So there we were in the bathroom tonight, me putting the toothpaste on Will’s toothbrush as he was talking about the plastic boat he saw under the big table in his room.

“Oh, [????],” he said, “I didn’t know I had three boats.”

“What did you just say?” I asked.

Silence, of course.

“Did you just say ‘shoot’?” I said, hopeful.

Guilt all over his face, he looked at me. Then he shook his head.

“You didn’t just say ‘shoot’?” Doesn’t hurt to give him another chance, right?

No, he shook his head again.

“So you really said, ‘shit’?” I asked.

Taking the toothbrush from me, he started brushing his teeth. He nodded.

Mommy, I blame this on you.

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Had to share this morning’s conversation with Lucy and Will:

As we were getting ready to leave for school, Lucy mentioned that she was sad because her best friend (Lydia) had a new best friend (Hannah), and that even though they were all sitting in the same group at school, it was ending up being not fun at all because Lydia and Hannah always chose each other for partners and not Lucy. Ugh. If there’s anything that I have absolutely no answers for, it’s that.

I also happen to know that there’s pretty much nothing to say to make her feel better. So what I said was: I know how sad it makes you. It’s an awful feeling. And sometimes it has something to do with you, and other times it doesn’t, so the important thing is how you handle it.

Then I found myself telling her how I had this friend who was following, like, 54 of the 52 people following her on Twitter. Who was one of the two she wasn’t following? Yep, me. “But,” I told Lucy, trying to get back to a point that would actually make sense to her, “even though it made me sad, I know she’s still my friend and I’ll just make sure to be the best friend I can be to her anyway.”

It did seem to help a little. And then Will chimed in, saying to Lucy, “Did you tell her? I would just tell her that she’s making me sad. Antonio’s my friend and he doesn’t make me sad.”

Lucy, of course, glared at him. Sympathy, Will. Sympathy, not solutions.

“Antonio will always be my friend,” Will continued, oblivious. “Ezra’s my friend, too.” Ezra, i.e., Lydia’s brother. “Ezra will always be my friend.”

Since this didn’t help things at all, I ended up spending the next several minutes trying to make Lucy feel better. As we were leaving the house, Will, exasperated, just said to me, “Why don’t you just tell her to be happy? Why do you need to say all the other things?”

Lucy, being more Lucy-like, rolled her eyes. “It doesn’t work like that. You can’t just make something happen. If you wanted John McCain to be president, you can’t just go up to Barack Obama and say, You’re not president any more. Things don’t work that way.”

Will looked at Lucy then looked at me. He looked at where Kelley’s car would have been if Kelley hadn’t had to leave for NY an hour before. Even at six, he knew enough to realize there was just too much estrogen involved for him to get any further. “I’m out of this,” he said, holding up his hands and shaking his head. And then he played with his cars.

*****

Been absolutely crazed lately — three major work projects (6-month; 1-year; and 2-year projects) culminating during the same three week period that also had the Gala (last weekend) and Jess’ shower (this weekend). Oh, and everyone getting sick, etc., etc. I say that all just so everyone knows that yes, I owe everyone emails or calls on just about everything — and I owe a resolution to that last post. (Sorry to leave you hanging.)

So, the big update: Will’s not allergic to peanuts. He still can’t have other kinds of nuts — I’m particularly concerned about almonds — but PB&J sandwiches have come back to the household. Of course, in the last two weeks he’s visited the dentist (he might need to have a crown — have you ever heard of a 6-year-old with a crown?), the eye doctor (he needs glasses), the neurologist (the tics just keep on coming), and the walk-in clinic at his pediatrician’s twice, thanks to his croup coming back (a week after Lucy’s came and went). So, well, yes we need to get him back to the allergist, but the poor kid hears the word ‘appointment’ and practically has a panic attack. We need to call, but he needs a break.

A few weeks ago, a terrible thing happened: we gave Will a stack of books before checking for dead flies.

Now, in most households, you wouldn’t expect this to be something you’d need to do. Will, however, is petrified by (of?) flies. Over the fall, our house seemed to be invaded by big, fat flies, making their presence known. Every night before bed we did a fly check and kill; God forbid you went anywhere without a fly swatter within range. Even now, I quake as I realize I have no idea where one is. I still shiver at the memory of the bloodcurdling scream from when that slight buzz was heard.

