Monday, October 26, 2009

The Expletive

We knew this day would come. Before Tucker was even born, we knew the day would come that he would discover that his name rhymes with THE bad word, the worst word a person could say. We made it all the way to first grade.

Tonight as Trey was helping Tucker get his pajamas on, they were talking about what went on today at school. Trey always asks the boys, "What was the best part of your day?" and that was the exact conversation they were having tonight.

Tucker explained that his friends had a new way of making nicknames for each other. Last year, he said, they would replace the first letter of each person's with an "s," making Donovan into Sonovan, Luke into Suke, and Tucker into Sucker. We knew about this last year, and Tucker thought it was pretty funny, so it was no big deal.

This year, however, the boys have decided to replace the first letter of their names with "f." Yep. You do the Tucker announced, "So they're calling me *ucker. Isn't that funny!"

My jaw dropped. Trey's jaw dropped.

I'm not going to lie, I wanted to explode with laughter, but I knew that was an inappropriate and un-parent-like response. I knew that if we over-reacted then he would decide this word should be used often around the boys at school, so I composed myself and quickly formulated my response.

Me: Tucker, that is a very bad word. Of all the bad words you could say, that's the worst one.

Tucker: *ucker? Why is that a bad word? What kind of bad word is it?

Me: Just a regular bad word, but a really bad one.

Tucker: But, what kind of bad word. Like why do people say *ucker?

Me: you want me to use it in a sentence or something?

At this point I was trying to hide my giggles while being very grown up and rational. It didn't help that Trey's eyes were laughing hysterically, and I don't think he could look at Tucker. For some reason, this conversation required Tucker to say this very bad word in every sentence.

Trey made an attempt at explanation: Tucker, you know how sometimes people say bad words? That's one of them. (thanks, Trey, because I apparently wasn't getting that across)

Tucker: But WHY do they say it?

Trey: You know how sometimes you say "dang it"?

Tucker: Oh, yeah, I say that all the time.

Trey: Well that word isn't too bad, but if you put an "f" in front of your name it's very bad.

Me (trying to help): It's so bad they won't let you say it on TV!

Tucker: Hmmm... well, what does *ucker mean?

Okay, at this point I just wanted to run from the room. It's bad enough that my six year old is dropping the "f" bomb in every other sentence, but it's SO much worse that he wants to know what it means. Seriously. This could make me change his name.

Me: Tucker, don't worry about what it means. You just need to know that it's a horrible word, and if a teacher hears you or your friends saying it, then you will probably go straight to the office and be in big trouble.

On that note, Trey left the room (probably because his eyes were going to pop out if he didn't laugh out loud soon). Sensing my distress, and an opening now that his dad left the room, Tucker got that evil little "I'm about to pick on my mom grin" on his face and proudly said, "*ucker *ucker *ucker *ucker *ucker."

I just left the room. I got up and walked away. There was nothing left to say at that point, and I couldn't stand it anymore.

Trey insists that the boys Tucker hangs out with know exactly what they are doing, and I don't disagree. I also think about my own name, and all the times that people have asked me if I was made fun of as a child. My answer is always, "If they did, I didn't know it!"

I guess I've passed that along to my oldest son.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I Never

My kids have horrible lives. They never get to do anything. Just spend a day or two with them and you'll feel so bad for them that you'll probably want to take them in and care for them because they are so mistreated here. Just a few pieces of evidence heard around the Hickman house today:

I never get to sit in the red chair!
I never get to sleep on the couch!
I never get the star blanket!
I never get to wear long pants!
I never get to pour in the milk!
I never get to watch Little Bill!
I never get to play Wii!

Sometimes I think I'd rather have them rattling off four letter words on their way home from punching kids at school than say "I never."

I think the parent version of the "I never" list is more like "I always" (or "we always" around here).

I always pick up your shoes.
I always put away all of your laundry.
I always make sure you have plenty to eat, and it's usually stuff you like.
I always pick you up from school.
I always take care of you when you're sick.
I always make sure you have lunch money.

