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.

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At 8 a.m. this morning, with our 2 tablespoons of peanut butter in hand, Kelley, Will and I presented ourselves at the Children’s Hospital Allergy department so that Will could do his Food Challenge.

What’s a ‘food challenge,’ you might ask? Well, it’s when you take the thing that you’ve spent over a year avoiding due to its potential to cause the death of your child and, yes, you feed it to him.

Now, of course, the reason you do this at the hospital is so that, should that worst-case scenario seem imminent, there are presumably enough qualified medical personnel on hand to bring him back to life. Still, as he sat there, looking suspiciously at the nurse who’d just given him the spoonful of peanut butter and telling her that he wasn’t supposed to eat it, I had to use every bone in my body to resist telling him to drop it and run.

“It’s o.k., Will,” I said instead. “That’s why we’re here. To have you eat peanut butter.”

Since that night a year ago November we’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out what caused him to have such a ‘sudden and severe’ (the clinical terms, apparently) reaction on the side of the highway. There was no x-ray taken in the emergency room so no one was able to tell whether the top of his throat was closed (which would indicate anaphylaxis, i.e., what happens when you eat something you’re severely allergic to), the bottom of his throat was closed (which would indicate a severe case of croup or, alternatively, an asthma attack), or, simply, if he’d swallowed something and was choking on it.

The fact that he’d been asleep for three hours prior to suddenly waking up coughing pointed away from the choking idea, whereas the fact that his inhaler only seemed to make things worse made it seem like asthma wasn’t a factor either. In nearly a third of fatal anaphylactic shock cases, we were told, the case is never determined. Since Kelley had eaten a bag of nuts in the car two hours before the reaction occurred, however, it sounded like that could be the culprit.

When something like this happens, of course, the heavy artillery comes out. We carry EpiPens wherever we go. We read labels for hidden dangers. We know the doctor’s office phone number better than the phone numbers of most of our family. We also go to the doctor on a nearly monthly basis, whether for asthma check-ups or further allergy tests.

Over the past year Will has had skin tests to see what he might be allergic to. (Just about everything, apparently, although some things more severely than others.) With the peanut test being inconclusive, he had a second test (negative), and then a full-on blood test (negative). With food alergies, though, as anyone who has dealt with one knows, two negatives don’t necessarily make a negative. In order to be completely sure, you need to actually eat the food.

To be honest, I was less nervous about it I thought I’d be. Considering that, as we were in the height of the aftermath I wanted to just go and sit in the parking lot of the Emergency Room and have him eat a PB&J sandwich so that we could know once and for all, well, it was kind of nice to know that for once I seemed to be in synch with the world of science. It was kind of like getting the EpiPens — a calming of the nerves, so to speak.

And, after sitting there this morning for three hours in the safety of the nurses and doctors who work at one of the best children’s hospitals in the world, I was feeling all good and proud of myself that we’d made it through. He ate one spoonful of peanut butter, and then another. No swelling, no hives, no death. Thank you, God.

So I wasn’t at all prepared for the nurse to tell us as part of our discharge, “As you know, the reaction can take place up to 24 hours after exposure.”

Um, come again? “24 hours?” No. Suffice it to say that I didn’t know that. I didn’t know that at all. Even me, who worries about everything in the world, thought that all I needed to be concerned about was the 6-7 hours after he ate it. After all, that was the time period everyone seemed concerned with when they were trying to figure out what could have cause him to nearly stop breathing that night.

Still reeling from the fact that they were sending us back into the non-medically-trained-staff world of our daily lives, I almost missed the part where she said, “And we’d like him to eat 2 tablespoons of peanut butter each day for the next three days. Oh, and you shouldn’t do it before sending him off to school because you want to be in a position where you can watch him for the signs for at least half an hour afterwards. Be sure to have the EpiPen with you at all times. Bye, now.”

O.k. So maybe she wasn’t quite that flip. Actually, she was kind of great — both throughout the morning and at the end of it, taking the time to deal with my sudden inability to leave the protected womb of that hospital room and answering all my questions with confidence and reassurance. Still, I am now sitting here on my couch, TV off as I listen for him to suddenly wake up coughing like on that night a year and a half ago.

I look at the list of the symptoms we’re supposed to be watching for:

* Anxiety

His or mine?

* Itchy Skin

The kid has the driest skin ever. I’ve never known his skin not to be itchy.

* Throat Tightness

For a year I’ve been asking him if his throat is o.k. The more I do, the more anxious he gets. (Which means that I have no idea if the bullet point #1 anxiety, should it occur, is anaphylaxis-related or mommy-induced.)

