if this is how a twelve year old gives compliments, how will he do insults?

Yesterday around dinner time, I asked Liam if he wanted chicken in a tortilla or just plain chicken with rice (I know, what a dazzling array of options. Don’t tell Ina Garten; she’d just feel threatened).

Liam, sprawled on his bed in his fuzzy bathrobe, surfaced out of the book he’s reading (The Name of the Wind, which is apparently the Best Book Ever in the History of Words).

“You know, mommy,” he said, bleary eyed from reading, “lots of families get take-out, like, all the time. But you…You just…take a little of this and a little of that and then the next thing you know you’ve made chicken tacos like from Dos Toros. I mean, I never could’ve imagined, Dos Toros tacos, here, in Abu Dhabi. You’re amazing.”

Dos Toros, for those of you not lucky enough to live in Manhattan, is a stupendously good taqueria that used to be around the corner from our apartment.  They do real cooking.  Me? I put chicken in a pan with some magic dust (Blue Smoke’s magic dust), slap the chicken bits into a corn tortilla with some Mexican rice from the marvelous Maria. No cheese, no sauce, no guac, no tomato, no beans. Dry as hell but the kid thinks it’s some kind of haute gourment special, so who I am to disabuse him?

Perhaps fueled by his love for chicken tacos, the twelve-year old flung his arms around me. “You’re just so great and nice and helpful, and you find me great books–or your students suggest great books–and you help me with thinking and ideas and everything and I just love you! You’re such a helper! You’re so good at so much and help me with everything.”

I am basking. My pre-teen son, gushing about how much he loves me? Oh be still my beating heart.

There is a long pause. Liam keeps his arms around me, then looks up.

“I mean, except in math. You can’t really do anything in math that’s useful to me. I mean, in math you just really have to, you know, how to do it. And you just, I mean, you just don’t.  When will dinner be ready?”  He picks up his book and dives back into the story.

From the heights of glory, I am cast down to the valleys.

I shuffle into the kitchen to make the tacos, wondering who will help me count out how many tortillas I need.




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9 Responses to if this is how a twelve year old gives compliments, how will he do insults?

  1. Erica M March 3, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

    They cut so deep.

    I said the exact thing to my mom when I was in 6th grade. I think it has something to do with wanting to go to Mom for absolutely everything and when we discover there is something she seems unable to handle, we lash out at her in disappointment. Doesn’t make it right.

    Your tacos are to die for and that’s what he’ll tell his kids. The math will never come up.
    Erica M recently posted..yeah write #99 weekly writing challenge grid: badges are ready for Tuesday’s open submissionsMy Profile

  2. Arnebya March 4, 2013 at 8:52 pm #

    I tried and failed to give my kids the impression that I know the maths. I do not know the maths. I do not want to know the maths. I used to want to but now I don’t want to. The words? The words I got. The numbers? Can go to hell covered in gasoline. The first time my daughter realized I could not even understand the question in her homework was the day she gently patted my hand and said, “It’s ok. Can you make those biscuits I like?” Great. Sent for kitchen duty as it is all I am good for.
    Arnebya recently posted..Guest posting at Mama’s Comfort CampMy Profile

    • Deborah Quinn March 11, 2013 at 7:46 am #

      Ah the maths (which is actually what they call it at this British school my kids go to: “I have maths prep,” they say, which translates to “I have math homework.” )… Frankly, I blame my father (conveniently) b/c of his insistence on REALLY FUN GAMES OF MATH FLASHCARDS. Still gives me nightmares.

  3. Lady Jennie March 4, 2013 at 9:32 pm #

    giggle. So the compliments don’t improve much by 12 do they? My 7 year old son pretty much compliments the same way.

    And now I’m inspired to make tacos.
    Lady Jennie recently posted..Life in the Trenches – Chapter 9My Profile

    • Deborah Quinn March 11, 2013 at 7:44 am #

      Tacos have become a go-to meal & I can’t decide if that’s a good or bad thing, frankly. But I imagine that tacos you make will be WAY better than anything I concoct, I have to say… As for boys with compliments? I think basically my philosophy is that I take ’em where I can get ’em at this point, and hope only that he continues even to speak to me as he heads into his teen-age years…ARGH!

  4. Lynda March 5, 2013 at 9:49 pm #

    Very sweet. I think the math part makes it even more endearing because he’s being so honest. I’m encouraged to know that compliments are still to be had once they get into double digits. I’ll make scrambled eggs for dinner and my 6 year old will say, “wow mom – you are just the best cooker ever.” Sometimes they are so easy to please….
    Lynda recently posted..Dubai’s Camel Racing FestivalMy Profile

    • Deborah Quinn March 11, 2013 at 7:41 am #

      Yes, the nice thing about them at this age is how easily pleased they are (mostly–we still have our flare-ups if there are “yucky bits” on the edge of French toast)…I am crossing my fingers that he stays this way through into adolescence…thanks for visiting!

  5. Gail Monique Mallo March 6, 2013 at 6:00 pm #

    Oh my! I’m not a mother yet but what your son said made me smile! 😀 I can just imagine how happy you are to have a sweet son who appreciates you that much. I can only hope my future son will be as sweet and thoughtful as he is. 😀

    All the best from a fellow expat here in Abu Dhabi. 😀
    Gail Monique Mallo recently posted..BlueMy Profile

    • Deborah Quinn March 11, 2013 at 7:39 am #

      Thanks for stopping by, fellow Dhabian! My son is (mostly) a very sweet fellow, if a tad blunt sometimes…!

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