Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sorry, Charles Dickens, You've Been Replaced

I’ve never been a morning person. Sometimes, when I first wake up and I’m dressing the kids and getting them breakfast, I think I’m still sleeping. Take this morning, for example. While I was putting the orange juice away in the cupboard and the box of Cheerios in the refrigerator, my seven year-old was reading me questions from the Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? game he found inside his Happy Meal last week.

“Okay, Mommy, Are you ready for this question?” He had the cards spread out in his hand like a fan.

“Um, yeah, I guess,” I replied.

My question was:
How many planets has man walked on?

“Well, the moon is not a planet so the answer is none,” I said, thinking that I aced that one.

I could see it in his eyes. My oldest looked as if he were grappling with the idea that his Mommy might be dumber than a fifth grader. It showed in his response. He tried to handle me gently, so as not to discourage my love for learning.

“Well, good try Mommy, but that is the wrong answer. Now, don’t be embarrassed. That was a first grade question. The answer is one- planet Earth,” he said.

I frowned. “Oh that was a trick and it’s really early in the morning. I’ll play you later at like, 8 o’clock,” I said, putting the cards away.

“But Mommy, That’s my bed time,” he protested.

“Exactly,” I said, laughing.

Next he was making rapid small talk as I cleared the table. In response I was shaking my head and chanting, “Really? Wow. Really? Wow.” Then he said,

“Guess what Mommy? I’m the replacement Charles Dickens.”

Whoa. I thought. This has to be a dream.

“You’re the what?” I asked.

“I’m the replacement Charles Dickens,” he repeated, slowly, as if I were hard of hearing.

“Wait a minute. Back up. Who is Charles Dickens? Is that a kid in your class or something?” I was playing dumb.

“He was the writer who wrote the story A Christmas Carol,” said my oldest, matter of fact.

“Congratulations,” I replied, groggily. “You just passed 9th grade. So, tell me, why are you the new him?”

“Well, I was born on his birthday, but now he’s dead. So, I’m his replacement.”

“Well, alright then,” I said, putting my son’s lunch into his school bag.

He looked worried. “Mommy, are you happy about that?”

“Seriously, I am thrilled,” I told him, looking out the window for the bus.

“In fact, I am so happy that you are the new Charles Dickens that I’m going to give you a present,” I added. His eyes lit up.

“What, Mommy? What is it?!” He said, jumping.

He followed me into the den where I pulled a tattered 5th grade level version of Great Expectations off the bookshelf. (An ex-English teacher is always prepared.)

“Here, new Charles Dickens. Start reading,” I said.

“Cool,” he shouted, sincerely.

As we walked out the door I was trying to remember if I was abducted by aliens before I became pregnant with him.

This post appeared as a point of view in Long Island Advance.

3 comments:

Putz said...

me tooooo, mom was pregnant with me when aliens took us both to the planet zorn

Loren Christie said...

oh that explains a whole lot... you set yourself up for that one Mr. Putz, thanks for commenting so I could tease you. :)

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

Great selection for a young man! Happy birthday!

Dear Internet Traveler,

Welcome to my writer's blog, started about six years ago for fun. Over time, the writing I have posted has ranged from personal reflection, to Long Island history research, to tall tales for my own amusement, to feature articles for local newspapers. As you can see from topics listed here, I travel in many mental directions in regard to interests. Click on the tabs and labels to explore my strange mind which senses that you may be having a criss-cross day. If so, perhaps this blog will distract you. However, please note that if you tell me my blog is beautiful just to get me to advertise rhinoplasty surgery and cheap drugs from Canada in your comment, I will ask the gods to give you a tail that cannot be concealed.

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