* Hives

No way in hell he’s getting a bath until this testing period is over. I don’t care if he’s so dirty that he looks like Pigpen. I am simply not capable of thinking clearly enough to make the distinction between hives caused by his dry skin reacting to the bath and hives caused by peanut butter. I pick the free pass on that one.

* Facial and/or Lip Swelling

I guarantee you that if you look at your kid to see if his lips are swollen (and therefore indicating that a potentially fatal reaction is about to occur) you will see a set of lips that are swollen. And, by the way, allowing him to have a Pixie Stik as a treat after dinner is a very bad idea. Sour/sugary abrasive dusty candy does not a non-swollen set of lips make.

* Vomiting/Diarrhea

* Stomach Cramps

Well, yes. These are kind of obvious. But when you’ve spent the last month trying to avoid getting the stomach bug that various friends and family members are getting, how the hell are you supposed to know if it’s just a case of bad timing?

* Coughing

* Sneezing

He has a cold. ‘Nuff said.

There are a few more items on the ‘Watch For’ list, “fainting” and “loss of consciousness” among them. I figure that if those happen, I’m pretty clear on the need to dial 911. Then again, he’s now asleep in bed. Kind of hard to determine whether someone’s lost consciousness when they’re already out cold.

The rule of thumb, apparently, is that if two ‘systems’ are affected simultaneously — i.e., if he’s vomiting at the same time he’s got hives — then it’s an anaphylactic reaction. Although he’s coughed throughout the day, sneezed quite a bit, and been itching his skin for hours (“But it’s just normal itching, Mommy”), I’m fairly certain he isn’t experiencing anaphylaxis. Yet. And I am desperately trying to believe the words that our asthma case manager said to me the week after this happened — despite the dark, despite the highway driving, despite the fact that you’d heard him cough on countless occasions before: “You knew.”

We knew that the cough was different that time. We knew something was wrong enough that we pulled off onto the side of the highway. We knew something was wrong enough that we called an ambulance to meet us on the Mass Pike at midnight on the Saturday night after Thanksgiving.

On the Monday morning after this all happened, we sent Will to school with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It wasn’t even a full 48 hours later, and at that point, no one had indicated that this could have been an allergic reaction. At that point, no one had yet mentioned that he was about this close to dying that night. At that point, I hadn’t yet had my near-nervous breakdown in the parking lot of his school when I left him in that room and realized that one of these days, I could be saying good-bye to him for the last time.

He didn’t die on that day, though, nor did he have a reaction of any kind that anyone can remember. So tonight, as I am sitting here and straining to hear any signs of distress, I will cling to that. He’s eaten peanut butter without any reaction. He’s had test upon test to bring us to this point. And, according to the discharge paperwork, he ‘was able to complete this challenge,’ which means that, according to all that is known, he ‘has likely outgrown the food allergy.’

But oh, how these next four days are going to suck.

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.”

The second child really does get the short end of the stick, doesn’t he? (I hear Jessica yelling: Hell, yeah!)

I’ll have you know, part of the reason that I didn’t give Will nearly as much air time as Lucy re. first day things was because we were spending quite a bit of time in the doctor’s office with him, dealing with all sorts of fun (not) tests for various blood diseases, coughs, hives, etc. As of now, all appears to be as well as could be. The blood disease (yes, the bad blood diseases that start with “L”) appears to have been nothing but a virus that gave the doctor some weird readings. We still have to go back for a follow-up test, but no one appears to be worried. Well, no one who actually knows what they’re talking about — I, of course, am still quaking.

Just when that was coming closer to being a memory, he got some cold that was characterized by awful coughing. Although it never sounded croupy, it did bring to mind the night of the ambulance meeting us on the side of the road. Joy. And then when things were finally settling down again, he got hives. Now, for most people, this evokes an ‘eh’ reaction, shoulder shrug included. Since the last time someone mentioned ‘hives’ in the context of Will it was the doctor saying that if hives occur use the EpiPen immediately, however, it wasn’t so much of a shrug as a Oh-my-God-call-the-doctor-now! (Uh, yes, once again that was from me. Kelley did agree that a phone call was in order, but I don’t think that his heart was racing a million miles per minute.)

Again, as of the last report (Monday night’s visit to Robin, his asthma case manager), it seems as though the hives could just have been the end of the same virus that gave him the three days in a row of unexplained 103 degree fever, thus having us end up in the Hematology Lab at Children’s. Which, as crazy as it seems, is a good thing.

So you see? Will was very much in my mind for the last month. I just haven’t had a chance to write about his first day (o.k., month) of school. Which I will now do.

As you will see, he was eager to get there. He and Lucy had their matching uniforms, matching lunchboxes, and, surprisingly, matching smiles.

My lunchbox is bigger than yours.

My lunchbox is bigger than yours.

