Last night we were sitting down at the dining room table having dinner and catching up on our day. As usual, I let out an A-typical, “What did you do today, Otto?” which was followed by a disappointing downpour of “I don’t knows.”
And as always, Mr. O refused to give up the 411, which made me want any tidbit that much more. It was as though I were a desperate, wait-listed co-ed who just received her eighth rejection letter from a half-baked university without a beer-soaked main quad, a deep-fried student union or a drunk and disorderly mascot.
“I may not want to participate in a flaccid college experience but at least I want them to want me!” she screamed, as yet another debilitating letter fell from her twisted, sad hands…
The more Otto ignored my pleas for details of his day the more I scratched the bottom of the desperate parent barrel for any information that would satisfy a needy, albeit motherly desire to be involved in her child’s school experience.
“Did you paint today?”
“Did you play any games?”
“What books did you read with your teachers?”
“What did you eat for lunch?”
“How many times did you go pee-pee?”
“Did you learn any new dirty jokes?”
“How do you really feel about naptime?”
“Hey, how about those Goldfish crackers?”
“What’s up with crayons?”
When all looked hopeless and covered in shrugs and salacious silence I decided to throw him a curve ball that I knew he couldn’t hit.
“How are your friends at school?”
Now, you may ask yourself why I would consider that bland, simple sentence a speedy and special pitch right into his sweet strike zone. The answer is easy. I know all his friends and I know their parents and their last names and I know that Otto loves his class, loves his friends and loves talking about his friends, in a less Gossip Girl kind of way and a more Animal House, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid sort a of way. Needing to get some sort of snapshot of his school day I threw the ball and he swung.
“Eva is my favorite friend”, he blurted out, turning the color of a sun-bleached Valentine.
Knowing full well that he loves her as much as Santa loves snow and Mrs. Claus loves Christmas-themed canoodling I was still curious as to why he hadn’t mentioned any of his boy pals, as he usually does.
“Why do you like her the best?” I queried like a plummy parliament member.
“Because she is so cute and her dress is sprinkly.”
My first instinct was to wonder if, indeed, I was going to have to put a sequin-covered princess dress under the tree this year. After all, little dudes dressing as cheeky chicks seems to be all the rage in pre-schools across this great land and I have always been one to buy a ticket for the trendy bandwagon ride. Worse case, I blog about it, Otto is world famous for sporting a spiral skirt and stilettos and hates me in high school. Best case, Otto becomes a Breck Girl and gets a book deal.
When my mixed-message fantasy faded I erased the cross dressing from the 2010 Christmas list and realized that Otto was referring to how cool Eva was overall, not just her wrapping paper. Seeing that I agreed and felt the same about her and everyone related to her, I suddenly felt an uncontrollable urge to tell Otto what my mother told me when I first brought Dave home to meet my parents.
“Dorothea, do not fuck this up. I want this one in the family!”
But instead of blurting out my four-lettered enthusiasm, I sat back, smiled with a parental pride reserved for a medicated stage mother and held Otto in the palm of my pitcher’s mitt while he gushed all the gory details of his delicious day, right down to the ink-drawn dragon slaying and the carpeted train crash.
When he was done with the dishing, I kissed his fried rice face, cleared the table and floated into the kitchen thanking the powers that be for letting me have a son who indeed, wanted to discuss girls and gargoyles with me at least once before college. I then scraped the plates, wiped off the counters and began planning the wedding of the century.
“Oh Otto,” I blathered to myself, “just wait until you see the dress. Sprinkly is just the tip of the tulle iceberg.”