Before kicking off today's...festivities...I will state, right up-front, that there's no coherent theme to wrap the following vignettes up into a sparkly holiday package for you. However, I trust you'll forgive me, when you see what I have to work with...
Let's begin with Riley, shall we? As previously mentioned, he's studying Spanish this year, and by all indications is enjoying it so far. This pleases me immensely, not only because it's nice to actually watch him growing in the language, and to practice with him, but also because the experience is so fundamentally different for me than when Derek took it. Now, please believe me when I tell you that this is in NO way meant to criticize my older child, but the truth is that he just didn't love learning Espanol. He certainly put in the time, did the work, and got good grades, but he lacked any passion toward it...and we all accepted that. (Wait, you mean...he's not ME? Gasp!)
But Riley seems to be much more enthused and motivated about the subject--for example, he's taken to putting together a Spanish sentence and casually tossing it out into conversation. So, he'll tell me that he's "writing with a pencil" or "studying history" or...."wearing pants". (Hey, after only 13 weeks, his vocabulary remains a bit...limited. Let's just celebrate the fact that the last one was a positive statement, rather than the opposite. It's the little things, right?) However...the other day he was headed downstairs and as he passed me, he breezily tossed over his shoulder, "Adios! Voy a caminar con el queso!"
I absentmindedly started to wave goodbye to him...then did one of those theatrical double-takes as I processed the (perfectly grammatical and properly pronounced, at least) nonsense that had just issued from his boca. "You're going to walk...the CHEESE?" I called after his retreating back. With a huge grin he replied, "Eh, I decided to replace 'dog'...to make it more interesting!" Oh, well of course you did. I suppose I reeealllly shouldn't be surprised, since Riley has grown up hearing one of his role models (that would be Husband, in case you couldn't guess) frequently (and inexplicably) using the expression "Vaya con huevos!" Yes, that's "Go with...eggs." (Don't ask me why, because I haven't a clue, but rest assured he did NOT get it from me! Ay yi yi...)
And then, it wouldn't be a true WestEnders post without a contribution from Derek. Since 'tis the season, and whatnot, I'd been nagging him--um "gently reminding...frequently"--to provide some sort of Christmas Wish List so Santa....Mom...would have a ballpark idea of what to get him. (And can I just go all tangential for a moment and declare that the last few years have made me somewhat nostalgic for the Days Gone by, when I could make a fun trip to the local toy store, pick up some Legos or Nerf gear or Thomas trains and know that my job was not only done, but successful? Yeah...good times...)
After a while I lost any guilt I'd been feeling for not knowing instinctively what my child wanted....because he kept waffling...and dithering...and finally declared that he, himself, wasn't sure what to ask for. FINALLY one night he brought me a slip of paper with several suggestions (Bonus: they were even reasonable and viable ones!) and walked me through it so I'd be clear on exactly what he meant. As he handed it to me and prepared to go back to his hibernation den--I mean "bedroom"--I teasingly said, "I don't know, buddy. Have you been a good boy this year?" He paused dramatically to appear as if he was actually contemplating the question for a moment (it's one of his best impressions--I like to call it "Struggling to Overcome Teenage Boy Brain") before stating matter-of-factly, "Eh, you know...meeting expectations...but at the same time, not raising the bar..."
Oh. Good. Grief. And that, my friends, I believe might just be the ultimate pithy summary of Life with Derek. Perhaps, then, it's only fair that I apply the same principle when shopping for his gifts, yeah? (Dang, that would have been the perfect comeback...if only I'd thought of it, you know, a week ago when we were in the middle of this exchange. ..siiighhh...) Anyway, that's enough of the ridiculousness for the moment. So, adios! Voy a...tomar una siesta (NO con el queso)!