...for a different kind of girl

silent surburban girl releasing her voice, not yet knowing what all she wants to say about her life and the things that make it spin. do you have to be 18 to be here? you'll know when i know.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

hot dogs and afternoon delights

We met at lunch. He wasn't supposed to be my dining companion, but I noticed him leaning back on the bench to stare at me. When I'd smile, he'd act nonchalant until, finally, he caved and grinned back. A few moments later, we found ourselves together in a darkened room.

"I don't normally do this kind of thing," I whispered. "It's the middle of the afternoon, and we should be doing other things. With other people. People who love us. It's because I love someone else that I came here in the first place!" As my words trailed off, he nestled his head in my lap and smiled - a lopsided and contented grin just barely discernible in the shadows. The smile was designed to distract me, but I had to confess.

"I don't know when I'll get back here again," I said. "Also, and I hate to admit this, but I don't remember your name."

Accepting my fickle absentmindedness, he responded with a pleasantry offered just a little too loudly. "I like you. You smell good! Like cookies! You smell like cookies! I like you! And I like Optimus Prime, too. He's cool! I have an Optimus Prime action figure. Do you like the Transformers? Do you have any Transformer action figures? I love the Transformers. Have you seen this Transformers shirt I'm wearing? My grandma is coming over tonight and my Mom and Dad are packing their bags and leaving."

And just like that, the noise of the 45 other five and six year olds in the room started to swell and compete with the episode of "Between the Lions" airing on the classroom television, and drug me back to reality. Also, my child, the one I'd come to school to share lunch with, tapped me on the shoulder, flicked his thumb at my young paramour - head still in my lap, still picturing me as a robot in disguise - and said, "Jamie's the one who cut my Superman shirt with his scissors, Mom." Clearly, having smitten my family with school supplies (and my heart with his freckled nose), the brief love Jamie and I shared with each other (and chocolate chip cookies), was doomed to die.

In my defense, I was left vulnerable to Jamie's charms from the moment I arrived at my son's kindergarten class. Excited to have me join him for a delicacy of hot dogs, baked beans and a sherbet cup, I planned to be the ideal lunch date for my son. Pondered the perfect outfit. Spritzed on the perfume, fluffed the hair, and showed up with a huge smile. As soon as I entered his classroom, the whispering started. "You're mom's here. You're mom's here." You're like Gulliver traveling Lilliput when you enter the wondrous realm of a kindergarten classroom. Maybe you're not bound and ventured upon (well, I mean, Jamie stopped short of bindings), but there's lots of little people pointing at the new big person in the room. A lot of pointing.


Like, if I weren't comfortable in the person I am now as a full blown grown up, I'd have thought this gang of five and six year olds were ganging up on me, and preparing to go all John Bender smack talk on me. And, OK, maybe that possibility gave me a little gut ache and I wondered how I'd keep my upcoming hot dog down, and the teacher may have had to step in and put the kibosh on the pointing.

Despite the warning, I still watched by back as we walked down the hall to the lunchroom. That march is like the grand entrance of the clowns in the Ringling Brothers Circus. It's virtually impossible, I learned, for kids to not touch, jump, burp and chirp, which, I wonder, where is the turning point when it becomes not as hilarious to do this as an adult? And when might my dear husband hit it?

Once crammed into tables with our tray of food, lunch room aids circled me and patted me on the back, thanking me for coming, like i was in some gourmet restaurant. I talked to the lunch room aids more than my own child, who dug that I was there, but dug it smugly and with zero conversation for me. His silence left me susceptible to the wiley Jamie. I feel our relationship was predestined. Finding out he was a cutter was my "of course" moment. I have a soft spot for the damaged souls, it would seem, even if the extent of the angst was taken out on my kid's Superman shirt.

Forty-five minutes later, my brief dalliance with Jamie was over as the class ventured back to their room for a math lesson. I hope he misses me. I can't help it. I hope he knows I miss him a little bit, too. The bad boys have always done it for me.

If you're out there Jamie, I'm a Megatron girl, and I'm giving you my cookies next time I come for lunch.


Blogger XI Summit said...

May your husband be forever young. And next time label the eggs correctly.

That's all I got to say ...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger FTN said...

You really like to play the field in the lunchroom, don't you?

