As it would happen, yesterday I needed to go onto Miles' school campus playground about an hour after school was let out to talk to the "Coach" about a Pitch, Hit, and Run activity that he was desperately interested in participating in. Miles was unable to get the form to sign up the day before and didn't know how to enter. The front office of the school - typically - didn't know what was happening on their own playground, so it was up to me to chase it down and make his dream of entering come true.. (Miles, extraordinarily intelligent, is smart enough to be acutely aware of his shortcomings, is very shy, and lacks self confidence. Whenever he wants to participate in anything social, I am very, and I mean VERY proud of him, and facilitate it in whatever way I possibly can.)
Anyway, we had a while to wait, and in that time, he and I sat at the lunch tables/benches in the shade and talked about some of the events that had happened at school earlier that day. I really do love that child as I love all of Eric's children. They are so incredibly bright and talented, and yet each flawed in such appealing ways - each distinctly different from each other. No normal human being would be able to resist their charm.
As Miles and I talked, there was a group of boys, clearly Miles' friends and classmates, sitting in a clump together, two rows down and one table to our left. They eyed us with curiosity.
"Is that your Mom?" one of the boys called over to Miles. Miles thought about it for about 1/2 a second and replied "Yes." I was surprised at being given the honor of being "Mom" and kept quiet.
Then he thought for about 30 seconds and added, "She's my Step Mom." Of course. That's what I am. No problem.
I started laughing, smiled at them, and said "Of course. I'm his Step Mom. I am evil. Don't I look evil?"
"No!" they all replied in a chorus.
I made a slightly more stern face and said "Do I look evil now?"
"No!" they replied again, laughing like crazy.
I made an angry face and said "How about now? Aren't I evil?" And Miles called out and said "Be careful dudes, she can get mad."
Our kids think they have seen me mad; and in fact I put on a good act to make an impression on them, but I lost my true sense of inner anger years ago. The only time I get really upset at others now is when I am feeling profoundly ill. What they have actually seen is a very calculated act with the end result of getting what we need out of them .
The boys were not phased, either by my stern look or Miles' warning. They replied in unison "No, you don't look evil!"
And so I stood up, put my most angry face on, put my hands on my hips, and said in a very harsh voice, "Now do I look evil?"
Well, that made an impression. Instead of laughing, the boys just watched me, slightly warily. And one of them piped up, "I'm not afraid of you. I can just run into the 'Men's' room if I have to."
I was laughing hysterically on the inside as I replied "Do you really think a stupid sign that says "Men" could stop me from following in right behind you? And that's when it happened. Miles piped up with his most urgent warning ever.
"Dudes! Don't test her, man! She's seen my Daddy's penis like 90 times!!!!!" (There was a time when I walked in on Miles while he was fully unclothed about 6 months ago, and he was so upset that I had seen his penis that I told him that I had seen his father's penis the night before so he was in good company, and for the next several days, he asked me if I had seen it again and I would jokingly reply 'yes.' It hasn't come up in many months, but apparently that interlude made a big impression on him.)
There were gasps of horror from every one of the boys. They scattered like bugs in every direction. Despite the new media and the claims of many that kids aren't like they used to be... they know too much and are too sophisticated, I'm here to dispute that claim. Kids are exactly the same as always. The cosmetics of their appearances and lifestyles may be different, but the social norms remain. And 9 year old boys know nothing about the birds and the bees, just as they didn't when I was a child.
I could hardly wait until I was alone with Eric so that I could repeat the story. He and I laughed our asses off when I told it to him. And when I told Adele later that evening, her response was to calculate that Eric & I had been married for 6 months, living together 2 months prior to that, and therefore there had been "x" opportunities to have seen it... and I then reminded her that Eric & I had committed sinful acts even before we moved in together. Yes, I guess it's true. I am evil , at least according to stern religious standards, and I am a Step Mom. And I also think that Miles' estimate was a wee bit low - lol!