Over the years, I have put a lot of effort into explaining, to the point of exhaustion, the meanings of and reasons behind the existence of almost everything, to my now seven year-old son. Kids are like little sponges, and their curiosity for understanding is so super cool, that I try my best to answer Azul’s questions as completely as possible; and if I don’t have a reply, I take the time for us to look it up together. Any topic can be put forth and jointly we have talked about subjects like death, religion, Star Wars and even what it means to be a dick.
The latter topic came up because I recently ordered the book, How Not To Be A Dick. In addition to all the talking we do, we also read constantly and the book was in a stack of mail on the kitchen counter.
Azul must have reflected on the book title for a few days, because he didn’t immediately ask, “What is this, How Not To Be A Dick book about?”
At this point I have had plenty of experience in expounding, so I jumped right in.
“It’s a book on etiquette, but it’s also a reflection of the comedic value of common sense. There are a few things that come into play to make it funny and the first is the title. There is a classic kids book called Dick and Jane which was used to teach good behavior. Good behavior is also called etiquette. In addition, Dick is the little boy’s name in the story and Dick is a nickname for Richard. So many Richards use the shorter version, Dick. But, dick can also be a bad word because dick is slang for penis, so if you call someone a dick you’re actually calling them a penis. Which is not very nice and you shouldn’t call people names, especially a penis, because that’s just weird. But, that’s why it’s humorous, you can read the title in a couple of ways, as not to be a Dick as in, the little boy Richard in the story book, or not to be a dick as in, a penis.”
I could have kept going if I weren’t loudly interrupted with, “Can you stop talking now?!”
I’m not sure if that was a question or a request, or maybe an emphatic statement, but I do know who needs to read this book next.
One of the interesting things about being a mom is you can relate to other moms. You will have personal conversations with women who are total strangers and these conversations range from funny and cool, to totally uncomfortable, and they can happen anywhere at any time. Mine was this afternoon, in line at the deli waiting to order sandwiches. Azul was with me, of course, and the older woman behind us started the conversation with, “He is adorable.” I gave the polite nod and a “Thank you.” She continued, “I remember when my sons were that age, they’re adults now, but when they are that age, they just love you and think you’re great and there is no better connection than a boy with his mom. Then they become teenagers and they don’t want to have anything to do with you and don’t even like you, like they did when they were little. Oh, the teenage years are rough, then they become adults and love you again and tell you, you were right and you weren’t so hard on them when they were teenagers and they really appreciate what you’ve done for them.” She continued talking without taking a breath or a break for me to join in the conversation. So, I waited, listening, smiling and nodding. Then I said, “Well, I plan to spend his teenage years much like I spent my own…drunk.” Not sure if it was a laugh or an awkward snicker I got in return.