I learned two very interesting facts last week:
Helena (8 years old):
Mom! We had a gi-gundo spider on the playground today! Right by the hopscotch game. It was brown with orange spots. It was huge! And hairy! And I think it was filled with pus or something ‘cuz when Jason stomped on it, it kind of exploded chunks all over his foot! It’s OK though. He used his hand to wipe it off.
.Zoe (15 years old):
Ummmm, Mom? “A” asked me out. He’s seventeen.
Guess which one made me throw up?
This isn’t Zoe’s first boyfriend. She “went out” with one boy last year. It didn’t last long and consisted of them pretty much avoiding eye contact while sitting at the same lunch table and talking to everyone else but each other. They didn’t so much break up as totally forget they were going out in the first place.
But now she’s fifteen and the boy in question is two years older.
Two years! That’s, like, twenty in Mom years. Twenty-five, if she’s hormonal.
Zoe: Ummmm, Mom? “A” asked me out. He’s seventeen.
Me (feeling my stomach heave): *choke* *gasp* *hurl*
Zoe: Can I go over to his house today and play Guitar Hero?
Me (passing out) : *thud*
Zoe (peering down at me): Is that a yes?
Me (hoping I’m dead and this isn’t really happening): *silence*
Zoe: Seriously, Mom? You are so dramatic.
Me (realizing I’m not dead, on to plan B: lie here and ignore it and it will all go away): *silence*
Me (realizing plan B sucks and my back is killing me and why the hell are there so many Doritos on my floor?): *silence*
Zoe: I saw you move. I can see you breathing, Mom! So, can I go?
Me (opening one eye and squinting up at her, accusingly): Zoe, for God’s sake. Give me a minute. I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that the last fifteen seconds really happened and that my first born, the one it took sixty hours to bring forth into this world, is trying to kill me.
Zoe: A is really nice, Mom. And he’s L’s brother! So you know him already.
Me (getting up off the floor): oomph … ugh … aaarrgghh … ouch … OUCH … ugh … OUCH GODDAMMIT … wait a sec …
*Ten minutes later*
Me (sweating): Whew. OK. Is the room spinning or is it just me?
Zoe (tenacious, like a woodpecker on crack): MOM! So, can I go? Can I? Please?
Me: Zoe, do me a favor. Look around the floor, would you? I think I just lost ten years off my life. Do you see them anywhere?
Zoe: Like I said, Mom, A is really nice and besides, you already know him! Remember? He’s L’s brother? You like L, don’t you?
Me: Zoe. Just because A swims in the same gene pool as L does not mean that I know A. Let’s review: (1) I know L; (2) I do not know A; (3) L does not equal A and A does not equal L; and finally, (4) A = W x H so why couldn’t you have just asked me how to compute the area of a rectangle and we could have been done with this conversation fifteen minutes ago?
Zoe (pausing): … That doesn’t even make sense.
Me: I’m simply saying that I do not know your “boyfriend” and until I do, you are not going over to his house to hang out unless you are encased in a plastic bubble with a police escort. So … you know what this means, right?
Zoe: You’re going with me.
Zoe: You’ll be going inside the house with me.
Zoe: You’ll want to meet him.
Zoe: And his parents.
Zoe (reciting from memory): And we must be supervised at all times and there will be no kissing, no hand holding, no moony eyes and no physical contact whatsoever between the two of us. We must remain vertical at all times with at least a two foot perimeter between us. Violators will be forced to swallow their own tongues.
Zoe: And? There’s more?
Me: You forgot about the photograph, urine sample, background check, fingerprinting, DNA swab and lie detector.
Zoe: MOM! Geez! We just want to play Guitar Hero!
Me: Well, if that’s all you’re going to do, he can come over here! I’m sure Helena would love to play. And Nate too! You know how he gets with that guitar – maybe he can teach A a few tricks? You know, he’s been practicing those Slash moves for awhile now. And I can take pictures! How about I make us some snacks and …
Zoe (shoulders slumped in utter defeat): I’ll be in the car.
On the ride over, I instructed Zoe that she was not to cross the threshold of the house until I first confirmed that the seventeen year old walking cyclone of testosterone in question: (1) was not a whackadoodle; (2) was not drunk or high or otherwise intoxicated on anything other than Zoe’s presence; (3) was not too busy texting to look up and notice we were there; (4) was not sporting multiple piercings on any area he wouldn’t want his mom to clean once infected and no, don’t bother asking how I would know this, moms just know, let’s move on; (5) was not displaying any tattoos, the only exception being I RESPECT ALL WOMEN across his forehead; and (6) was not wearing his pants so tight or so low that I could easily determine his underwear preference and whether or not he was circumcised.
I was pleasantly surprised to meet a very nice, affable boy who looked me directly in the eye when he greeted us at the door and didn’t flinch when I photographed him, handed him a cup, inked up his fingers, swabbed his mouth and hooked him up to the polygraph.
And just in case you’re wondering, I remain clueless about boxers and brief and turtlenecks.
Can I get an AMEN and a HALLELUJAH?
Oh! And he shook my hand and waited for me to be seated before seating himself. I was impressed.
I should point out that I met my husband twelve years ago and the last time he waited for me to be seated was thirteen years ago.
I had assured Zoe that I would only stay a minute and I was true to my word.
If you ask me or A’s parents, that hour and forty-five minutes seemed to fly by. If you ask A, he’d agree, if only to be polite. If you ask Zoe, she’ll bonk you on the head and ask if you’re mental.
So, bottom line, Zoe seems to have a nice boyfriend. I’m not sure how long this will last, considering she is not allowed to actually go on a real, live, actual “date” until she’s sixteen. Or thirty, depending on my mood.
By that time, I’m hoping I can just scan the testosterone’s eyeball by satellite and get all the information I need.