These Boys

A couple weeks ago I took Jonah to the doctor to see if he had strep. The nurse took us back to our room. She started checking Jonah’s vitals. Then she said she had to go get a different instrument. Jonah looked at me after the nurse left the room and asked what instrument I thought she would be getting. I said quite seriously and nonchalantly, “Well, they will probably have to do a lobotomy on you, so…”

I’m so terrible. I didn’t know if Jonah knew what a lobotomy was, but either way I thought it would be funny. He looked at me with absolute terror in his eyes. He shrieked, “What is THAT??” I told him it’s where they do surgery to take out part of your brain. For a split second, he believed me. He was so scared. His eyes looked like they would pop out of his head. And then I saw the recognition flow over his face as he realized that I was joking. He laughed with relief and humor at the way I had pulled a joke on him. It’s not often I can pull one over on my boys. I had gotten him good. I also never know if the kids will have a good sense of humor about a joke, or if they’ll be filled with instant rage, or if they’ll cry because they misinterpret the joke as being made fun of…but I have always felt that when the time is right, and a joke could be made, it’s important to do it. As long as it really is a light-hearted joke and no one is being ridiculed or hurt. Humor is something our kids have always had to practice. It’s not something that has come naturally to them. As Ben has always said, they don’t ‘get’ sarcasm. Or humor, sometimes.

Luckily, Jonah thought this was the most hilarious stunt I had ever pulled. The nurse came back in and we were still in tears with laughter, over how Jonah had totally believed that the nurse was going to come back and give him a lobotomy. A lobotomy, instead of the thermometer she actually brought back to the room. The nurse thought it was funny, too. Sometimes, Mama can get these boys. Not often, but sometimes. Jonah still talks about how hilarious this was. It’s good to see him laugh.

Last night, Ben and I were snuggling and watching TV. Everyone else was in bed and Alex was at the doctor getting diagnosed with Influenza A. There was a commercial for a credit card on TV, with Samuel Jackson as its star. He was smartly dressed in a black suit. As we watched the commercial, Ben started talking about it.

“I can’t understand how they can make commercials like this! How do they do all that special effect stuff? It’s really cool!”

Then, after a few moments of silence, Ben whispers with hushed awe,

“How does he always look so good?”

I snorted and said with disbelief- Samuel Jackson?

“Yes!” Ben said, “of course Samuel Jackson! He always has on the nicest suits. He’s always so fancy and put-together. Wow. (again the hushed whisper) He always looks so good.”

Just cracked me up. I couldn’t stop giggling. My 13-year-old boy, admiring how fancy Samuel Jackson looks in a credit card commercial. Ben knows fancy. Fancy is his friend. The past couple years, Ben has instituted his own Fancy Friday at school. Every Friday, he would dress up in a suit and tie and “fancy” shoes. This year he’s a little more relaxed. He’s only worn his full suit regalia a few times to school.

Ben is one extreme or the other- he loves only suits or sweatpants. No jeans. No khakis. No cargos. No cords. Only suits or sweatpants. ONCE in a great while, as a huge treat for me, Ben comes downstairs in…wait for it…JEANS. He only does it when he feels extreme amounts of love for me. On those days he remembers how much I love jeans and how I think my kids look adorable in jeans, and so to greatly impress me, he will wear them once in awhile as a surprise for his Mama. But then, of course, it’s completely hilarious because the jeans are so stiff and uncomfortable for him that he feels he can’t even bend his legs. He walks stiffly. He bends only at the waist. I have to help him with things like his shoes, because he really feels he is immobilized by the torture of denim. It makes me laugh so hard, because he’s dead serious.

Once he was in his room, having just squeezed his lower half into the dreaded denim. He asked if I could please help him with his socks. I said come on, you can do it! He proceeded to plumph on his bed, back first, as stiff as a board. He cried, “Mom! Do you SEE this? I can’t even BEND! I can’t BEND my LEGS!!” And he was so serious and totally flabbergasted that he couldn’t even bend his legs, I just laughed and laughed. It was the cutest thing. So now it’s our joke. He walks like a robot when he wears jeans, and we laugh about how his body truly feels like it can’t bend in denim. But he does it for the love of his Mama. Once in a great while.

I love this about my boys. I love that Ben envies Samuel Jackson for always looking so nice in his suits. I love that he wears jeans just for me. I love that I can make Jonah clutch his sides in laughter at a good-natured joke that is on him.

These boys. Just love ’em

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