Every third week or so (but occasionally more frequently), Jay works a week of night shifts. He leaves for work around 4:30 in the afternoon — just about when John gets off the bus — and arrives home, usually to sleep, around 7:30 in the morning — just about when John gets on the bus. So these two don’t see each other too often during night weeks, and I know it’s hard on both of them. This morning, Jay got home early (and was fairly awake). John ate breakfast and got dressed with lots of time to spare before we needed to leave.
Jay leaned over to me and quietly asked, “do you think John has time for Mario Kart?”
We generally have a strict “NO MARIO KART BEFORE SCHOOL” policy, due to the fact that it can be hard to turn off. But today, the stars aligned and we had lots of extra time, so I said “yep.”
I told John that daddy was going to set something up, but it was a secret. His eyes got wide, and he asked, “is it a surprise for me?” I replied with a coy yet obvious “maaaaaaaybe,” to which he responded, “oh mama. I know what it means when you say ‘maybe’ like that.”
So I made that one pretty easy to interpret — but what else am I saying in code that he completely understands? Hopefully there is little else at this point, because I speak in code a lot. Here are some of my best phrases (and, of course, their interpretations).
10. “I’m going to put this in my special art folder!”
Yes, that folder is called the trash can. Look, I’ll save things like the first thing you wrote your name on, or a “very special person” project that I practically did myself and kind of consider your baby book, but every anatomically correct drawing of SpongeBob SquarePants is getting thrown away.
9. “Aww, did you get hurt?”
Aww, do I have to stand up? We came to the park so I wouldn’t have to stand up. Walk it off, slugger.
8. “Eat your veggies!”
After you go to bed, I’m going to toss my cold, half-eaten carrots and binge on your goldfish and all of the wine in the house. This is called “being an adult.” You’ll get there someday.
7. “Sorry, honey, I guess we’re out of goldfish. You must have eaten them all!”
6. “Mommy and daddy are just going to take a little nap in our room with the door locked.”
5. “Good job at your [insert sport here] practice!”
Watching you attempt to “karaoke” across the gym floor will forever be the memory that saves me from deep sadness. I love ya, you little klutz. And hey — there were even a few times I saw you looking at the ball and not a particularly interesting wall!
4. “We need to go RIGHT NOW.”
Could be one of two:
1) We actually need to leave in ten minutes, and I know that’s about how long it will take you to put you left arm in the sleeve of your coat; or:
2) We are twenty minutes late. I blame you.
3. “He’s never like this.”
He is 100%, always like this.
2. “All right, buddy — it’s bedtime!”
Oh, tiny friend. Daylight Savings Time has ended, and even though it’s only 5:45, the sun has gone down. You can’t tell time yet, and you’re driving me crazy. Also, I’m sure you could use the extra sleep. Is that a cold coming on? Did you think about coughing? This is totally justified. Good night.
1. “You’re the best kid in the world.”
You’re the best kid in the world.