick to pick that up as well.

Genevieve: I already know how to ride a bike.

Cassie: Yes, you do.

Genevieve: When did Max and Chloe learn to swim?

Cassie: I don’t know if I remember exactly. They had lessons at the YMCA which Chloe did not like at all.

Genevieve: Why? How come she didn’t like it?

Cassie: She didn’t like having swimming lessons with a whole group of other kids. Also the teacher, one time, was male.

Genevieve: See? She wanted a girl too.

Cassie: Yes. Anyway, I don’t think Max or Chloe nailed it with swimming until six or seven years old.

Genevieve: And Charlie?

Cassie: Late bloomer.

Genevieve: How late?

Cassie: I don’t know. Eight, I think.

Genevieve: Yeah. I need a teacher right away. I gotta learn how to swim before I turn eight. You have to find me a teacher, Mom.

Cassie: I’ll do my best.

Airing the Injured Finger

injured fingerCharlie The Kid: Please let me know the next time you plan to “air” your finger while roaming about this house.

Cassie: Too gross?

Charlie The Kid: Extremely.

Cassie: I can’t have it bandaged the whole time. I have to let air get at it.

Charlie The Kid: Ummmm.

Cassie: What?

Charlie The Kid: I just threw up in my mouth again for like the seventh time since the whole finger incident started.

Cassie: Sorry. Sometimes life is disgusting.

Charlie The Kid: I know. I wish I could go back to when I was little and oblivious so I wouldn’t have to think about cut up fingers. Or the problems with black and white people in this country killing each other.

Cassie: (pausing to catch my breath since we’ve so quickly gone from my cut finger to the horrific racial tensions of the moment) Charlie, with age comes knowledge and awareness. You’re at an age when you start growing your wisdom about life and big serious issues and problems that are all around us every day. It’s not easy. I know. You have to stop and reflect about it every once in a while. So you don’t get overwhelmed.

Charlie The Kid: I don’t want to reflect on it. I want to escape it. How do you escape it?

Cassie: Probably can’t ever escape it fully. But reading a good book with a solid story that takes you to another place, watching a fun movie, music. Your music and artwork….I think those are really good outlets for calming down a little.

Charlie The Kid: Okay. But I meant what I said about airing your finger. Do that at night or something when your children are sleeping so we don’t have to see it.

Cassie: Will do.

Charlie The Kid: Thank you.

Cassie: Welcome.