If you are sleeping on the couch again on account of your insomnia, it’s a good feeling to wake up to a blurry cartoon, because then you know you have made it through the night. If you fell asleep to TPT Channel 2.1, that is, because cartoons start at 6am. By the way, I goofed the other day when I said I woke up to Are you Being Served? I guess it is actually Keeping Up Appearances. Again, I know nothing about either one of these shows (other than they might be BBC comedies?) because I’m supposed to be asleep.
So, today not only were there blurry cartoons, but it was actually almost 7am! We slept in! Luckily the kindergartener has really heavy footsteps THUD THUD THUD so I always know when he’s coming downstairs and I can quick find the remote and turn off the TV before he gets there and wants to argue with me about How come I can’t watch cartoons? You were watching cartoons. No morning TV on school days. It’s the rule.
Today, which is Tuesday, sleepy head boy plops down next to me on the couch and climbs under the blanket.
“Mrs. Hennen Day!” he announces.
He wakes up enthusiastic about something like this every single day. It is a sight to behold. For the past twelve months or so, I have been so jealous of his five-year-old outlook on life, where Everything is new! Everything is exciting! And frankly I have been more than a little resentful that I have to be around that kind of youthful zest for life on a daily basis, because it has been in such stark contrast to my own mood, and my waking thoughts are typically more along the lines of Last Night’s Dishes! Shit Everywhere! Someone’s going to kill themselves stepping on your damn Legos! Stop Talking Until I Have Some Coffee!
But here is the good news: magically, lately, I seem to be able to join him there in that Oh Goody It’s Another Day! world of his. It had been a particularly long bout of depression, with my getting out of bed each morning for the sole purpose of going to get enough coffee to improve my outlook (which, by the way, wasn’t working so I was up to 6 cups a day, like that damn lab mouse pushing the cocaine button, more more more), followed by crabbily getting the kids off to school so I could squander precious time until they arrived home and began to drive me crazy again. And slowly, over the past month or so, the fog has lifted. I have recently re-captured my prior enthusiasm for waking up to face another day with two smallish children. Even better, not just facing, but thoroughly enjoying another day with them. I am not a religious person and it still makes me want to say Praise Be to God, in a totally not irreverent way.
All 5-year-olds are energetic to a degree, but this weekend I also learned that the kindergartener’s 20-year-old cousin and the friends in her dorm refer to our kindergartener as “The Squirrel on Crack.” Perhaps this is a phrase the youngsters are using these days to describe a lot of people, but still, it was new to me, and it is a bit sobering to hear these words used to describe your own offspring, and to think “Yeah. You’re totally right.” Apparently his father was equally squirrelish and crackish as a lad. More on that to come.
So back to the kindergartner [just discovered I have maybe been spelling this wrong for my whole life? Sorry.] and I sitting on the couch, under the blanket, one of us still groggy. I’m not at all surprised when he immediately catches his calendar mistake, because he can go from zero to sixty in “two shakes of a lightbulb” as soon as his tiny neck is once again supporting the full weight of his perfectly shaped head.
“No, wait. No . . ..” . . . interrupts himself with a big yawn, sending even more oxygen to those cranking wheels. “It’s Tuesday,” he says on his exhale.
Mrs. Hennen Day (in other words, Library Day, which is always a good thing, is it not?), is Wednesday, which is tomorrow. Still, a big smile spreads across his face, and he adjusts himself, settling into the couch to assume his Ringo Starr (John Lennon?) persona, kind of a British, mumbly aloofness.
“Yeah. I’m so gonna be on TV today.”
“Oh?” I ask. “When?” Sometimes his guitar teacher pretends he is on TV at his lesson, filming him with a pretend camera. He has guitar lesson tonight.
“For like, today. Like, all the morning . . . all the entire big day.”
“Mmmm,” I nod. Of course you are. “What are you going to be doing on TV?”
Still in the British mumble: “Well, I’m gonna be dancing to music. And then they are gonna ask me a bunch of questions like, ‘What do you like?’ And I’m going to say ‘I like Batman . . . I own the Batcave, the Lego Batcave. I like Batman Legos. . . I like the Batpole. I like Dick Grayson’s look.
