conversations with hank


Hank: (mid pillow fight with his Tio (uncle) Braulio) Ahhhhhhaw.

Braulio: You’ve got to defend yourself.

Hank: (taking a blow to the head) Owwwww. You’re a dick, Braulio.

Me: (overhearing from the kitchen) Yo! Language!

Braulio: Hey, I don’t want to play with someone who calls me names like that.

Hank: Dick is rude?

Me: (entering the room) For real, Hank?

Hank: Não, espera (No, wait).

Me: Dick in this context means penis and is very rude.

Hank: That is not what I meant! Braulio, that is not what I meant I was saying dick like ridiculous. You know, as in ri-DICK-ulous. Dick. You know.



Hank: (shoulders fall) But that doesn’t work does it. I am sorry, Braulio. I really thought dick was short for ridiculous.

Me: (snickering) Seriously?

Hank: Yes, seriously.

Braulio: (pummeling him with pillows) I will teach you the word ridiculous.

Hank: (hysterically laughing in between pillow blows)

Me: He won’t make that mistake twice.


Happy Birthday to me



Me: (replacing Good Night Moon with a piece of toast) Amália Sofia, trust me, this toast is much more enjoyable eating than that book.

Molly: Nnnnnnnnnah (but, but, but… fair enough).

Hank: HAPPPPY BIIRRRRTTTHHH DAAAYYYY! (falling into a huge hug)

Me: Thank you, buddy.

Hank: There should be no school on birthdays.

Me: I hear you, but it’s Friday and we’ll have the whole weekend and the magic show and friends and I have to spend the day answering the phone anyway.

Pai: (smirking, getting his coat on)

Hank: I don’t understand.

Me: I will spend my day glued to the phone and if I don’t answer the phone then my cell phone will ring so there is no use resisting.

Pai: Our family and friends will spend the day calling your mãe (mom) to say happy birthday.

Me: It is a Portuguese tradition.

Hank: But not the whole day.

Me: (tilting my head sideways) Pretty much the whole day.

Pai: There is no avoiding the love.

Me: Nope.

(phone rings)

Hank: No way!

Me: It has begun.

Pai: (kissing me goodbye) Happy birthday.

Me: (winking at him) Estou, sim (hello, yes)? (pause) Bom Dia! (pause) Obrigada, obrigada! (pause, waving the boys out the door) Pois (sure). (pause) Claro, sim (clearly, yes). (closing the door, falling into fits of laughter)…


Birthday Prep


(Please ignore the dyslexic word swap.)

(Please ignore the typo: shop *for*not go.  Someday I will learn how to text)


Hank: (fidgety)

Me: (tucking Hank in bed) What’s up, buddy? Got ants in your pants?

Hank: (giggling) No! (pause) I just… It’s just… Can I talk to you about something?

Me: Claro (of course)!

Hank: Your birthday is on Friday.

Me: Yup.

Hank: And I didn’t make you anything or buy you anything and I am worried because on Friday I have swimming school and Papa has class and I am running out of time. I just want your day to be special, but now I can’t make something without you knowing and I also don’t know what kind of present you would want.

Me: You are doing the right thing by talking to me about this. You are not a mind reader. How could you possibly work all this out on your own? It is hard enough for an adult to settle on a birthday surprise, let alone an eight year old.

Hank: It’s your turn for something nice and I want to give you something nice on Friday.

Me: (hand on my heart) I thank you in advance. Have you spoken to your papa about this?

Hank: Not really and he is really busy with his work paper.

Me: True, but you can ask him in the morning on the way to school.

Hank: That’s a good idea. Can you remind me to ask him in the morning so I don’t forget?

Me: No problem.

Hank: And if you have any ideas can you please tell me because I don’t think I will have time to make something, but I have euros saved so I can afford to buy you something and that is what I want to do.

Me: Wow. I am honored you would dip into your savings for me. You talk that idea over with your papa. He has birthday ideas in mind for me, I am sure. Your papa and I never make each other guess about presents. It is less romantic to be surprised with something unsuited than something charming. Now are you done with your worries for the day?

Hank: Almost, now I am worried about the cake. You have to have a cake.

Me: Oh, I am going to make a vanilla cake with lemon butter cream frosting. I already have all the ingredients.

Hank: Yum and candles?

Me: I have those, too.

Hank: Okay (sigh) now I am done with my worries. I am off to Bedfordshire.

Me: (kissing his cheek) It’s a perfect night for sailing. Sweet dreams.

Hank: Love you.

Me: Same, same.