So, now that you know the history, it might not surprise you that, on that fateful night, when Will turned his head to the stack of books that has become in his mind one of the things that makes all the world right, the sight of a dead fly on Fizz the Fire Truck’s book binding shook him to his core. Since that night, we’ve had to inspect each book before putting it on the bed. He refuses to go near the trash can where the dead fly was disposed of. And, each night since then, I’ve had to come up with the three things he can think about so he won’t be scared.

Despite all this, I had no idea what the root of the fear actually was. This conversation from earlier this evening shed some light on the subject. It started with the requisite, “Mommy, are there any dead flies on the books?”

“There aren’t any dead flies on the books,” I answered, trying to keep the impatience out of my voice. “Besides,” I said, “they’re dead. They can’t do anything to you.”

After looking at me for a good, long moment, Will said, “But what if they turn into zombies?”

“They won’t turn into zombies,” I answered, silently cursing Fahad and Antonio, the two boys in his class that keep talking about zombies and beasties. “That doesn’t happen.”

Undeterred, Will said, “But dead people do.”

“Do what?” I asked, not sure where he was going with this.

“Turn into zombies,” he replied.

“No,” I said. “That doesn’t happen either.” (Being the Buffy fan that I am, I did knock on wood.)

“What about baby Jesus?” he asked, taking things down an entirely different road.

“What do you mean baby Jesus?” I said, trying to hide my surprise. I mean, I know this kid has a lot of things running through his head, but this isn’t exactly something I would have come up with, even with my own overactive imagination.

Solemnly, he said, “Baby Jesus came back to life.”

And here’s where you need a little background. Over the Christmas vacation, we had quite a conversation on our way to NYC, during which the subject of Baby Jesus came up. (One of these days, I’ll try to get that conversation down as well. It was a good one. Trust me.) Needless to say, there was some talk about that third day.

Ummm… “Baby Jesus is different. He was very special. When he came back to life it was good; he watches over people. He didn’t turn into a zombie.”

“Don’t say that word,” Will said.

“Zombie?” I foolishly repeated.

“I SAID DON’T SAY THAT WORD!!!!!!”

“O.k., o.k.” Dumb mommy. That’s, like, one of the first things you’re supposed to learn in Mommy School. I must have missed that class. “Pretend I didn’t say it.”

“I don’t want to talk about this any more,” he said. “What else should I think about? And don’t say anything about the thing happening tomorrow.”

Almost making the same mistake again, I said, “You mean-”

“I SAID DON’T SAY IT!!!”

Sigh. Right. “Then think about Jasper, Sour Patch Kids Watermelon, and opening the presents from your birthday party.”

“What else?”

Ugh. More than three things? “I can’t think of anything else. After that, just count to 1500.”

“I can’t count to 1500. I don’t know anything past 9 billion.”

Oh, my God. Do not laugh. Do not even crack a smile. That might have been the only lesson I did learn, but at least I’ve got that one down. “1500 is less than 9 billion.”

He looked at me suspiciously. I saw my opening. “Good night, Will. I love you.”

“Me too, Mommy. Good night.”

Today was Lucy’s first day of third grade. And, just because I have the technology, here’s a picture:

Lucy's first day of school

Lucy and Will on Lucy's first day of school

She was both excited and nervous. She truly does seem to love school, so I think that she was eager to get started, and yet she’s been quite concerned about how hard third grade is going to be. As she said in her tearful breakdown of last week: “They’re going to expect me to do harder math and write more and… and… Everything’s changing now and I don’t like it. Why can’t it be like it was when I was three? All we had to know how to do was play.”

O.k. So maybe that’s not verbatim, but it’s pretty close. You get the idea.

I am NOT related to those people behind me.

"I am NOT related to those people behind me."

