Doing laps in the LA Fishbowl

Nine Years

How could shame blight such a wondrous day? I should be posting the delicious baked treats my son will eat for his birthday celebration at school, a photo of me holding a plate of homemade Yodels, those chocolate-covered mini cake rolls. But no, there will be no such photo springing up on Facebook, only this old one of my face covered by the Alien of failure…

Spent last night trying to make those little treats, and maybe it was the spongy, ragged cake layer that refused to roll without disintegrating, or maybe it was the melancholy marshmallow filling that didn’t freeze well in its threadbare carpet of devil’s food cake and spent the night weeping, but when I tried to dip this forlorn mass into the melted chocolate this morning the cake and the filling each decided they were unfit for such a union and had better part company, leaving me with shapeless mounds of hardening chocolate covering only a gooey memory of cake.

No photo. A media shutdown; there will be no evidence of this disaster.

I shuffled upstairs and told Doug I was throwing in my chocolate-smeared towel and would do what he advised all along: I was going to (shudder) bring to school (wince) Store Bought Cupcakes.
Oh, the ignomy.

Moving on to brighter things:

He’s nine! My boy will have spent eight and a half years with us, his lucky lucky parents. It’s hard to believe it’s been this long, but I’m not bemoaning the rush of time. I don’t mind the years passing (well, for him, anyway) because it just keeps getting better, he gets better, and funnier, and more thoughtful. Yes, homework is now officially a Nightmare, and I know adolescence is just around the bend, but right now he’s just the coolest kid to be around.

A couple of my favorite things he’s said this year:

He was watching this video from Green Day— Boulevard of Broken Dreams (“I walk these empty streets, on the boulevard of broken dreams… I walk alone, I walk alone”) —

—and he turned to me and said “He’s not walking alone, he’s got all those other guys with him!”

Third grade really ramps up the homework, and it’s been, as I said, a Nightmare, with math facts, spelling words, extra projects, graph charts, Kumon, chapter books and word problems relentlessly nipping at poor Benj, not to mention two hovering parents who want to make sure he’s doing everything he supposed to be doing. Doug was in the car driving him to school and trying to make him study his spelling words for a test later that week. Benj refused, Doug gently/strongly suggested that maybe he could just look over the words  and spell them aloud, Benj refused, Doug suggested gently/implacably again that he should reconsider, Benj will have none of it, pouting, squirming, shouting, Doug continues, Benj has had it, yells out, “I wish you and Baba would get a divorce and then I would live with Baba and you can roam the Earth alone!”

(A pretty biblical allusion for someone living in an Atheist/Buddhist household, don’t you think? Of course, I like this story because I come off pretty well. Poor Doug didn’t know that I had quizzed Benj on his words not 15 minutes prior to them driving off. And now he’s got to roam the Earth alone, like Cain…)

Benj gently remonstrating Doug for getting frustrated with his mother: “You shouldn’t get mad at her. You know, she’s all alone now and Pop used to do all these things for her and now she has no one.” How empathetic is that?

On the flip side, he was listening to Doug’s mom spinning out of control on the car’s speakerphone and he asked her, very simply, “Hey Mimi, why don’t you let God take care of it?” “What’d he say?” the minister’s wife asked. He repeated it. “Huh. Well, I better go,” she said, and hung up.

From the mouths of babes.

Happy Birthday my amazing boy. May your years ahead be sweet ones, and better-shaped than my yodels.

September 30th, 2010 - Still Life Las Vegas


5 responses to “Nine Years”

  1. Sally Nemeth says:

    HAPPY HAPPY BEN DAY!!! Nine. I cannot believe it!
    And BTW, those aren't ANY storebought cupcakes, Mister! Them's DOTS.

  2. Harry says:

    LOL…well, that's 8 1/2 years he's brightened a WHOLE BUNCH of our lives, though perhaps not quite as much as yours and Doug's! Happy birthday to my favorite nephew (shhhhh…don't blab…)! (And I think if you took all that leftover cake and icing and marshmallow stuff and just mixed it together, froze it, and sliced it up and put vanilla ice cream on it, you might have a winner. Anyway, I'd have tried it.)

  3. Anonymous says:

    Try making 90 cupcakes in one day (only for kindergarten) When I arrived in the three different classrooms feeling so proud to be a triplet mom with my fancy decorated homemade delights the kids all asked where the Dunkin donuts were – arghh! Needless to say I never looked back. We love ya, Ben!!! ooxx Sandy

  4. Suz says:

    How can he be nine?? I wish I could be around him more. So sorry about your cupcake misfire. But nobody ever said the path to Le Cordon Bleu is a smooth one. At least you're not like me and didn't wait til the hour before they were due in front of the little darlings to bail. xxxx

  5. Anonymous says:

    I love the "alien of failure." And boy did Doug get his lashing!!! Yikes! Love all the anecdotes. Shaela is getting funnier and funnier and so adorable, so fun and wonderful too! I think Greece has bonded them forever. She told me she wishes Benj was coming this weekend. Then we got off on a tangent about how Benj would babysit her in 4 years when she is 9. How cute is that. Love you all so much. Happy incredible Birthday Benj!

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