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!




First Day of 5th Grade

conversations with hank


(the night before the first day of 5th grade)

Me: I think we have settled on an outfit.

Hank: What do you think, papa?

Pai: You look nice! My only criticism is I think you could loose the scarf.

Hank: (hand to his chest in shock)

Me: We built the whole outfit around the scarf.

Pai: And it is a great outfit, but I think it’s too much.

Hank: (shoulders slump, walks back into his bedroom) Okay.

Me: (follows) HOLD ON! Pause. Wait a second.


Me: Hank, what is your opinion?

Hank: I like the scarf.

Me: And what is the worst thing that could happen on the first day of school if you rock a scarf as an accessory rather than a winter necessity?



Me: Some kids may tease you.

Hank: That’s fine. That happens all the time anyway.

Pai: But I don’t like hearing that. I don’t like that kids tease you.

Me: If you don’t want to wear the scarf I support you, if you want your new scarves to be weekend wear I totally understand, but in my VAST experience of being fashion forward in school while my Midwestern American classmates followed the trends like religion I can tell you a well placed comeback is all you need.

Hank: SO I can be sassy at school?

Me: Just never with me and never to teachers.

Hank: Okay.

Me: Way back in my school days I was giving a presentation. I think I was probably 14 or 15. I was wearing an electric blue with white pipping trim, rayon, floor length 70’s disco-tastic dress with a contrarian graphic t-shirt over top, high slouchy socks, combat boots and far too much eyeliner. My presentation was on 1920’s fashion and when I had finished I opened the floor to questions and this one boy (deep annoyed sigh over 20 years later) who considered in a sport to make my every day a living hell raised his hand and asked insultingly why was I giving a presentation on fashion and had I even looked in a mirror before leaving the house.

Hank: In front of everyone?

Me: In front of everyone.

Hank: What did you do?

Me: I didn’t skip a beat and I informed him, bringing the attention back to my presentation that my skirt, although the correct length for the 1920’s conservative fashion, had far too much give and flow to be of the era since the 1920’s were either short and structure-less or long and constricting.

Hank: What happened?

Me: My teacher applauded me and gave me an A.

Hank: What about the boy? What about your colleagues?

Me: They were irrelevant. I got the A. I liked my outfit, I felt confident and I nailed my presentation. I didn’t take his insult personally because he obviously either had extremely low self-esteem or he was jealous that I was too fabulous to want or need his approval.

Hank: But you’re a writer. I’m not good at sassy things to say when I am not at home.

Me: Pro-tip: always tell the truth. Look at the facts and apply them with confidence. Let’s roll play.

Hank: What’s roll play?

Me: A fancy, more grown-up and professional way of saying pretend.

Hank: Oh.

Me: You be a loser who has some nonsense to say about your scarf and I will be you.

Hank: Okay. (clears throat) Hey, Hank? What’s up with that stupid scarf?

Me: (quarter turn so I am looking over my shoulder as if I have no time) It’s cold, it’s foggy and I walked here. (pantomime walking away)

Hank: That’s so good and that’s true! I will walk to school tomorrow.

Me: The best jokes and the best insults work because they are true.

Hank: No one is going to say anything about my scarf tomorrow because it is only Year 5 orientation and so they are all my colleagues, but on Thursday I may take papa’s advice, because all the upper class kids will be there and I will be too nervous to have to also deal with nonsense and nerves.

Me: No one ever called you dumb.

Hank: (fidgeting with his scarf) Not one day.




conversations with hank


Molly: (bursts into the bathroom) Good morning, mano (brother)!

Hank: (stepping out of the shower) Good morning, mana (sister)!

Molly: Mano, what’s that?

Hank: (drying his hair) What’s what?

Molly: (squatting down and pointing up) That?

Hank: Mana (sister), we’ve talked about this before, that is my penis.

Molly: (checking in her pants) Where’s my penis?

Hank: You don’t have a penis. You have a vagina.

Molly: Lasagna?

Hank: No, VA-GI-NA. Mano (brother) and Pai (dad) have penises and you and mama have vaginas.

Molly: (running into the living room where I am quietly enjoying my morning coffee finding this whole conversation hilarious) MAMA!

Me: Yes, my lovie?

Molly: Mama há (there is) lasagna?

Me: Yes, darling. Mama has a vagina.

Molly: Papa? Papa há (there is) lasagna?

Pai: (entering the conversation late) What are we talking about exactly?

Molly: (extremely smart and helpful) Uh, uh, uh… Mano e Pai (brother and dad) há (there is) penis. Mama and Amália há (there is) lasagna.


Me: That is right! Well done.

Pai: Does she mean…?

Me: Absolutely.

Molly: (peeking into her pants again) Olha (look)! Lasagna!

Pai: Are we going to correct her?

Me: (sipping my coffee, chuckling) Oh yah, but not today.