She walked ahead of us all the way up the hill to the school. We saw Jiovan right away, and Matthew, two of my favorite kids in her grade. Then, as we walked past the hopscotch and sat down on the stone wall (with her, once again, keeping her distance), Ruth walked in through the gates. Oh, joy! Even better, Ruth had the same Hannah Montanna messenger bag as Lucy did, so they had something to talk about right off the bat. (Oddly enough, 8-year-olds don’t waste time on the adult standbys of ‘How was your summer?’ and ‘Went by so fast, didn’t it?’ They just get right to the awkward silence part. Much more efficient.) Although she rolled her eyes, Lucy did allow me to get a picture of the two of them (well, three, including Ruth’s baby brother.

Lucy, Ruth (and Ruth's brother), and the Hannah Montanna bags.

Lucy, Ruth (and Ruth's brother), and the Hannah Montanna bags

Then she spotted Francesca, and then Jiovan came over again. Somehow I managed to catch the four of them in the (literally) three seconds that Jiovan sat still. I think my threatening him with the pictures I had from their kindergarten days may have been what worked. A few more minutes later, Lucy saw her new teacher. She stood in awe for a few seconds, wondering, I think, if her teacher knew who she was. When it was clear that yes, her new teacher did know her, all was well.

The crowd began to swell a bit, and before we knew it, the gates were open and the kids were let loose onto the playground. And so we came upon one of those eternal parental dilemmas: should we stay or should we go? Lucy was definitely keeping her distance. She didn’t actually say, Mo-om (the two drawn out syllables that are difficult to spell, but that every parent knows intimately), but it was definitely implied. Although there were a bunch of others sticking around, we left.

The whole lot of 'em.

The whole lot of 'em

As soon as we started down the hill, I had second thoughts: what if she looks up and expected to see us, but we’re gone? Have I ruined her ability to trust all adults from here on in? Have I left her to the awful mean girls on the grounds of the school? Have I inadvertently sent a message to all the teachers that I’m not a supportive parent? What have I done?????

Reenacting the same walk from four years ago, when we left her for her first day of kindergarten, Kelley said, “Just keep walking. She’s fine. No, we didn’t leave her to evil things.” (O.k. So that’s not exactly verbatim, either, but well, you get that point, too.) Realizing that Will is silently taking all of this in, I just bite my lip, try not to cry, and move the heck on.

Life got a little frustrating from there.

We went back home to get Will’s stuff, then turned around to bring him to Owen’s for the morning. With him happily playing legos, I was out of the Nash household by 10:25 and off to spend a couple hours working at the library. Not, unfortunately, the library that I had hoped, since that one doesn’t open until noon on Thursdays. After spending a good 20 minutes in gridlocked traffic, I found my way to another branch.

I’m not naming any names, since this one just really wasn’t what I’d been hoping for. The parking lot was gravel and weeds — actually, it was the parking lot for the abandoned gas station next door. Once inside, I actually kind of liked the atmosphere, although it was definitely 70s era. I turned on my laptop so I could get to work, though, and there was no wireless. That was highly annoying, since I can absolutely guarantee you that people are emailing me and wondering why I’m not responding, but without the wireless, I can’t even put an away message. Grrrr.

I would have stayed to do work, but I felt lost. Then, being lost, I really wanted some coffee. Then, deciding that my day simply couldn’t start without my coffee, I got all antsy. And then the storytime started on the other side of the wall from where I was sitting.

Oh, goodness. It all started coming at me: Bad mom! Bad mom! (You leave your son with a friend instead of spending quality time with him like all the happy parents and kids next door, including the effervescently cheerful storyteller?) Worse mom! Worse mom! (You leave your son with a friend in order to work, but you didn’t even check out whether or not you’d be able to?) Worst mom in the world! Worst mom in the world! (You leave your son with a friend in order to do work that you can’t do and then the thing that’s really bothering you is that you haven’t had coffee yet?)

Sigh. Run away. Run away quickly.

Back I was in grid-locked traffic, determined to find a Dunkin Donuts where I could both drink coffee and get work done. Knowing that there was one right up the road, I thought, well, why the heck not? Alas, the one up the street was a drive-thru only. Foiled again.

O.k. GPS time. Find the closest DD other than that one. On your way there, drive past the Nash house and feel guilty all over again. Remind yourself that Will is having a much better time playing with Owen than he would be with you getting lost on the streets of West Roxbury and being in a non-coffee’d up state.

