Tiny Cut Big Band-Aid

conversations with hank


Me: (rushing through the front door) Buddy?

Hank: (seasonal change fall cold, fever groan) Mama?

Me: Hey you.

Hank: (deep rooted on the sofa) How was you lunch meeting?

Me: Lovely, thank you. How was your first afternoon home alone ever?

Hank: I don’t want you to freak out.

Me: You set the veranda on fire?

Hank: No.

Me: You maxed out my credit card buying infomercial products?

Hank: I don’t even know what that means.

Me: Spill.

Hank: (holding up his poorly bandaged left first finger) I cut myself slicing bread.

Me: Oh! (inspecting) This is why I asked you if you wanted me to slice some pieces off the loaf before I left.

Hank: I know and you were right. That knife is super sharp.

Me: True story. (ripping off the Band-Aid) This is not a nice cut, but it could have been worse. Ask me how I know this.

Hank: Are you going to tell me the story about how you almost cut off your thumb at art school, again?

Me: (chuckling) Not anymore! Did you cry?

Hank: No, I went, “ow, ow, ow, ow – ai, ai, ai, ai” and then I went to the bathroom and got a Band-Aid.

Me: A proper response. We must rewash it and put some iodine so your finger doesn’t become gangrenous and require amputation.

Hank: Mom!

Me: What? I am not overreacting.

Hank: It’s just a tiny cut only the Band-Aid is big. I would have probably cut my finger if you were here, too.

Me: In America I could be arrested for leaving a ten year old home alone to cut his finger while slicing bread. The least I could have done was neglected you with good old-fashioned Wonder Bread in the house my parent’s generation did.

Hank: You were up the street. I am in an apartment building full of neighbors.

Me: In the UK kids can’t stay home alone until they’re 13!

Hank: Really?

Me: Yup. (leading him into the bathroom) Give that hand a good old wash.

Hank: (complying) But when you were a kid it wasn’t like that, like kids could stay home much earlier than in Portugal.

Me: Let this be a lesson to you about how quickly the world’s opinions can shift about what is right and what is wrong.

Hank: I think ten is perfectly acceptable to be sick on the sofa while your mom runs out to a meeting. I know how to not answer the door to strangers, you have to be buzzed into our building anyway so that is like two whole doors, I knew where you were the whole time and I’m ten. It’s not like I’m five or anything.

Me: When I was your age I used to babysit.

Hank: I don’t think I’m old enough to watch myself and Amália because she has a particular set of needs and mostly they are called Mama and Papa.

Me: (riots of laughter) Truth.

Hank: But if I am sick from school again I can handle it, as long as you are only up the street.

Me: Noted. (bottle of iodine poised to strike) Brace yourself.

Hank: (eyes pinched shut, looking away) Just do it while I’m still brave.



No MY Birfday.

The Fall Birthday Trio

The Fall Birthday Trio


Molly: (stomping into the kitchen, pouting) Mama?

Me: Yes, lovie? Why the trombas (pouting)?

Molly: (arms crossed around her waist, focused on her mission, persuasive gestures to back up her argument) Papa’s birfday?

Me: Yes, papa’s birthday was on Sunday.

Molly: Yah.

Me: (chopping vegetables)

Molly: Papa’s birfday no Molly’s birfday.

Me: No, it isn’t.

Molly: Mano (Hank’s) birfday?

Me: Yes, Mano’s (Hank’s) birthday is on Monday.

Molly: Yah.

Me: (adding water to a pot of veg to make soup)

Molly: Mano’s birfday no Molly’s birfday.

Me: No, it isn’t.

Molly: When MY birfday? When my Hulkie (The Incredible Hulk) birfday, mama?

Me: (placing the pot on the stove, scooping her up in my arms) Oh, MaGoo.

Molly: (sadder than she should be) Papa há (have) birfday. Mano há (have) birfday. Where my Hulkie birfday? (sad kitten face)

Me: (slumping to the floor, pulling her into my lap) First is papa’s birthday, then is mano’s (Hank’s) birthday, then is Halloween and theeeeeeennnnn is Molly’s Hulkie Birthday.

Molly: (on the verge of tears, shaking her head no) No today?

Me: No, not today, but after Molly’s Hulkie Birthday is (whisper scream) Christmas! (jazz hands)

Molly: (brightening up) Chrissssssmiss?

