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Dana King Headshot

Riding in Cars With Boys

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My favorite part of the day is the car ride home from picking up my seven-year-old son from school. It's usually the only part of the day that isn't filled with loudness and chaos and me having to break up fights between the kids. It's the small window of time when he actually talks to me, and not about what he wants me to feed him. He tells me all about his day at school, with added commentary from his two-year-old brother.

His best days are when he has gym and when the weather is nice enough for outdoor recess and when they have chicken nuggets for lunch. But today was even better than that.

"We got to touch dinosaur poop today! It was the best day ever!" he excitedly announces.

Funny, because if I ever had to touch dinosaur poop, that would be one of the worst days ever.  But what do I know? I'm not a little boy... and if there are two things little boys get a kick out of, it's dinosaurs and poop. So makes sense.

They like all sorts of disgusting things. Bugs, snakes, lizards, dirt, more dirt... you know, all of the things my nightmares are cut from. These things aren't gross to them, though.  In fact, the only things they find yucky are girls. For now, anyway. 

Last week, when he got in the car to head home, I could tell he was aggravated.

"There are a lot of beautiful women in my class, but man, are girls bossy!"

"Yeah, Muma. Dirls bossy!" agrees his little sidekick.

That's right, Mama's babies...girls are bossy and yucky. Stay far, far away.

Then there are the car rides that he asks me about new words he learned that day. This totally comes in handy when it's something I'm not prepared for and can avoid making direct eye contact. Ya know, like the other day when he asked me what a "boner" is. Hey, I don't know if it's the right thing to do, but I pretty much just panicked, told him the truth and made him promise to never repeat it.

"Oh. That happens to me all the time!" he responds without a lack of shame.

"Bo-Nor! Bo-Nor! Bo-Nor! Bo-Nor!" says a little parrot in his car-seat.

Oh good. Now both of my kids learned a new word.

Believe it or not, he actually learns things other than just inappropriate language. It's pretty impressive that in one short car ride, he's able to educate me on everything a person would ever need to know about penguins. Oh, and in health class he learned that coffee is a drug. So, now he thinks I have myself a little bit of a problem. Trying to convince your child that what his teacher taught him is technically true, but not really, is a pretty difficult task. Especially with my track record.

"Mom, do you know what the capitol of New York is?" He asks me, as if he doesn't know the answer.

"Um yeah. New York City." I respond, praying that I'm right.

"Actually, it's Albany..." he snaps back in his best "know-it-all" tone of voice.

Not my finest moment.

So it's possible that by the ripe age of seven, my child has lost all faith in me when it comes to knowing anything. He does still seem to trust me when it comes to talking about the difficult stuff. Last year on September 11, he learned about the attacks and as soon as he was buckled in, all of his thoughts and fears and questions came spewing out. We actually circled the block a few extra times that day.

"We had an assembly outside today and all of the flags were half-assed"

Leave it to kids to say just the right thing to lighten the mood on an otherwise really tough day.

"Ass. Ass. Ass." Chimes in baby bro.

Seriously though, why do toddlers only repeat the bad words?

I especially love the drives home in which I'm reminded that he's more than just a little goofball and actually pretty sweet. Take for instance, one of the (many) times he accidentally threw his tennis ball on the roof while playing "wall ball" and asked if we can stop at the store to buy a new one.

"Can we get an extra one for Mikey too? Because he never has one and I feel bad."

He's so giving and thoughtful and I love that the most about him.

I also love any excuse to extend our little ride and spend a few extra minutes with my boys, in the car. It's only a matter of time before they'll be driving themselves home from school and will hardly want anything to do with me.

"Of course we can get an extra ball for Mikey." I promise him.

"Thanks Mom! I love you!" He says, while flashing me a big jack-o-lantern smile.

"I lud you too Muma!"

Looks like I've still got a few years.