I finally found the Dunkin Donuts and then decided to go to the library branch that I would have been at originally if it hadn’t opened at noon. I got to the library at a few minutes after 11. (Yes, that whole saga took 40 minutes.) It took me ten more minutes to drive past it, turn into the CVS parking lot, wait until the annoying car in front of me worked it’s way through the lot, run back around, and park in front of the library. Yay, shady benches right there in front! I got out the computer — and my iced coffee and breakfast sandwich — and happily sat down. Perfection.

Except not so much, thanks to my uncanny ability to attract people, even when I have my back to them, my head hunched down, and I offer monosyllabic answers as they begin complaining about the 45 minutes they have to wait until the library opens and they don’t want to waste the gas to go back home, given the prices these days.

Really? I just went through all of that to have that conversation?

Trying to be even more obvious — while also at the time not being completely rude (yes, I realize this is why those conversations continue) — I began getting my computer out of my backpack. The fateful decision was that I decided to do so despite my breakfast sandwich not being done. Did I put the sandwich down? No, I decided to be all fancy and do it one-handed. Any guesses as to what happened next? Yep. You got it. I done flung that breakfast sandwich over the back of the bench. There it sat, strewn across the lovingly landscaped West Roxbury library lawn. I did have the thought that maybe the West Roxbury lawns, being West Roxburyian and all, were clean enough for me to still eat it. If the cheese hadn’t been all mulched by that point, I might even have tried it. But alas, mulched it was. As I threw it away, I told myself that I shouldn’t have been having a breakfast sandwich anyway. It didn’t help.

So here I sit, breakfast sandwich now in the trash, sitting on the bench and writing this post. Not posting this post, mind you, since I have no wireless still, but writing it nevertheless. Now off to work…

***

I am happy to report that work got done. Amazing how productive you can be when you don’t have email to distract you. Will and I went on to have a lovely afternoon meeting his new teacher and some of his classmates, getting a special McDonald’s lunch, and hanging out with Aidan from across the street.

And this all brings me to his agenda for tomorrow. He wants to buy me a car.

As you all know, Will is obsessed with cars. One of his latest things is that he wants to buy me one. I mean, he really wants to. Not a toy one, mind you, a real one.

Last week, he came into the dining room and told me that, for my birthday, he was going to buy me some trucks. Big ones, like Owen’s dad’s.

“Really,” I murmured. ‘Where are you going to get the money?”

“I have a lot of coins in my bank,” he answered.

“I’m not sure if that’s enough,” I said. “Trucks cost a lot of money.”

He thought for a moment. “That’s o.k. I’ll put the dirt from Wendy’s Cow House in bags and sell it. It smells good. People will want some.”

(You think I’m making that one up. I’m not. I swear.)

Well o.k. then. “Thanks.” (I mean, what else could I say? Truly.)

He nodded and went back into the living room.

Clearly, it wasn’t just a one time thing. Today’s conversation happened while we were driving to meet Kelley for our First Day of School dinner celebration at Cabot’s. On our way, we passed three dealerships.

“Mommy,” Will said. “Are those car stores?”

Yep.

“Tomorrow I’m going to buy you one car from each one.”

Which of course brought up the cost issue again — “Will, they cost a lot of money.”

He gave me that glare of his that says, Do you not remember that we’ve already discussed this? “I’ll bring my bank. There’s a lot of money in there. If Daddy comes with me, they’ll let me get one.”

The topper was when we got home and got the mail. Both Will and Lucy received a card from Grandma and Grandpa. In each card, was a wonderful surprise — $5 for Lucy, $2 for Will. (Now normally, of course, I wouldn’t be so crass as to discuss such details, but how else to share the ending to the story?) Will’s eyes lit up like you wouldn’t believe. “This kind is paper money. Now I’ll have even more to buy you a car.”

So who knows? Kelley’s got Will tomorrow and who am I to say that they shouldn’t be buying me a new car? The next time you see me, I might be driving a fancy new pick-up. Or maybe not. O.k. Probably not, but only time will tell.