Me: Yes! And there will be Christmas lights and Christmas food and wooby blankets and pajamas with feet and singing and chocolate.

Molly: (clutching her laced fingers to her chest, revived) And Chrisssssmiss?

Me: Yes, but first?

Molly: (returns to sore defeat) No my birfday.

Me: Oh, honey. Soon, your birthday is real soon. (brushing her hair from her face) Time flies, trust me.

Molly: (done feeling sorry for herself, pointing to the veg and water on the stove) Me mix it?

Me: Yes, please! You make the best soup. (hobbling up with the grace of a newborn dear, bringing the soup pot to the floor and retrieving a wooden spoon from the drawer)

Molly: Me mix it? Me mix, MAMAM? Me mix.

Me: Yes, please. Thank you for your help, Amália.

Molly: (mixing the veg and water, tasting the soup, pinkie extended, super professional) Need salt, mama.



Deixa-Me Em Pax (Leave Me in Peace)

Actual reenactment of Hank rejecting the 8th grade advances if set in 1813.

Actual 1813 literary reenactment of Hank rejecting the 8th grade girls advances.


Me: (opening the front door) He’s home!

Hank: (defeated, exhausted) Hi mom.

Me: How was your day?

Hank: (slumping into the house, shedding his coat, backpack, pulling his sweater over his head) Long.

Me: Today was your first full day; 8:30-5:30 is a rough schedule.

Hank: Like an adult at work, but we had three 15 breaks and lunch was an hour and a half. I really like lunch at my school and I found there is a supply store.

Me: Oh yah?

Hank: It’s so good mom. I went ahead and got my sheet music note book and another notebook I found out I needed today for only €0.40 each.

Me: Whoa, savvy shopper!

Hank: Right! From now on I will get my stationary (school supplies) there except for my pens because you know I have brand loyalty.

Me: Word. Can I get you a snack? Dinner isn’t for another hour and a half.

Hank: I would love a fresh (cold) glass of water. I am dehydrated.

Me: Coming right up.

Hank: (slumping on the kitchen step stool) Mama, something weird happened when I was buying my notebooks.

Me: Oh?

Hank: When I was at the counter talking to the funcionária (school assistant) these 8th grade girls walk in and came up to me and said I was cute.

Me: Oh, honey that can happen when you get to your new school because now you are the little kids and not the big kids anymore.

Hank: No, mom, you don’t understand. They didn’t call me fofinho (cute, fluffy) or engraçado (sweet) they saw me and said tão giro (very cute, as in hot, as in kissable).

Me: Well… that’s new. (handing him his water) Is this the first time anyone has ever called you giro (hot).

Hank: Yes.

Me: How did that make you feel?

Hank: Weird. It was all very weird. I was like trying to buy notebooks and they were all, “Olha para ele! Olha!”(Look at him! Look!) Now I know how girls feel when men um… how do you say it when a man flirts, but like when he does it and it is too strong or not wanted or gross?

Me: Objectify, to be Objectified.

Hank: Yes! I get that feeling now because they were, like, looking at me. You know?

Me: I know the feeling. What did you do? Did you say anything?

Hank: (taking a long drink of his water) Yah, of course. I didn’t say anything funny or anything. I mean life isn’t a show on Fox Comedy, but I rolled my eyes because I thought it was the right occasion for it and said, “Deixa-me en pax, se faz favor.” (Leave me in peace, please)

Me: (slapping my hand over my mouth to stifle riots of laughter)

Hank: What?! MOM!

Me: (shaking my head no, swallowing all emotion, failing miserably)

Hank: Was that the wrong thing to say? (suddenly awash in worry) Oh gawd.

Me: No, Hank. Ignore me. Seriously, I wasn’t prepared for this conversation quite yet. (gaining my composure) That was the absolute perfect thing to say.

Hank: Well, it worked. They didn’t bother me again for the rest of the day and my friends, who happen to be girls, said it was the right thing to do.

Me: I agree. Well played.

Hank: I am just not into all the drama of dating an older girl, ya’ know? (jumping off the step stool, handing me his glass, inspecting the fruit bowl, selecting an apple, taking a large bite and walking out of the kitchen)

Me: HA! Don’t rule out that Fox Comedy gig, buddy. (chuckling) Your timing is impeccable. (taking his glass to the sink, shaking my head) On point!