Lunchboxes, uniforms, smiles - check.

Lunchboxes, uniforms, smiles - check.

Sitting on the front step and laughing.

Sitting on the front step and laughing.

Everyone was in such a good mood, in fact, that we were able to get a whole series of pictures of them doing silly things. Now why, I ask you, is it impossible to get them to follow directions like, “Don’t hit each other in the head with books because you will end up in the hospital,” but when you say, “Stand on one foot and cluck like a chicken,” they go along without hesitation? Sigh.

...and cluck like a chicken.

...and cluck like a chicken.

...stand on one foot...

...stand on one foot...

Turn to the right...

Turn to the right...

Everyone went to the school together, with Lucy explaining to Will how the kindergartners would sit outside in front of the school and wait until the whole class was there, then they’d say goodbye to all the parents and go inside together as a class. (Sound familiar? Like the way Conn separates the freshmen from their parents during Orientation weekend?) Since Lucy wanted to get to before-school, we were the first ones there. Luckily, the teachers came out almost immediately, so Will got some one-on-one time (or, rather four-on-one, since there were the teachers of both classes plus their aides, and they were all sufficiently fawning over his adorableness). Then all the rest of the class came.

The K2 Class

The K2 Class

As these things go, no one really did much talking to each other. They all just kind of sat there. Surprisingly, there weren’t any tears — or, make that, none of the kids were crying at least. I know I wasn’t the only mom whose eyes were a bit dewey as our, sniff, babies went off to kindergarten. I wasn’t quite as bad as I was on Lucy’s first day of kindergarten, but yes, I was a little emotional.

When, after he came home, I asked him if he had made any new friends. His finger went up as he said, “One. Giancarlos asked me to be his friend.” Apparently, it’s kind of like going steady. A declaration actually has to be made. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a pin involved. Happily, though, in talking to his teacher in the weeks since then, although they do appear to focus on one-on-one interactions, they appear to rotate quite easily and all the kids in the class have become (unofficially) friends. The boys, at least. Yesterday Will did inform me that Ashanti and, well, I don’t remember but one of the other girls, had asked him to chase them around the playground but he said no. Why? I asked. He looked at me as though I was an idiot. “Because that’s stupid.” Well, yes. Interesting to see that from the boy’s perspective.

I promise I will try and be a little more timely. If you’d like to see more pictures from Will’s first day of school, you can see it at: http://tinyurl.com/4ew874 (there are even more on Flickr). You might be seeing some more pictures from me because I’m trying to clear out the camera before Jaime and Dan’s wedding next week.


Lucy and Will

Originally uploaded by jendoyle2007

Last weekend we headed north to Underhill and Enosburg Falls so that Lucy and Will could hang out with cousins from the Wolcott side. I made all of the photos public for now; I’ll also put some of them on Facebook. To see them, click on the picture at the right.

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.

Today was one of those days that felt like it literally went on forever. From practically the moment I woke up until, well, just now, I have been answering/rushing/on all day. It began with the always lovely getting-out-of-the-house moments. Everything can be going absolutely peachy until I come downstairs and say — “Does everyone have their shoes on?” You’d think that it was the sounding bell for a prizefight. It typically sets off a round of fighting/hitting/crying/whining that lasts at least until we’re in the car. If we’re lucky, that’s only a four-minute span. On some days, like today, it’s at least fifteen.

This morning was extra special because, just as we were leaving (and after, of course, Kelley was out the door and had already left for work), I realized that I needed to give Will his Albuterol (yes, we’re back on that for the moment) as well as the eye medicine (Pinkeye, too! Woo-hoo!). Since the eye medicine makes his eyes tear up like crazy, it is not something that he enjoys. At least today Lucy didn’t refuse to put on her shoes. (That was the Tuesday morning saga. She CAN NOT wear those sneakers with socks. They’re too hot, they’re too tight. The only way to leave the house is sliding along on her bum, saying how awful those shoes are.)

We finally get out the door and I have to go back inside twice — once to put Will’s other medicine (more Albuterol, plus his Epi pen) into his camp backpack, and then once to get my water. I turned around to lock the front door and, while doing so, did what I do just about every morning — open the side door of my van with the remote on the key fob. Except this time, Will happened to be standing directly in its path, leaning in to look at something on the side of the van.

What’s worse than having your precious little boy cry? Having your precious little boy cry because of the bump on his head from something you stupidly did. No, wait — having your precious little boy bravely try and stop crying while he tells you, “It’s o.k., Mama. See? I’m not crying any more.”

You’re not crying any more? I am so very incredibly happy to hear that. I, however, will continue bawling until we pull up to camp.