Don't you feel bad for my kids? They may as well live on the street and fend for themselves with the care they get around here. Trey and I are just going to have to do better.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Trey and I were having a great conversation about life, and things we're looking forward to, and what went on in our days at work. Keaton apparently wasn't getting enough attention because he spontaneously shouted, "I KNOW LOTS OF BAD WORDS! SHUT UP, STUPID, OH MY GOD. THOSE ARE BAD WORDS AND I DON'T SAY THEM!"

He certainly got our attention.

The Candy Corn Caper

I don't buy candy corn because I would eat it all in one sitting.

That's a lie. I should have said that I buy candy corn and eat it all in one sitting, so I try to buy small bags.

But that would be a lie, too, because we all know the more candy corn the better, so I buy great big bags of it. I love the candy corn pumpkins, too, and bats, and witch heads, and, well, pretty much anything candy corn-like. I have no control over myself when it comes to candy corn, and I eat it until my stomach hurts and begin to drool sugar. I just can't stop myself.

On Saturday, Keaton went with me to the grocery store. We were having a fine time shopping, and I carefully monitored the extra things he requested to keep us within our budget for the trip. He got to pick which kind of yogurt and which bunch of bananas he wanted, and he got fruit gushers and a large bunch of grapes, and he was very happy because nothing makes him happier than getting his way.

Then he spotted the candy corn. "Mom, can we have some candy corn for Halloween?!" he squealed.

"We'll see," I told him, mentally calculating how many non-list items we'd already gotten and remembering my candy corn addiction. I honestly thought he would just forget about it, but the folks at HEB made sure that didn't happen because there was candy corn at every turn. Finally I gave in, and we bought one small bag of store-brand candy corn. It didn't break my budget, and I figured it probably wouldn't be as good as the name brand crack. I mean candy corn.

I lasted about two hours before I opened the package. I thought I'd just have one handful and that would do it -- fix me up for a little while. But I couldn't help myself. I kept going back for more and more. I found myself getting just enough to hide in my fist so that Keaton wouldn't see that I was eating it and want some, too. After all, we bought a small bag.

I'm not proud. Addiction is a difficult thing.

Just before bedtime, I was sitting at the computer working on an eHow article with a fist-sized pile of candy corn in front of me on the desk where I could eat them in thirds while I worked. (Everyone knows the best way to eat candy corn is one color at a time.) In walked Keaton just as I popped the yellow end of one of the corns into my mouth.

"What are you eating?" he asked.


"Mom! What is it?" he insisted. Then he noticed the three remaining corns on the table. "Mom! These are for Halloween! When did you open them?"

"Earlier," I said, beginning to feel ashamed.

Keaton took the three remaining candy corns, popped them in his mouth, and scolded me through the sugar, "No more until Halloween. Do you understand?"

I just nodded in defeat.

But I couldn't help myself. On Sunday after church I went for my usual fist-sized hit, and the little rat busted me again! This time he didn't yell, however. This time he just shook his head, put his hands on his hips, and said, "Do you know what 'no more' means?"

It looks like I'm going to have to finish off this bag and get him a new one before Halloween. There are only about six left anyway.

Clearly I do not know what "no more" means. Yes, addiction is a difficult thing.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Lesson in Church...

Every week at church we get sermon notes to fill in as we listen. Tucker's been practicing filling his in, but this week it was Keaton's turn. He looked at me and mumbled what were apparently questions, and then he began writing on the notes page. The result is adorable, yet perhaps sacriligious. (HINT: The first blank says "Keaton" and the second says "Tucker."

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Part of being a good mom is fulfilling your children's expectations. Sometimes those expectations are simple, like "Mom, can you get me some more chocolate milk?" Other times, they are ridiculous, like "Mom, can we buy a box at the new Cowboys stadium? We get to keep it forever." Sometimes, however, we are faced with expectations that we're certain we, ourselves, forced our children to adopt.

For example, Keaton had a field trip yesterday with his preschool class. They planned to go to the library and the park to have a picnic lunch. Keaton was SO excited! He went on and on and on about it for days leading up to the trip.

