A Mother’s Shame: Stereotyping my Own SonSo my son, Mr. Butler, a.k.a. Chicken Pie, a.k.a. Phlumpy Wieners, etc., etc., has been a naughty little boy lately. So naughty, so demanding, so frighteningly Italian, I have been forced to think up another nickname for him -- “Little Tony,” as in Tony Soprano.
Oh, I was waiting for this. I knew that at least one of my kids would show their Italian eventually. I’m sort of happy, in a way...I’ve grown tired of the kids turning their noses up at my lovely dinners consisting of my Great-Grandma Assunta’s marinara, my pasta with finnochio, anchovy and bread crumbs, my big scrumptious logs of bracciole, and lasagna that would make a grown wise guy cry. Tired of my youngest daughter literally retching if red sauce even comes near her rigatoni. Tired of their blonde little heads filled with Americana white bread notions, their Jerry Springer, trailer park ideas of what clean means (as you probably already know, Italians are the cleanest of all nationalities, and any good Italian mama worth her weight in oregano takes pride in a spotless home). Tired of it all..
But, as with all things good, there is some bad. Mr. Butler loves my marinara, and he is a neat little boy who finds no pleasure in being dirty as other little boys might, but he also takes after nearly every single male on my mother’s side of the family. And although he's a true mama’s boy who worships the ground his mama walks on (as he should), he is demanding beyond what is reasonable, and he has a temper so Italian in nature, his face, on occasion, actually turns green, white and red (the colors of the Italian flag, for you mamalukes out there who have no clue).
This morning, after another night of Mr. Butler roaming the house in the wee hours, after weeks of sickness and tantrums and no nappy naps, I’d finally had it. He woke up for good at five thirty a.m., and wanted company, wanted gunny worms, wanted, wanted, wanted. Oh, no, God, no, please, no.
Bleary-eyed and pissed off, I limped to the coffee maker, resigned to another sleepless night, another day of feeling dreamy and insane, and as I poured the water into the coffee maker, Little Tony, furious with my withholding gummy worms, pulled on my nightshirt so violently, the coffee pot jerked sideways, thus spilling fifty gallons of water all over the counter.
I turned to him, bared my teeth, and said this: “If you do not stop acting like this, Mommy’s head is going to catch on fire.”
He said, “No, it’s not.”
“Yes, Brandon, it will.”
“No, Mama, it will not catch on fire.”
“Yes, it will. It will catch fire then explode into a million pieces, and your sisters and daddy will be very sad because Mommy has no head.”
My son, instead of being frightened by the prospect of having a headless mommy, smiled and said, “Ew, gross! Can I paint your head purple?”
Which, of course, makes no sense at all.
I wept as I drank my first cup of coffee.
ADDENDUM: Then I smiled while drinking my second because I received wonderful writing-related news in my inbox. Will share sometime soon.