Saturday, February 01, 2014

Chocolate milk and M&Ms

He took me on a date.

Not my husband.

My eldest son.

We have groupings of twenty words hanging in our hallway. As soon as the boys can read all twenty words, they get to pick one adult to take on a date.

They work hard, sometimes for weeks, studying and practicing their twenty words. When they can finally read them all, there is great celebrating and jumping and hugging. Big smiles and proud head nods. High fives erupt.

Then they pick one grown-up. With Grampa and Grama here there were four adults to choose from.

And so I never got picked.

Don't feel sorry for me. I wasn't sad. I am home with the kiddos all day long. I get a lot of them, and they get a lot of me. I'd much rather they pick their Daddy or Grandparent to spend time with. They get plenty of time with me.

But last week, Isaac got his twenty words correct, and without a moment's thought he turned, and wordless as he often is, pointed at me.

"What?" I asked.

He just pointed at me more intently. Whenever he gets a little shy, his mouth shuts and he lets his body do the talking.

"You're picking me?"

He nodded and ran down the hallway.

He picked me!

Isaac and I, right before we made the move to Turkey in 2010.

So Saturday afternoon we headed over to the Red Café. It's actually called Café Ponta Negra, but it has red awnings (as all little cafe's here on the island have the same tell-tale awnings.) It's literally just around the corner from our house. They have drinks and baked goods and ice cream and candy and coffee of course.

It's quintessential European.

And it's in our backyard.

They were out of ice cream. A bit disappointing for our ice-cream-obsessed five-year-old, but he took it well.

(When we told him we were moving back to the USA in June, Isaac's first thought out loud was: But that's when the Red Café has the most ice cream.)

It is winter here on the island even though everything is still green. Last year they did away with ice cream altogether. But this year the Portuguese woman at the front counter who always wants to kiss Abigail to oblivion when we walk in, has promised they will keep some stocked -- even if it is only one or two flavors.

I'm pretty sure she might have decided to do that just for my kids.

Isaac instead chooses a pack of M&M's. He wants a chocolate milk too. I count my euros. I am five cents short. Anna smiles and tells me to bring it later. This happens a lot at the Café and at Buzios, the restaurant that borders it that we eat at fairly frequently. Buzios lets us take us glass dessert containers and wine carafes home regularly. They trust us to return them eventually. And I can't tell you how many times I've returned to the Red Café with an extra five or ten euros.

As we make our way out of the hanging beads that separate the inside from the outside, I take Isaac's hand and ask him if he'd like to eat at the Café or walk to the ocean.

He picks ocean.

We walk.

Just a block, and we are there. He picks where to sit. I open his M&M's and stick the straw in the glass bottle of chocolate milk.

Unlike Sidge who would eat an entire pack of M&M's in about four seconds if I let him (and suck down the chocolate milk in just under eight), Isaac slowly takes out one M&M, inspects it, puts it in his mouth, and leans back.

"Let's play a game," he says.

"Okay," I reply. "What game?"

"I give a clue and you guess a Superhero."

"Oh no," I say.


"I'm going to do badly at this."

The natural swimming pool next to our home. 

He laughs. "It's an Avenger," he begins. (Like that means anything to me.) "And it starts with a C."

He goes on, alternating between the Justice League, Team Titan, Avengers, and X-Men. I'm pretty sure that prior to this conversation, I never even knew there was a team called Team Titan. In addition, if I'm being honest, I really am not sure what team any Superhero is on. His clue doesn't help me at all.

During the next thirty minutes, he gave me at least two dozen clues. And I got three correct. Only three.

He decided to give me another clue to each question. He starts saying the name backwards. Only he just swaps the words around so Iron man was Man Iron. I started getting more right, and that seemed more fun so we started doing it that way instead.

He'd only halfway finished his chocolate milk and M&M's when I glanced at the time and knew we needed to get back. JB was cooking dinner, and it would be almost ready. Chocolate milk and M&M's before dinner won't be in any parenting book, but it was the only time during the day that we were able to make it work, and so JB told me to go. Isaac deserved it. We promised. And we didn't want to let him down.

As we sat there, waves crashing in the natural swimming pool, ocean on three sides of us, I try to etch this memory as fully into my thoughts as I can. I don't want it to leave me. I want it there forever.

This was taken in Germany when I was there preparing to have Abigail in 2011. You can't tell, but I am ready to pop in this picture.

It's why I am writing this post -- in a hope to remember, if only with words, the giggles he emitted and the smiles that exuded off of him during our hour on the rocks. Isaac reserves smiles for things that really deserve them. And he reserved a ton for me during our date.

I noted that I needed to do this more often. Even if he doesn't pick me, I can pick him. Some kids do better one-on-one, and that has always been our I-man. You can't fully appreciate who he is unless you sit quietly and let him talk at his own speed -- not a speed deemed necessary to compete with the three little siblings that came so rapidly after his birth. He is introspective and deliberate and while so incredibly different than me ...

... so my boy.


Shane said...

Wonderful, wonderful post Wendi. Very heart-warming, and reminds me of one of many reason that we want children so badly. I desire those moments (and memories) so much.

Anonymous said...

Love it:)
grandma k

Anonymous said...

I am now really looking forward to my date with Isaac in another month or so! grama di

TAV said...

Love this!

carla said...

Lol, my friend. I loved this post and I thought I would let you in on a little misnomer: The "Team Titans" are really the "Teen Titans." It is a show on TV or Youtube. Mike and I have not actually found that we like the boys to watch it, so it is on hold until some future point in time. Thought you might want to check them out, in case the boys start asking to watch the show:)