…Though that will come sooner or later…
This post is about hanging out with Lil’B. I’ve amended our hanging out schedule a little bit and now, I see him every other Sunday afternoon and on the week that I don’t see him on Sunday, we’re going to have dinner on that Monday night. I have been aware that our every other weekend schedule has been insufficient for him. I could tell that he wanted more, I’ve just been slow in making that happen.
Last night was our first Monday dinner and I could tell when I picked him up he was excited about it. He was all smiles and he even dressed up… in fact, I found out later, he dressed up more than I thought. He borrowed a pair of black fabric tennis shoes from his 19-year-old sister “because all [his] shoes were dirty.” (Fortunately, they didn’t look particularly like girls shoes. Amazingly, they fit him perfectly, his toes right where they should have been.)
I was a little bit unprepared so we went to dinner at Applebee’s in Alameda, not too far from our houses. I plan to take him to all kinds of fun places and explore our neighborhoods and the ones around us. I want to try to balance exposing him to the neighborhood he lives in with lots of his own culture (he lives in what could be referred to as Little Mexico), but also get him out of the neighborhood and show him other walks of life. Basically, I want to teach him not to be ashamed of where he comes from, but that there is more to the world and to life than what he sees now.
When I picked him up, I asked him if he had any homework we should bring with us and take a look at. He happily pulled his math homework (something he doesn’t need any help with) out of his backpack and brought it with us. In the car I asked him the usual questions:
“How was school?”
“What’d you study?”
“I don’t know.”
“What’d you have for lunch?”
“I don’t know.”
“Are you hungry?”
“Did you have an afternoon snack?”
“Hmmm. Well, we’ll see how hungry you are when there’s a menu in front of you.”
He’d never been to an Applebees and he thought it was pretty cool. He was especially impressed with the fact that the waitress brought him a second Pepsi when his first one was gone, even though no one asked for it. (I think that’s pretty cool too, but probably for different reasons.)
They fold the kids menu into a little packet with four crayons inside it, which Lil’B thought was pretty cool and he enjoyed the games on it. He ordered Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese, which was a pretty neet racket, since they charged me $4.99 for what amounted to about a quarter (if that) of a box of Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese which you can purchase at the store for about a buck fifty, but whatever.
When we finished dinner, he gathered his things so we could leave. He had his homework packet, a pencil and his menu (which he had folded back up into a packet and tucked the crayons away). He took about three steps and dropped his homework. He stooped to pick it up and took a couple more steps before he dropped his pencil. He stopped and picked it up and took a couple more steps and before he dropped the menu packet. As he stooped and picked that up, I chucked congenially and as I joked, “got anything else you wanna drop?”, I gesticulated wildly, and a ring flew off my right ring finger and hit the wall in front of him. I’m pretty sure he didn’t catch the irony in that, but I thought it was pretty funny!
We talked about Halloween. He’s really looking forward to trick or treating and getting lots of candy! He told me that this year his school instituted a rule for costumes that they can not include weapons and they can’t include blood (too scary for the kindergarteners) so that really reduces his options for costumes. He said he thought he might be a soccer player. I was pretty happy with that since last year he was a monster and the year before that he was the killer from Scream that had a pump that made fake blood run down the face. (Later his older sister told me he was probably going to be a zombie soccer player. I’m less impressed.)
In the course of that conversation he told me he had never had candy corn. How is that possible? At almost ten years old, he’s never had candy corn?!? I had to correct that post haste, and fortunately, there was a Walgreens in the same parking lot with the Applebee’s.
When we walked into Walgreens they had a display of Halloween decorations, including a Scream guy with a knife in his hand. You press a button and it lights up, makes a noise and the knife comes at you. Lil’B pressed the button and jumped when it lurched toward him. For all his talk about monsters and zombies and stuff, I thought that was pretty funny.
All in all, he seemed to have a really good time, as did I. The outing seems to have been a great success, which is really good, because I just realized, this may be the most boring blog post I’ve ever written….