Naked Breakfast

Waking up my 11-year-old son for school is like trying to raise Lazarus from the dead, without possessing Jesus’ legendary powers of persuasion.

As Mary El so eloquently puts it, it’s like giving birth to him over and over again. We try to be as gentle as we can. We rub his back and whisper sweetly into his ear what a good boy he is as he moans and moans. He does have a legitimate problem—he was recently diagnosed with fibromyalgia, which makes his limbs and joints sore especially in the morning. But when trying to wake up Conor the only thing worse than the agony of spurring him into consciousness is the fact that he knows he has a built-in excuse for not getting up. And he’s not afraid to wield it like a drunk with a loaded gun.

We play the always entertaining “covers game”, which consists of trying to subtly pull his blanket off while he tries not quite as subtly to clutch it to his body. The whole time we’re also cajoling, bribing, over-promising– “C’mon sweetie, you have to get into the shower. Mom’s making you a nice breakfast. Yes, there’s bacon. I know it hurts honey, but it’ll feel better in the shower. Yes it will, I promise. C’mon babe, last day before the weekend! Little League starts Monday. It’s supposed to be a beautiful day, you can go out and play for a change. Look, I’ll let you wear my blue golf shirt today! C’mon, take my hands, I’ll help you up.”

 This little song and dance ends with me supporting Conor as he makes his way to the bathroom with tiny baby steps, his blanket wrapped around his shoulders. As we go by Mary El in the kitchen I say, “I got James Brown passing through here!”

If all this sounds like we’re ridiculously coddling our darling boy, consider the ramifications of putting a foot up his ass. First of all, all semblance of cooperation would instantly disappear, leading Conor to buckle up, dig in and steel himself for a long-term battle. Not only is he just stubborn enough to make our lives truly miserable, he also has a medical crutch he can lean on every single day if he chooses to. If life is a give and take, life with Conor is an all out tug-of-war, and you’d better have a strong anchor before you start pulling.

Next step is the shower itself. I get him in and sit on the lid of the can reading a book about the Hall of Fame. Conor is sitting on the floor of the shower with the removable shower head in his lap. I ask if he has shampooed his hair yet—he says no. I read a few more pages, enjoying myself as much as a can given the situation. When I next peer over the top of my book, there is water dripping from the soaked towel to the right of the shower, and there is a sizable puddle underneath. Conor has been unwittingly aiming the shower head outside the shower and is now creating a small lake. And he has still not done his hair. Finally Mary El comes into the bathroom with a breakfast plate filled with bacon, eggs and toast to physically show Conor what he is missing by not getting out of the shower. I am sent to the kitchen due to my inefficiency as a parent while Mary El does whatever magic she does to get our son the hell out of the shower.

He stumbles into the dining room completely naked, even though I had laid out clothes for him. He wants to eat before the food gets cold. I think if I was forced to eat naked I would immediately lose thirty pounds just out of self-disgust. And forget about Mary El, we’ve been together for fourteen years and I still don’t think I’ve seen her completely naked. But somehow our love that dare not speak its name has yielded the boy who would not hide his shame. Thank goodness I was on the opposite end of the table so I could choke down my coffee.

Between the two of us we manage to fully clothe Conor while he sing songs, does a Twilight Zone skit about being a boy whose mother is secretly trying to kill him, and generally acts like the insane 11-year-old he is. He’s as tall as his mother and fills out my shirts better than I do. And, like Mychal, he’s way more handsome than me or Mary El individually. Can’t wait until we hit the teenage years and the phone starts ringing off the hook with girls saying, “Um, is Conor, like, home or something?” Maybe he’ll be able to dress himself by then.

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    • bcpkid
    • April 8th, 2011

    OK ! I have been outed by you …I have been exposed to my very core…But now you publicly admit that My sons are way to handsome to have really come from either one of us. We’re not so bad! So is all that “You’re my pretty girl” stuff just a way to lull me into letting my guard down to unwittingly supply you with more material for your precious blog? I feel so dirty. You will be hearing from my lawyer!

  1. In case anyone thinks I’ve gone completely off the deep and and started yelling at myself, the above was written by the prettiest girl I know, my lovely wife Mary Ellen.

    • Kae
    • April 10th, 2011

    Brian, hysterically funny!

  2. Thanks Kae. Hope you’re enjoying being a grandma!

    • Kae
    • April 12th, 2011

    Oh, yes, I am, Brian! It’s the best!

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