He’s letting me hold his hand in public for goodness sake.
My brave boy stands 4’7″ on a knife’s edge between big boy and young man. Often he acts like a surly teenager. But right now he’s giddy with fear about a tooth extraction, so he’s happily squeezing my hand on the three-block walk to the dentist.
“Almost 11,” he tells the oral surgeon he’s just met.
We’ve officially entered the orthodontics phase of childhood. A bright blue retainer in hand, we still need to rid ourselves of a meddlesome canine baby tooth.
I suggested the day before the tooth pulling that he could try laughing gas. Soon after the mask is placed over his little nose, he starts to giggle. I threaten to tell “Yo momma” jokes. He giggles some more. My almost 5th grader had recently discovered the genre of jokes that begin with “Yo momma is so (fill in the blank)… that she (fill in the blank). As in “Yo momma is so fat, by the time she walks past the TV, the show’s over.”
But my Jared is a sensitive male. So when his friends started trading “Yo momma” jokes, his feelings were genuinely hurt on my behalf. He felt a need to defend my honor, as if his friends were insulting me personally.
But kids are deeply enamored with the theme. There’s even a book called “The Yo Momma Vocabulary Builder” which is coming out in a new edition next month. It features such gems like “Yo momma is so ubiquitous, when she sits around the house, she sits AROUND the house!”
“Yo momma is so jaundiced, she sweats butter!”
“Yo momma has such gravitas, the shadow of her butt weighs 20 pounds!”
“Yo momma ‘s beset by ennui, she sighed to death!”
I told Jared that it was all in the name of good fun and reassured him that his friends didn’t really think that I was so ugly, they didn’t give me a costume to try out for Star Wars.
I was flattered though, that Jared felt for me. On the cusp of adolescence, my sweet sensitive boy and I have recently begun to butt heads (hard to believe, but i can be a bit bossy as a mom). His reaction to the jokes though reminded me of how upset i was when the 5th grade me had stepped on a sidewalk crevice and my friends taunted me by saying “step on a crack, you break your mommy’s back.” I burst into tears, riddled with guilt and outrage and fear.
In Jared’s dental haze, I told a “Yo momma” joke. Jared laughed with several dental instruments in his mouth. The objectionable tooth was long gone. I squeezed his hand with a smile as the fish hook needle pushed through his gums a second time to stitch up the damage.
“Is it almost out, yet?” he garbled.
It was my turn to laugh, with gratitude for the noxious fumes and the ole’ reliable Yo momma jokes.