On the way home from school pick-up today, Charlie and I proceeded to argue about the following items:

— Boy Scouts and why I stand so firm in not letting him join that organization.

“But I’m not gay, Mom.”
“I’m not sure you really know that…just yet.”
“Oh, I know it.”
“Well, whether you are homosexual or not, I’m not letting you be a part of a rigid group that is not inclusive of ALL people. Period.”
“It’s hard to explain to my friends.”
“Do you want me to help you come up with a way to say it?”
“I already know…it’s because of gay people.”
“Charlie, it’s not BECAUSE OF homosexuals, it’s FOR them. Because we care about all people, no matter what their sexual orientation, their skin color.”
“I get it.”
“Are you sure?”

— McDonalds and why I never let him eat the “delicious” food sold at the famed establishment.

“How come I’m never allowed to eat Mc Nuggets, which are my absolute favorite and the fries…which are so greasy and taste like heaven?”
“Stomachaches that last for an entire day. Food poisoning. Heart Disease.”
“Like I’m really going to have those things at age nine.”
“It’s only a matter of time.”

— BB Guns and why Scott and I are so adamant that he’s not going to have one yet (maybe ever).

“It’ll probably turn into a situation where I’m NEVER allowed to have a BB gun.”
“Then I’ll have to wait until I’m an adult with a BB gun, and whoever heard of an adult having a BB gun?!”
“You can just blame it on your parents.”
“Ohhh…I’m going to.”

— Next, Charlie’s insistence that he should have a pocket knife since he’ll never get to enjoy a BB gun during his childhood.

“Since I can’t be in Boy Scouts like ALL my friends and I can’t have a BB gun like ALL my friends, I should definitely get a pocket knife.”
“You are still banned from scissors, so I think a pocket knife is completely out of the question.”
“Without a pocket knife, it will be hard to survive. I need a weapon.”
“Survive what?”
“The end of the world as we know it.”
“I’ve read two survival handbooks and they all say that you need to have a pocket knife…at least a pocket knife…and also a flare gun. It’s not a gun with bullets, just flares.”
“I know what a flare gun is. Your mind is your best weapon.”
“No… a pocket knife is.”

Throughout this conversation, we have picked up Chloe from school, dropped her off at play rehearsal, filled up the car with gas and delivered fifteen books to the automated return conveyor belt in the front lobby of the local library. Driving a car to accomplish all these errands while keeping up my end of the argument sequence has left me feeling depleted. I may need a nap. As we finally turn into our driveway, Charlie says with a snippy voice,

“Lemme guess, we don’t have any pop tarts for snack because you’ve decided that you’re going to ban them from the house again.”

“That was Dad who banned them from the house that ONE time. Not me!”

“My life sucks!” Charlie slams his car door shut.

“Happy Friday!” I yell after him as he climbs the stairs outside the kitchen door. “Jerk,” I say under my breath. Charlie enters the kitchen and slams that door shut too.

“Don’t call him jerk, Mommy,” Genevieve, who’s been silent for the entire car ride, now pipes up while climbing out of her booster seat.

“Okay. Sorry. He’s in a really bad mood. Maybe sugar levels,” I sigh.

“Just let him have some pop tarts and he’ll get better fast,” Genevieve advises.

Genevieve and I enter the kitchen. I can hear Charlie, who’s already blown through this room, walking around on the second floor. A toilet flushes. I find the pop tarts in the pantry, pull out a sleeve and insert a tart into the toaster, setting the dial on “Light” so the pop tart won’t burn. I set up a glass of milk and a plastic plate before one of the black stools at the kitchen island. The pop tart “pops” and I place the warmed “pastry” on the plate. I call Charlie down for his after school snack…and I hope for the best.

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