Different Cultures, Different Rules

Hank taking a study break this weekend to build towers with his sister (so she could knock them down)

Hank taking a study break this weekend to build towers with his sister (so she could knock them down).  AND for all the Portuguese reading this conversation… YES, I know Molly is barefoot.  It is an endless battle to keep something on her feet.  Notice the socks right behind her and I have her slippers in my hand while taking this photo to reapply to her feet for the ten-millionth time that day.  


Me: (turning on the light and entering Hank and Molly’s bedroom, yawning) Oh good gawd. Good morning, chickens.

Hank: (horse) Mama.

Me: Oh no, you sound worse.

Hank: (horse, voice failing him) But I didn’t have a nose bleed in the night so that is a bonus (cough, cough).

Me: Ms. Molly McGoo! You woke up the whole house 4 times in the night so now it is my turn: (rattling her crib) WAKE UP WAKE UP WAKE UP!

Molly: (groggy, stuffed lion over her face, muffled) NO!

Hank: I slept terrible.

Me: (sitting in the rocking chair, pulling my knees to my chest) We all slept terrible.

Hank: Mama, can you feel my testa (forehead)?

Me: (abandoning the comfort of the rocking chair) I have no doubt you have a mild fever. (feeling his forehead) Yup, you are officially not going to school.

Hank: But I have to! I have my Portuguese test.

Me: This is why there are makeup tests.

Pai: (entering the room) He needs to go unless he is dying.

Me: What?

Hank: This is a big end of term test. It is to prove I have learned. I have to take it.

Me: But you are sick!

Pai: I will pick him up right after the test, but trust me, it is better if he goes.

Hank: This happens every test. Someone from our class is sick and they come only for the test.

Me: But how can you expect to do you best ill?

Hank: I studied really hard this weekend. I rested. I did nothing but study and rest.

Me: True, but…

Hank: Erica Sofia was so sick once. She had a fever and a grip (flu) and she came for our Math test. You should come unless you are in the hospital or someone dies.

Me: I don’t like this.

Hank: My teacher knows I was getting sick. On sexta-feira (Friday) she felt my neck because she saw I was coughing and have trouble swallowing. She told me to rest this weekend so I could come to the test.

Me: But you are probably contagious. And how is your head? I bet you have a headache!

Hank: Mama, I am miserable. All I want to do is stay in bed, watch modern family and have sick noodle soup, but I am ready and I need to take this test with my class.

Pai: I will go and pick him up at noon. You can do anything for three hours.

Hank: (struggling to clear his sore throat) Kids at university take tests sick all the time.

Me: That is true. I took a million exams ill, but your not at university. YOU are in fourth grade.

Pai: This is the way of things.

Hank: And I will drink some of your magic tea (Fresh honey, ginger, lemon tea).

Pai: And I will give him a bit of paracetamol (Tylenol).

Me: (wrapping him in a big hug) I don’t like this.

Hank: Me neither! I’m sick!

Me: And you are never sick.

Hank: (getting squeezed) Mama? Tea.

Me: I’m on it.

Molly: (full diva) Melk. Mama! Melk (Milk).

Me: Yes, I will get you some milk, MaGoo. My goodness, my babies are growing up so fast. Promise me, Hank. Promise me you will not cough all over Erica Sofia (Hank’s desk mate).

Hank: I promise.

Me: And you will tell your teacher you are sick and leaving after the test.

Hank: I promise.

Me: And you will put your head down at intervalo (recess).

Hank: I don’t know if I can, but I will ask. I don’t want to go outside today. My body hurts. (coughing) I can hide in the Library.  My librarian is so nice and she will understand.

Me: Oh lord.

Hank: Mama! I will be fine. Tea, please. I need to get dressed.

Molly: (hanging over the bars of her crib) Melk, peeeees (milk please).

Me: Right. Act normal, Hanford. (walking to the kitchen) Different cultures, different rules. Different cultures, different rules. Different cultures… (yelling for all to hear) I still think this is insane!!!!

Pai: (from the bathroom) Noted!

Hank: (horse, voice failing) Mama, it is gonna be okay!

Molly: MELK!

Hank: Mana (sister), say please! (cough, cough)