I met my daughter for lunch on her birthday a couple of months ago. All the kindergarteners in the lunchroom looked at me like I was a giant. I heard lots of "Wow!" and "oohs" and "aaahs." Aparently to the 6-year olds, I'm a sideshow freak.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Backpacking Dad said...

Awesome. Just awesome.

Sometimes. No. All the time. I go to playgroups just to play with the other kids.

And because I'm the dad, and so the strange looking one in the group, I get all the attention and usually end up with a horde of babies trying to climb on me.

I love it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger Desmond Jones said...

Very cool, DKG.

Once in a blue moon, I'll drop in on my kids' school during the day (maybe on one of those odd 'UAW holidays' that us auto-company employees get once in a while that nobody else gets, except federal employees, and sometimes not even them), and it's always a treat. Once, I went to the 5th-grade class as a sort of show-and-tell - 'Look, kids! Mr. Jones is a REAL engineer! He does Math Stuff for his job!' 'Oooooooh!'

Which has sorta worked in my kids favor, tho they might not necessarily see it that way. 'Cuz, when they struggle with some math in high school, their teachers will say something like, 'Hey, your dad's an engineer; get him to help you with it'. Which, as I say, is a blessing they're not always quick to perceive. . .

Anyway, sorry for rambling a bit far afield of your post. When the day comes, you'll let Jamie down softly, won't you?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008 10:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you. Far too many children seem to have to grow up so much faster than their parents.

And thank you for the character you are teaching your son.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger Laura B. said...

That's priceless. Oh...and your hubby coloring the wrong eggs...that could have so happened in our house. What's wrong with them? Did their Moms drop them on their heads as infants in hopes that they would torment their future wives? Gah....

Wednesday, March 26, 2008 1:59:00 PM  
Anonymous TwoBusy said...

"You smell good! Like cookies!" is a wonderful, wonderful pick-up line. I can't imagine there's any defense for that.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008 2:10:00 PM  
Blogger Melody said...

Next time you go - Wear the Play-doh perfume. What? You haven't heard of this??



It's guaranteed to drive the little ones crazy!

Went to visit my kindergartener for lunch recently, but his school has tables in the hall for parents who come for lunch, so he didn't have to share me at all...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008 3:01:00 PM  
Blogger kimmyk said...

I had a guy once tell me I smelled sweet like a cupcake and it made me cringe.
If I had a kid tell me I smelled good like a chocci chip cookie? I'd wanna take a gander at his pops cause you know that man is a smooth talker, teachin' his kid at such an early age.

There's always one of them kids in the class that just tugs at your heart strings isn't there?
I miss those days. Days of being important when you go to your children's school. Now when I go it's cause one of mine forgot their practice clothes. Or a book. Or lunch money. Not because they want me to enjoy a hotdog and a book in the corner in a beanbag chair.

Enjoy these special days while you can.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008 6:22:00 PM  
Blogger Bee said...

My sister once asked me if I could be a helper at my niece's school. I broke out in hives and asked her why she hated me. I don't do well amongst kids. :o{

Wednesday, March 26, 2008 7:57:00 PM  
Blogger Bee said...

And people are always judging me.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008 7:57:00 PM  
Blogger The Savage said...

Wow.. I had an image of you bound to the beach with dental floss sized ropes.... I'm drooling now....
Hummina.... (yes, I really am this pervy in real life too)
I lust you....

Wednesday, March 26, 2008 8:24:00 PM  
Blogger 1blueshi1 said...

hehehe, Zac is getting too old now to want me to come eat lunch with him, but I have a GREAT picture from the Mother's Day Tea last year...like you, I carefully designed an outfit, asked someone to take a picture of me and Zac...unfortunately at that particular stage of his growth, his head was somewhat upstaged in the photograph by my boobs...hehehe. have a great day honey!

Thursday, March 27, 2008 6:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh, from the mouths of babes! i officially embarrass my son now at school. he has declared it so, but seeing that i thought he would discover this obvious fact by age 3 i am quite impressed that we got all the way to age 4 before he started calling my freak and denying to classmates that i birthed him.

Love this blog post, diff gal. You always make me smile! have a great day!

Thursday, March 27, 2008 7:09:00 AM  
Blogger Bogart in P Towne said...

