The kid in the pictures with the sunglasses and the neutral expression on the camp website who was wearing clothes that were not packed by me for Caden-8yr….? The kid whose photos I analyzed for body language asking me to come get him in case he was upset…? THAT KID?
Was not my kid.
Which explains why he was wearing clothes that I did not pack.
MY little blond cutie got off the bus, came right to me, and did not say hello. He said, “ethancalledmeajerkonthebus.” And later the rest of it came out. Ethan-12yr had told everyone on the bus that the smell they were experiencing was probably emanating from Caden-8yr’s backside. Caden-8yr SWEARS he was not “the source.” It hurt him GREATLY for this to be claimed.
I have no idea why. I mean, ANY time I’ve been in a moving vehicle with the child, he is proudly THE SOURCE and will gladly claim credit for any smells all on his own. But whatever, today was different.
I talked to Ethan-12yr. Ethan-12yr had not been kind at all to Caden-8yr this week, and he was full of divorce angst while at camp and taking it out on his little brother. If i had been studying the RIGHT CHILD in online photographs, I mighta KNOWN somehow.
(if you’re new here, I have serious issues recognizing people. even the ‘i birthed that one’ kinds of people. it’s INCONVENIENT.)
I got them home and tried to talk them into getting clean. But we were derailed by their extreme unresolved conflicts and exhaustion and angst and at some point i looked at Caden-8yr and asked why he was dressed for swimming. He had ridden 10 hours on a bus in THAT? Swim shorts and a swim shirt?
He said, “grandmother said we’d go swimming when we got back.”
“yeah, that’s not what she meant. So. No underwear?”
“Well. No. No underwear. But I did bring a change of clothes on the bus just in case that, you know, felt weird. But it didn’t. I was REAL comfortable on the bus without underwear.”
That statement just hung in the air between us. I considered addressing the whole “If you’re on a bus for ten hours with a bunch of CHURCH GIRLS AND BOYS then the implied dress code is always WEAR A PAIR.”
But then I just let it go, shook my head, and figured I’d maybe discuss it another time.
Then he told me he had a bug bite on his buttcrack and i LOST IT.
YOU DON’T GO TO CHURCH CAMP AND COME BACK SAYING BUTTCRACK! WE DON”T SAY THAT?!
“Um…. well. We do at camp, Mom. But yeah… here we say, ‘I have a bug bite on my buh-TAAAAHHHHHX-crack.’”
He waited a moment and then asked, “Is that REALLY better?”
I refused to answer. Instead i hugged him, kissed him, and wondered why these little guys came back talking about bus farts and buttcracks and no underwear and HELLO? Talk to me about spiritual growth instead, BOYS. I’d like to hear about Jesus instead, and please spare me the update on your crack. Is that too much to ask?
Yes. It’s 1:30 am. And I’m awake because it was really bothering me that I couldn’t find the pictures online TONIGHT of the kid I thought was Caden-8yr. I scoured hundreds of pictures for HOURS tonight, looking for the kid in the gray tshirt with blue writing and oversized sunglasses. I wanted to see that child, and study his face. I needed to FIX my facial recognition issue with this and get it right. It was AWFUL when Caden-8yr got in the car tonight and I was like, “SO… buddy? You were wearing big sunglasses and someone else’s clothes?” And he said, “No? No mom. Not me. That was someone else. I only wore my clothes and i never wore sunglasses.”
He didn’t think it was weird that I didn’t recognize him. He’s used to me by now. I felt TERRIBLE. So I searched for those pictures. FOREVER. WHICH IS WHY I AM STILL UP, AND CAPSLOCKING ALL OVER THE PLACE WHEN I SHOULD BE SLEEPING.
AND THEN I FOUND THE PICTURE.
I remembered they weren’t online at ALL, they were pictures that a nice lady from camp had texted me. It was Ethan-12 yr, a kid I REALLY don’t know, and the kid in the sunglasses.
I studied. I scrutinized. I looked at mouth shape, toes, sandals, shorts, golf tshirt from somewhere local, big sunglasses. I couldn’t be sure.
So I woke up Caden-8yr. I went in there with my phone, turned on the light, took off his satin sleep mask (YES. he sleeps in a satin sleep mask. So does Seth-6yr. It’s weird.) and held my phone in front of his face and asked him to identify the child on the right. It took him FOREVER to wake up and tell me that yes it was him.
“And whose clothes are you wearing?”
He whimpered and moaned and pulled his sleep mask back on and said, “I don’t know, Mommy. I don’t know! I’m tired!”
Caden-8yr does not often call me ‘mommy.’ I loved it.
And I feel completely vindicated on this and HAD to tell you. RIGHT NOW.
The weird kid in the sunglasses is mine. ALL MINE. He’s currently traded in for a satin sleep mask. SAME KID.
I’d know him anywhere.
(8:45 pm the next night)
This morning Caden-8yr had no memory of my waking him up and showing him a picture. He asked to see it. I said yes, but forgot. Until tonight.
I showed him the picture. Ethan-12yr, some kid I REALLY don’t know, and the Caden-8yr kid.
He looked at it, shook his head, and said, “that isn’t me.”
I was sure he was kidding.
“Nope. That’s a kid named Colby. He’s in Ethan-12yr’s grade. His family joined church this morning as a new family. I think he has green eyes, and he looks NOTHING like me. But Mom? Really? Didn’t you see the sandals? I don’t have sandals like that.”
THAT”S NOT WHAT YOU SAID AT 1:30 THIS MORNING. I DO NOT BELIEVE IT. WHERE IS ETHAN-12YR? I NEED ETHAN-12YR.
Ethan-12yr looked at the picture. I asked him to tell me who was in it. He named himself, someone else whose name I forgot, and Colby.
I’m REALLY annoyed about the entire thing. Unreasonably, completely, irrationally, IRKED. And I’d like Colby to stop walking around posing for pictures as if he’s Caden-8yr. That would be REAL NICE.
note: do NOT ask caden-8yr to pick anyone out of a line up at 1:30 am. not even himself.
also of note: do NOT ask ME to pick anyone out of a line up at any time of day. not even my own children.
REALLY notable: I wish i hadn’t blogged this. I am terribly embarrassed. I do not predict any future updates on the Who’s Your Baby post, I think we’re finally done now.