Ten and a half year old TwinBoyB is my oldest child. He has a twin brother, but he was born first. (TwinBoyA, his twin, started life turned the wrong way, which I hope is not a bad sign.)
TwinBoyB has never been in a hurry, other than when he entered the world nine weeks early. As a baby, he didn't walk until he was seventeen months old. He turned two years old and only had four teeth. Where TwinBoyA sat straight and threw fits, TwinBoyB slumped and watched the world with calm interest.
TwinBoyB hated kindergarten. When I picked him up from school he would often chant in the car, "I hate it! I hate it! I hate it!" He wrote his letters completely backwards and upside down with faint, scratchy handwriting. He drew people without hands or feet. He depended on TwinBoyA to do the speaking for him.
Despite having some physical skill, TwinBoyB has never been motivated enough to be even competent in sports. He was bored in baseball and would forget what he was supposed to be doing while relegated way out in left field. He never wanted to go to his judo class. He's not much of a team-player. He'd much rather be in the backyard swacking the laurel hedge with a stick or digging a moat in the flowerbeds or throwing balls onto the roof.
TwinBoyB also loves to make noise. He chants. He makes weird mouth noises. He bangs things together. He sits at the electric keyboard and fiddles around. He taps his feet. He whistles.
So, he's joined band, playing the flute. He either hates it or loves it. One night he practiced for an hour, even though that morning, before band, he told me that he hated it. I think music will be his biggest area of interest, though he claims he wants to be a chef when he grows up.
Why does he want to be a chef? Well, first of all, he likes food. Secondly, he likes to help in the kitchen. And thirdly, as he told me, "I like knives." He just might be a chef when he grows up. Of course, he'll work at a restaurant which never serves vegetables or anything with a "yucky" consistency. And all the food will be very finely chopped up!
Last weekend, the twins were invited to a slumber birthday party. My husband and I decided that they could go to the party, but not spend the night. I had spoken to the father of the birthday boy to get a feel for what would be happening at the party. I refrained from asking, "Will you be showing the children porn and playing Russian Roulette?" but that's what I secretly feared.
The dad told me that they'd be walking down to the playground at the school to play games, then playing Nintendo for McDonald dollars later on.
So it was that I was hanging out in my front yard at about 5 p.m. on Saturday night with my baby when I distinctly heard the voice of TwinBoyA bellowing from the general direction of the school. Before I knew it, I had plunked Babygirl in her stroller and I was winding down the trail that leads from our street to the upper edge of the school grounds.
I could heard the boys' voices as I approached the chainlink fence. I stayed partially hidden behind some bushes and a tree trunk, but I could easily pick out my boys as they played kick-ball. That was TwinBoyA on first base (as the runner) and TwinBoyB playing second base on the other team.
But what did I hear?
"Him! We're losing because of HIM!" Someone yelling at my boy, TwinBoyB?
My ears perked up. Then I heard, "You! I am terrible at sports and YOU ARE WORSE THAN ME! You are TERRIBLE!!!"
Then TwinBoyA says, "Brother, pitch the ball! Pitch the ball!" Leave it to TwinBoyA to figure out a way to play kick-ball without being responsible for catching a ball or throwing it at someone to make an out.
The next kid kicks the ball straight to TwinBoyB and it goes between his legs. The boy played first yells at him again. I think that boy is about to suffer a heart attack or a stroke, or possible just a grand mal seizure.
I am ready to stalk down the rest of the trail and stomp on that snotty boy's toes! I am a split second away from a berserk screaming fit in which I yell my head off at that child who dares to tell my child he is a horrible kick ball player. I may just bonk that boy on the head with the kickball that I will snatch out of his grimy little hands. I'll show him!
But I stand in place, silent. Babygirl fusses a bit, wondering why we are still. But I stand. Alert, like a mother deer who is trying to be invisible. I wish my boy were invisible, too. How can I leave him to the cruelty of other boys?
But then, the pitcher switches places with him. TwinBoyB pitches the ball, a boy kicks it to the new second baseman, who promptly makes an out. The boys run in and I turn to leave. Quickly, before I hear any more.
I push the stroller up the hill, deeply disturbed. How will my boy, my sensitive, hedge-swacking boy, withstand the rudeness of boys his age? Will this first slumber party be a nightmare in his memories? Will he shrink into the walls at the party? Will the boys mock him until he cries?
I think about not telling my husband. I am so mortified that my boy was taunted. I wonder if I can somehow spy some more. My stomach hurts.
When I tell my husband, he tells me that it's no big deal. Everything will be fine. I think he's just saying that so I will leave him alone while he watches the sixth game of the World Series. Okay, so maybe I'm just unusually paranoid. I try to set aside the worry.
That night, at 10 p.m., I go to pick up my boys. Very casually, I say, "So, was everyone nice?"
"Uh-huh. So, Mom, it was really cool, we---"
"Really?" I say. "No one was mean or anything? What exactly did you do?"
They tell me about kickball and then playing Nintendo and eating cake and ice cream and watching a video.
"So," I say to TwinBoyB, "Everyone was nice while you played kickball? What position did you play?"
"Oh, I was pitcher, Mom! I'm a really good pitcher."
Huh. How strange. No tears, no bad reports, no tattling.
I tried to drag it out of TwinBoyA the next day. Nothing. I brought up the topic with TwinBoyB. Zip, zero, zilch, as YoungestBoy would say.
Apparently, my boy is unfazed by the slings and arrows of boys his age.
I, however, still want to pluck the nose hairs from that first-basemen until he recants and promises to be sweet to my kid. Forever. No matter what.
Even if TwinBoyB is a horrible kick-ball player.