“Oh,” I say, sounding very interested now, because I am. “Can you tell me a little more about Dick Grayson’s look?”
“Well, no. . . ” he says, apologetic. Perhaps too personal. “But . . . I really like Batman Legos . . . I have a Poison Ivy one. I love the game of Life. [editor’s note, he’s played it once.] And chess [ed: he’s played it never].”
He shares a bit more about his love of Shows About Batman, and Schoolhouse Rock, and drums, but then I had to cut our interview short when he started saying this:
“Oh . . . and this is so awesome . . it would freak you out. . . I have this–” (his voice drops to a weird robot whisper with all the syllables given equal weight, his head nodding along with each syllable) “– in-vis-i-ble toi-let-in-my-room. . .” which I took as his five-year-old subconscious mind’s attempt to alert me to the fact that he might be about to pee on the couch. So we wrapped it up and ran to the potty.
Well, no wonder it’s so easy to be enthusiastic about getting out of bed each day when you think you are going to be on TV and interviewed the whole time. [Okay, I was seriously in the middle of typing that last sentence when the light bulb went off for me that maybe part of my improved mood IS in fact getting to talk about myself and my life all the entire big day, here on this blog. Awkward moment. So Depressive Disorder gone, Narcissistic Personality Disorder here. Awesome! Moving on . . .]
So after he came back from the potty I was there at the dining room table snapping a photo of the Inappropriate Book Selection for last Thursday’s kindergartener guest reader gig (I just remembered THAT is what today’s post is SUPPOSED to be about, but now I’m thinking we’re going to have to come back to it tomorrow). Most of the guest readers (aka the parents that come in to read to the kids, aka mystery readers, aka misery readers, aka history readers) are choosing to bring in stuff like Guess How Much I Love You, or children’s literary classics or maybe a nice book about filling people’s buckets. Here is what Henry picked out for me to “read” last Thursday when I was Mystery Reader:
So he sees the Josie And the Pussycats cover (ARCHIE & VALERIE ARE BACK!), and sits down at the dining room table next to me and goes back into Interview Mode, with the same Ringo Starr/John Lennon voice:
“Well . . . we like Rock and Roll . . . Batman . . . the R.G.’s [ed: if it isn’t already clear, he means the Archies] . . . Beronica and Junkhead . . .”
“Who is your favorite Archie?” I ask.
“Well, my favorite Archie is Archie.”
“How about Betty & Veronica?” I ask. “Who do you like better?”
Blondes or Brunettes? is what I’m thinking. Samantha or Serena? Jeannie or her dark-haried sister? (Who amazingly, is also named Jeannie. You can totally Google it.)
“I like both of them,” he says. “But my favorite is, well, Beronica. And Betty. I still love Betty.”
So it turns out he actually IS Archie, caught in that perpetual love triangle.
“What do you like about Veronica?”
“Well, she talks in a different way . . .” [I admit, he has seen one Archie cartoon. Maybe two. So he does know the voices.]
Another Archie’s cover catches his eye. “Well, she loves red and purple, I know that. And she (now referring to Betty, I’m guessing) likes blue. And this is a kissing one, too,” he says, pointing to the cover.
“Do you like this one?” I ask, meaning ‘the kissing one.’
“Maybe,” he says vaguely, his mumbling British voice trailing off as he looks into the distance, head slowly nodding.
He seems suddenly older, and wiser, perhaps imagining himself in his trademark skinny Beatles suit, a cigarette carelessly dangling from his hand. He has gone to a place where only a more seasoned interviewer could perhaps follow . . . a Liverpool club? Riverdale High? Wayne Manor? His distant gaze tells me our interview is over. And we need to eat breakfast, and start our day, before Daddy comes down and wonders how the hell we can be up for a full hour and not have even started packing lunches or doing last night’s dishes or anything.
Tomorrow’s post will have part two of the Archie fixation (seriously, I do not understand that industry. Kiss Archie, Jesus Archie, Obama and Palin Archie, I kid you not.) And we’ll talk about the book we actually read to the kindergarteners, which although not classic children’s literature, was slightly less inappropriate than Archie #631.
Phineas and Ferb Lost at Sea.