Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Spelling Bee

"Mom?" Conor called out in his new man/child baritone from the kitchen pantry around the corner. "Mom? What does a-s-s spell?"

"Excuse me, Conor, what was that?" I asked, bending over the open oven door. Hot air billowed over me as I took out Conor's lemon-flavored cupcakes. He's been cooking like a fiend lately.

"What did you say, babe?" I continued as I lifted the cupcake pans up onto the stove top, my hands encased in puffy, red, quilted oven mitts. Surely, I hadn't heard him right.

"What does a-s-s spell?" he repeated, coming around the corner to peer at me intensely. No, no smile on his face, he's not joking. He lifted his pointer finger for emphasis.

Quizzically, I cocked my head at him and parroted back, "what does a-s-s spell, Conor? What do you mean?" I felt the dread growing in my stomach. Dear Lord, first 'penis' and 'vagina' and now 'ass'? This teenage thing is getting more uncomfortable by the minute.

I thought about asking him to use it in a sentence, you know? To make sure I heard him right? But then he just would say, "What does a-s-s spell?" ('Cause it is in a sentence that way after all. Can't argue with that, I guess. Logical.)

"What does a-s-s spell?" he asked again.

"What do you mean? Did you see that somewhere?" I asked, trying to dodge the subject.

"Yes, here on the receipt for the vase you painted for Auntie Joyce," he replied, leading me back to the pantry. He means the one he painted, at the paint-your-own-pottery place during his earned community outing. "On the bulletin board."

What the... what?

I muttered invectives under my breath. I'll admit it, my first thought was a disgruntled employee put this description into the computer. Like, look at this stupid, small ass vase this disabled kid picked out, and now I'm going to have to explain to Conor about the word 'ass', and what it means, and it's not just a donkey or something mommy yells at the other drivers on the road when they're being stupid, and then I'm going to have to talk to the owner of the business, and Conor's in there all the time, and it would be awkward, and I'd have to give them all the stink eye, and they'll hate me even though it's not my fault...

(I'm not melodramatic at all. I don't catastrophize events or anything. No, not at all.

Don't tell my therapist. She thinks I'm all better.)

"What up, guys," my husband said as he entered the kitchen. I thrust the receipt in his face.

"Conor wants to know what the word 'a-s-s' means," I replied, tapping the receipt. I pointed at the word for emphasis. "Right there."

"Well, I'm going to call them and ask," he chuckled. (Well, duh. He's so rational and non-melodramatic and stuff.)

Assorted, the employee who answered the phone said. Surely there was a period after the abbreviation ass?

"Um, no, there's no period," my husband explained to the employee on the phone. "And Conor had lots of questions." He hung up.

"Assorted, she said it stands for assorted, the vases come in all sorts of sizes," he told me, smiling. "There was a lot of laughter."

Ok, then, there you go. A-s-s means assorted, Conor.

You know, I can just hear his voice in my head when we go to the paint-your-own-pottery place next time--

"Mom? Can I have a big ass vase this time?"

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