Growing up, when my mom showed up, my friends got excited. More than I did. She was the cool mom that everyone liked to have around. It was useful in getting friends and chicks in Jr. High.

Thursday, March 27, 2008 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger Wonderful World of Weiners said...

No spiders on my band shirts. DINNER PLATES ONLY!!!

Or a bulldog - just to confuse people!!

Hallie :)

Thursday, March 27, 2008 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger XI Summit said...

Tag: http://strangelyordinary.blogspot.com/2008/03/six-word-memoir.html

Thursday, March 27, 2008 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

XI - Oh, I am definitely married to a man who is, at his core, a perpetual 14 year old. A 14 year old who can't follow directions, but apparently I find that kind of thing charming, so what'cha gonna do, eh?!

FTN - I like to keep my options open no matter where I'm at. I can't help that I exude an inate killer charm. This is my cross to bear.

Backpacking Dad - You are like a god in these playgroups, aren't you!?

Des - There are secret UAW holidays? My jealousy is a bit tempered by the fact that I can't do math. I am the daughter of an engineer who tried to help me with my math and it usually involved a lot of crying! Sometimes he cried in frustration for me.

Jamie and I saw each other recently. We glanced knowingly at each other in the hallway, bu we will forever share a bond.

Anonymous - Thank you for the comment.

Laura - My husband still gives his mom a hard time and likes to think of ways to bug her. She probably hoped that marrying me would give her the break she'd eared after all those years with him, but now he's just doubly delighted to have us both to torment!

Twobusy - This kid wouln't be the first one who got a piece of my heart by telling me I smelled like baked goods!

Melody - I remember when those perfumes were out and available! I dig the smell of play-do, Silly Putty and crayons, so I'd should have been all over that, but I must have been to keyed into smelling like cookies at the time!

kimmy - I bet the kid's pops got his mom on board by telling her she smelled like cinnamon rolls. I'd cave for that kind of thing. I'm weak. And I like cupcakes!

Bee - Ha! Um, I actually sometimes think the first grade girls are talking smack about me, so I feel for you!

Bee - But I'd never judge you! Us mortal flusterers gotta stick together!

Savage - I play a way pervier person in real life, too! Thanks for bringing the goods back!

1blueshi1 - My oldest wouldn't want to jump into a photo with me at this point, and if he did, he'd be all scouwly and moody in a way that seems highly advanced even for his age!

Katie - I wondered what he'd think since he's with you in preschool, or around you, anyway, every school day. You know you're doing a good job when your kid thinks you're a freak at an early age!

Bogart - I hope I'm the cool mom. Maybe I'm semi-cool at this point. For now, it's just their friends calling at all hours and coming over, but I'll hone my skills for the time they think girls are cool!

XI - I rock the verbal mojo hardcore!

Thursday, March 27, 2008 2:54:00 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

WWW - My count was off! It always is! Know why? Because I was freaked out by the idea of giant spiders! Oh! Here's what you can have for the design - a giant eight legged dinner plate ON a web!! Just a thought!

Thursday, March 27, 2008 2:56:00 PM  
Blogger Backpacking Dad said...

I'm more like a Colossus than a god. Perhaps a Titan. Something bestriding the tiny tiny world of these crawling, bouncing, grappling monkeys.

Thursday, March 27, 2008 6:51:00 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

Backpacking Dad - Do you sport the Titan uniform? Because if you do, I could totally see how that would garner you the toddler attention!

btw - thank you for referring to children as my favorite mammal!

Thursday, March 27, 2008 11:21:00 PM  
Blogger Nanette said...

Aha! It was that date with the hotdogs that made you sick! I say, never trust a hot dog from a school cafeteria. NEVER!

You know, you should really be a writer and pick yourself up an espresso machine.

Saturday, March 29, 2008 5:07:00 PM  
Blogger Biscuit said...

*sigh* I was hoping to get your cookies.

Sunday, March 30, 2008 5:46:00 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

Nan - Honey, I never trust a weiner of any kind! The only weiner's I trust are the weiners I cook. I'm a damn good cook. Have you heard?

Biscuit - I got special cookies for you!

Sunday, March 30, 2008 10:11:00 PM  

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