On the way to school on the big day, we had this conversation:

Keaton: Mom, do you have anything to tell me?

Me: Am I supposed to tell you something?

Keaton (thinks for a minute): Well, I'm not going to eat the sand at the park. They have sand at parks, you know.

That's when I realized what I was supposed to tell him. He needed his "Special Day Lecture." So I gave it to him:

Me: Okay, remember to listen to Ms. Monica and be a very good boy -- on your best behavior. Don't forget to remember everything so that you can tell me all about it.

Keaton (exasperated, with his "duh" voice): I will...

I can't believe I had forgotten our obligatory mom lecture and son frustration. I didn't realize Keaton and I were there yet with him being only four years old. He made it very clear, however, that these conversations are expected. I'll have to remember that.

Monday, October 5, 2009


Today at school, my ipod was stolen. With all of my classes, plus two other teachers and their students who float in and out of my room at various times of the day, there is truly no telling from whence the culprit came.

Yes, I know the ipod should have been hidden away somewhere safe. However, its resting place next to my computer and behind my printer doesn't exactly invite people to touch it, so I left it there today just like most other days. My faith in humanity told me that no one would steal my old, beat up ipod from behind my desk. That faith, however, proved to be unfounded today when an individual decided he needed my ipod more than I.

The other teachers who come into my room feel somehow responsible for this theft, but 'tis not their responsibility. This twisted thief is solely at fault; therefore, I wish upon him a terrible hex which causes his under-active conscience to eat away at his cold, black heart well into each night, causing him many anguished hours of lost sleep whilst he tosses and turns in bedsheets lined with his own misdeeds.

I shall complete this rant with a quote from Khaled Hosseini's brilliant debut novel, The Kite Runner:

"Now, no matter what the mullah teaches, there is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft...When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal his wife's right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone's right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness...There is no act more wretched than stealing, Amir."

During first period tomorrow when I cannot listen to Ben Folds lift up his voice about how carefully Annie Waits, I will think of you, thief, with sadness. Sad that in your youth you have chosen to be a person who makes negative choices that impact others around you. Sad that you feel entitled to items you have not worked for. Sad that you have likely stolen before and likely will steal again.

My faith in humanity, however, you can never steal.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

They're Playing My Song

On the way home from soccer practice, I was listening to a wonderful classic country radio station (country legends 97.1 out of Houston- you can listen online), and the song "Daddy's Hands" by Holly Dunn came on the radio. This song holds good memories for me because I remember singing it at church on Father's Day many years and barely being able to get through it without crying. (I wonder where Tucker gets his over-emotional-ness from?) Anyway, I'm certain that Keaton has never heard this song before, but that didn't stop him from singing along. He said, "Oh I love this song. I used to sing it all the time when I was a little boy. Like when I was two." Hmmmm....

Thursdays are special because the boys get McDonalds. This is because we have football games, soccer games, and Grey's Anatomy after the boys go to bed. Life is better on Thursday nights when we're all happy.

Tonight Keaton announced that he wanted to go to Burger King because he could get a Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs toy. I was only slightly appalled by the impact on my child of too much tv and too many commericals, and off to BK we went.

When we got home, I intentionally turned on music instead of the tv (small steps, right?). When Keaton recognized James Taylor's voice, he immediately yelled for me to turn it to "Sweet Baby James" - his song.

As he sang along and I worked on this morning's dishes, this is the conversation we had:

Keaton:Why does he only call me James?
Me: Who?
Keaton: The person singing. Why does he only call me James instead of Keaton James?
Me: I guess that's just how the song goes.

I realized at this point that he really thinks the song was written and performed exclusively for and about him. I'll admit I chuckled. He sang along some more, then, this:

Keaton: Mom?
Me: Yes?
Keaton: Is that God singing my song to me?
Me: No, baby, it's James Taylor.
Keaton: Oh! Like Taylor Swift. Only her name is Taylor Swift and his name is James Taylor!
Me: Yes. Exactly like that.

Oh to live in Keaton's little brain...