The boy and I had an interesting day of bonding. He was my lunch date on Saturday, although he didn’t really want to be. “I don’t like food anymore, can’t we just go to the toy store?” I had promised him a reward, he was determined to collect it. “You can’t toy shop on an empty stomach, dude. This is serious business,” I said, instead of trying to debunk the “I don’t like food” defense. “I guess you’re right,” he sighed, as we pulled off the road and into a restaurant parking lot.
As we got out of the car, he began to crawl on his hands and knees peering at the undercarriage. “Um, what are you doing?” I asked, as I think any reasonable person would. “There’s a can under there, I wanted to see if you crushed it when we pulled in. You didn’t, can you try to smash it when we leave?” “I’ll try my best,” I responded. I helped him up and led him into the restaurant. We sat outside on the patio, it’s starting to get ridiculously hot here, again. I knew it wouldn’t be crowded and we could quietly chat. He touched the table the way old ladies do when you take them someplace to eat they’ve never been before. “This is nice,” he said, smiling and inspecting the children’s menu.
“Hi, my name is Chris. I’ll be your server today,” the waiter was cheerful and eager to bring us things, I like those qualities in a waiter. “Hi, I’m five. I can ride my bike without training wheels,” my son said with the confidence and demeanor of a politician, while throwing his elbow over the back of his chair. “I don’t wet the bed anymore and… I have a Puffle named Willie. I’m just throwing that out there. What’s your Puffle’s name?” The waiter looked at me, I could see he was taken aback by the little dude. I waited for him to respond, when he didn’t, I wasn’t sure what to say. I figured things couldn’t get anymore awkward than they were at that moment, so I went with, “Hi. I’m 34. I don’t wet the bed anymore either. I helped name the Puffle, and I’d love a rum and coke in the biggest glass you have”.
“What is a Puffle?” Chris asked. “The thing that makes me want a drink,” I responded, hoping he’d walk away without any further questioning. It didn’t work. My boy might have a future as a Jehovah’s Witness, as he insists on spreading the good word. “Willie is Jr. Flappers’ pet. Jr. Flappers is my Penguin. Willie is red and fluffy. He doesn’t have any arms or legs…but he still rides a skateboard pretty good. I play with them”.
For anyone keeping track, my little nugget of awesome is claiming we are harboring an arctic creature in the simmering heat of Florida, and are forcing a long-haired, quadriplegic, life form to entertain us by riding a skateboard. No, I haven’t replaced his nutritious breakfast with frosted LSD and please don’t call PETA.
All of these things take place in the virtual seventh circle of hell known as “Club Penguin”. Disney thought it would be a great idea to create a social networking site, infused with games, and of course…Puffles. “I have a membership card, wanna see it?” Yes, they sell membership cards. Yes, he carries it with him. “Jr. Flappers has an igloo, you should stop by sometime.” Yes, he just invited someone over to his igloo.
“That’s awesome, I have a daughter. We haven’t reached the Puffle stage yet, I guess.” I was thankful that the waiter had experience wrangling small children and I didn’t have to try and explain. You can’t control what they say, resistance is futile. You can either be embarrassed or embrace it. I want him to be able to carry on a conversation. These are the things that are important to him, so this is what we talk about.
Sometimes, admittedly, he throws me a curveball. “Mommy? Why is the water blue?” he asked as he was getting ready for a bath. I tried to pull up all the long forgotten Earth Science information I still had stored in my head. I said something about reflection from the sun and depth of the water, but I was clearly just making it up as I went along.
He stared at me blankly for a minute, “No, I mean in the toilet…why is the water blue? Everyone knows why the sea is blue.” Apparently, my long-winded explanation about the ocean bored the hell out of him. “Oh, I put stuff in there to help me keep the house clean,” he thought about my answer and then, “Does it help you concentrate?” I laughed and responded, “Uh, sure.” I still haven’t figured out where that one came from, I guess he must do most of his thinking on the potty.
The toilet cleaning tablets went in the tank on Sunday, but had they gone in on Saturday…I’m sure the waiter would have heard about that, too.