It wasn’t insight revealing, profound or life-changing; it was simply time with three 12-year-old boys.
And it made my day.
Warning: There is grossness with food and bodily fluid.
Surprise non-warning: There is no potty talk.
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The boys were outside and I had been working on my laptop alone at the dining room table, but the need (yes, need, hush) for an iced coffee refill had necessitated a break.
When I came back I was alone no longer. My son, Noah, and two of his neighborhood posse pals, George and Warren (names changed) had settled in my workspace. I like all my son’s friends, but I like some more because they respect our rules. These are two of my favorites; don’t tell the others.
They carried on like I wasn’t there. Maybe they recognized my Parental Working Face or maybe because I was focused on a screen they assumed I wasn’t paying attention to them…based on the way THEY act when focused on a screen, perhaps? The truth? I was typing everything they said.
“I don’t like foreheads.” This from my son who has mentioned this oddity for a long time.
“Then why did you date…” asked Warren.
Noah interrupted him and said over his shoulder as he headed into the kitchen, “Don’t say it! I knew you were going to say it.”
(Let’s shelve the discussion about tween dating for another time. To them it’s dating, that’s all that matters.)
“Ice cream sandwiches?” Ever the host, Noah appeared with a newly purchased (for his father) box.
I glared at him, which he clearly misinterpreted.
“Mom, want an ice cream sandwich?”
I switched-up glare levels and shook my head, no.
“Mom, can I offer ice cream sandwiches?” Ah, he read the glare…as he was passing out said treat.
With the skill of a Vegas magician, three ice cream sandwiches disappeared! They also fueled Noah. He speed-walked the first floor of our house, grabbed a can of Pledge that had been left out, shouted, “I love this stuff” and sprayed it…on the wood floor.
This was hysterical to the boys, but evoked a mini-lecture from me. That mini-trouble for Noah resulted in a game of One Upsmanship: Trouble edition. The winner? A “really grody” sneeze that did not amuse a teacher as much as it did these boys.
Noah, still on the move, made his second kitchen pilgrimage, “Do you know about the Saltine Challenge? You see how many crackers you can shove in your mouth.”
“Not in my house unless you like vacuuming.”
Instead they ate-again-while attempting to create saltine fidget spinners.
Yes! I’m getting my floor vacuumed!
But wait! More (debatable) fun with saltines: a saltine sandwich made of two fresh and one pre-chewed cracker. Seriously? Between the sneeze story and this I was going to hurl. (Note: pre-hurling moms are hysterical to 12-year-olds.)
The segue to the next activity is still a mystery to me but I realized that these kids:
▪ Watch a lot of YouTube as a group activity.
▪ Are still mourning the loss of the short video, social media platform, VINE, (No fear, YouTube has RIP VINE videos: longer videos of many short videos.)
▪ They all have an obnoxious, YouTube viewing laugh.
When George turned to his own phone for amusement it was a signal for a plot twist. “Hey, let’s play The Floor is Lava!”
Within the next two minutes:
Play hot lava.
Find Pledged spot on wood floor.
Do tricks on Pledged spot.
Add a basketball to the mix.
Decide to go shoot hoops outside.
And most astonishingly:
CLEAN UP THEIR MESS WITHOUT BEING ASKED.
Then, with a slam, they were gone.
I had them in my presence for a mere 30 minutes. Not quality time, not purposeful time, but life affirming just being time.
I like that the best. Don’t tell the others.