The drop-off was otherwise o.k. I was in a rush to get to work by 9 for the adjunct orientation, but then ended up hitting crazy weird traffic by WGBH. If that isn’t a sign to pull into the Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot right there, then I don’t know what the hell is. And yes, I went for the two donut special this morning. Hmmm. Not a way to get back on the wagon.

I was then in the orientation from 9 a.m. straight through to 1 p.m. because of a meeting that followed. When I finally got upstairs, Jessica and I decided that we needed iced coffee. Although I certainly could have used the 20 minutes to get more stuff done, I have to say that it was exactly what I needed. The iced coffee hit the spot, but so did the 15 minute walk on this absolutely gorgeous sent-from-Heaven day. 74 degrees, sunny and breezy — that’s definitely my perfect weather day.

The next two and a half hours were actually productive. By the time I got home, I was completely ready to get Lucy to her birthday party in the Back Bay and hang out with Will for awhile. We got Lucy to Siobhan’s house just fine and then Will chose Burger King. (‘Why’ you ask? Well because he specifically did not want the Star Wars toys at McDonald’s. Burger King, however, also gives toys. So that’s where we went.)

With an hour and a half to kill, I thought that the one at Copley would work out just fine. Will was not pleased at how long it took me to find a place to park. He would keep noting spaces, but of course they were all completely on the other side of the street across three lanes of speeding traffic. No go. Finally found one on Newbury Street of all places.

Will ordered his typical — a hamburger kids meal. When we opened it up at the table, though, well… “Mama, why does this hamburger have cheese?”

I looked across the length of the BK — which seemed about 50 yards. Yes, it was probably less than that, but with this BK being among the skankier ones, there was no way I was leaving him at the table to go and tell them they gave me a cheeseburger by mistake. So, I crossed my fingers and said, “That’s the way they make hamburgers here.”

He gave me a look that clearly said, No way, Mama, am I buying that one. He does like cheese, however, and the BK toy was a SpongeBob one, so he seemed to be willing to accept that answer. Big, long, heart-felt PHEW. We ended our lovely little dinner in a chat with the disaffected youth teenage couple next to us about the joys of SpongeBob. (They did seem to wonder why this five-year-old boy was chatting them up, but once they realized that he was seriously engaging with them, they went along with it.) After saying our good-byes, we left the Copley BK.

Dessert was an ice cream sandwich from CVS for him (and a nice yummy Entemann’s thing for me, although I have decided that since my day began with two donuts, perhaps I can hold off until the next day to eat them). He is a boy of simple pleasures. He helped me do the self-checkout at CVS and very much wanted to hold the change for me. I said o.k. for the change change, but not so much for the paper stuff. It was a bit of a fight, but I prevailed.

As we turned the corner onto Clarenden, there were a couple of panhandlers. I asked him if he’d like to give them his change, and his eyes lit up. “Yes!” He ran over to them, gave them a huge smile — completely taking them by surprise, it seemed — and gave them his 58 cents. As we walked away, he said he wanted to find more people who had cups he could put money into. “Can we come back with more money again?” Well, um, not today.

After our nice little walk back to the car — can I say how nice it was to just be on Newbury and Boylston on such a nice evening, strolling along with all the other city folks? [Was it necessary for me to use ‘nice’ three times in that sentence? Why, yes. Yes it was.] — we were exactly on time to get Lucy. Not only exactly on time, but as we pulled up to Siobhan’s street, there, directly in front of me, was a parking spot. A legal parking spot in the Back Bay! (Well, legal if you’re a Back Bay resident, but still…) The only problem was it was exactly three inches bigger than the car. And on the left side of the street.

Parallel parking on the opposite side of the road than normal — not exactly my strong suit. But, after back-and-forthing (and back-and-forthing and back-and-forthing) and a certain amount of bumper parking (“Mommy — you hit that other car!” “The Lexus SUV or the Audi wagon?” Well, at least neither of them had an alarm that went off), I was in! In, I tell you!

Did I mention that the space was only three inches bigger than the car? Literally. The rear bumper was touching the license plate of the car behind me and I couldn’t actually fit my hand in between my bumper and the one in front. Even better? As I was pulling out of the spot, a guy walked by with his two friends and said, “No way she’s getting out of that spot.” Not only was I getting out of it, I actually got myself into it in the first place.

I am completely unable to pull head on into a parking spot, and yet I managed that bit of parking. Between that and having such a lovely Copley Square evening, this was one of those <beat on chest> I am a Bostonian! evenings. Wicked awesome. Hell yeah.

It is now 10:30 p.m. and everyone is in bed. Probably not asleep, in Lucy’s case at least, but in bed. Will barely coughed at all last night (thank God for Prednisone) and hopefully will have another relatively easy night. With fingers crossed (but in a different not-a-bad-mom way this time)… Good night.