"I'm sitting here in shock, wondering how they're going to pull it off separately.
You know, Like, they need that balance in their marriage to exist wholly as a ruling force, right?"
- Me, passionately attached to the strange marriage inside of the netflix series House of Cards, to a friend on a late night phone call dissecting the turn of events, like we would our neighbors.
"That's because, babies actually come from eagles, Leon."
- Rex, the seasoned voice of adult knowledge. Giving Leon a birds and bees talk in the lobby of a newborn ward, prompted by the sculptures of storks (or Eagles) carrying babes in blankets, while waiting to meet their new cousin.
"Pay attention. Pay attention. Pay attention."
- Internal monologue during the entire conference with Arlo's 5th grade math teacher, in which my mind automatically starts to dissolve as soon as people start tossing around words like "formulas" "variables" and "fractions."
"Ok, give me a need a mintute."
- Me, on hearing Harpo Studios was being literally demolished. With a wrecking ball, showing stinging proof of the destruction (or, end of an era) on O's Instagram, which I avoided for a good 24 hours, until I felt ready to face fact of it.
"So Brookie posted 26 pictures on IG and 28 videos on Musically yesterday,
and then got mad at us for not liking them all."
- Arlo, on his cousin's fresh contempt for their lack of support on her first dive into the temped world of jr. social media.
My mind just goes dark. Like a protective defense or something,
because it knows I can’t handle it?"
- Mike, discussing proposed visions of the boys as teenagers. In which we are both too scared to even hypothesize what life with 16 year old Rex might look like.
"I took a pill and ate pizza."
- Rex, mangling another top forty hit for an audience consisting of Hayes and his best friend Jestin. Who were naturally impressed seeing that both of them would prefer pizza over Ibiza anyway.
"Mom, Rex keeps writing songs about Penises. He's even making cut outs for a puppet show called "My Penis Pals." Can you please tell him to stop?"
- Arlo, rightfully irritated. Rex perpetually penis obsessed.
"Bright. And so considerate. With lots of big life questions he likes to save for me until I'm alone.
In which I usually have to say, hmmm, I've never actually thought about that, Leon..."
- Leon's teacher, during conference. In regards to Leon's tendency to ask about life, death and the great beyond when you're really just trying to lock up the classroom or figure out what to make for dinner.
"See those guys, Leon? They are little, but they are the strongest guys in the world. Dad only picks the strongest ones. They're little but STRONG. And they all have kids and they’re little, they're tiny actually, but they grow up strong too.
- Rex, explaining the grand mystery behind the short statured crew his dad picked up one weekend from Home Depot, to help with mass yard work clean up.
"Skate or Die" / "Surf or Sleep"
- Rex & Leon’s imagined IG names they revealed to one another should they ever get their own accounts. Pretty sure you can guess which belonged to whom.
- Hayes, every time we ask if he wants to sleep in his own bed.
"You also NEED to do your homework"
- Me on Arlo’s IG photo under the comment section on a shot he posted showing a slight emo inflected selfie titled "NEED TO SKATE."
"He doesn't give me any problems. He's smart, he's nice to everyone and gets his work done quickly but a little chatty. He's drawn to people and people (wherever I move them) are drawn to him. So it's not always his fault."
- Arlo's teacher addressing his "downside" which I understood to mean he's "popular."And therefore distracted, in a harmless, Ferris Bullerish kind of way.
I think I feel worse about giving my dog a bad cut than all of the God awful bowl cuts
I’ve given the boys through the years. Kind weird, right?
- Me, to Mike. Confessing my lingering guilt over Jack's unfortunate home snipped hair cut. (that is finally growing out thank God)
"And Rex, he's the best dressed!"
- Rex's teacher, during conference, complementing his fashion skills.
Which only makes me immediately sad there isn't a legitimate letter grade for it.
Because he could use it.
"Well I wish I would have had some really inspirational advice to give him. Instead of calling an 11 year old four letter words."
- My best friend, who prides herself on being the overprotective flamboyant Jewish or Italian Aunt (even though she's not actually Jewish or Italian) they never had but desperately need in their life to stay on track. Here, in reference to Arlo reading her texts to me, about the girl giving Arlo a first taste of young heartache. Who told him in person she liked him "better in photos." Further noted in a series of phone conversations I read where he had sent four heart emojis later dismissed as an "accident" when the girl questioned, very plainly, the reason behind them. (Insert crying face mom / dramatic Italian aunt emojji)
Ok, I really need you to summon that five star artist in you right now,
because this right here, this is looking more like a 3."
Me, in brash pep talk mode (not my best) during the Sunset Magazine shoot where they requested some art from the kids and Rex and his rainbows weren't quite living up to expectations.
"It would be the first house to burn in a fire and the "seasonal stream"
is actually a rainy season death trap."
- Mike, stamping the flame out of yet another canyon home dream of mine, upon a rushed home tour of a house I loved for it's original wood flooring and big windows, that he basically claimed would kill us eventually. No matter how pretty it looked from the inside.
"Haters gonna hate."
- Me, summoning the 15 yr old self I keep locked inside, via text. On hearing criticism over Dylan snagging what some believed was an ill awared Nobel prize.
- Hayes, when we ask if he loves anyone of us, other than Rex.
"I can’t do it.
Mike, second song in, jumping ship after me pleading for him to give the new Kanye album a try.
"I taught you all the things I can't even do myself!!
I'm taking them back.
And I hope you forget the secret handshake too!"
- Rex to his best friend or worst enemy. Depending on the conflict / hour at play.
"He told me I had to."
- Rex, after being praised for wanting to buy Arlo a mini skateboard with the 5$ he found at school. Motivated I found by force, not heart.
"I just want the bell and the helmet right now though. "
- Leon, bearing greater enthusiasm for the accessories that come with owning a new bike, rather than the actual bike.
He's going to do exactly what he's so worried about doing because he's worrying about doing it the whole time he's doing it.
- Mike about Leon riding (and crashing) on that bike.
"Was your piano teacher in a bad mood or something, today?"
- Me, unknowingly dropping them off on the wrong day for lessons. Two times this month. Realizing too late the reason for that slight head shake I caught from the parking lot.
"Do you have any other goals. What else is going on at school this month?"
- Me, to Leon down playing the perks of perfect attendance. With all likelihood being zero.
"I'm really good at handball when I play by myself
or with my teacher."
- Leon, talking sports & his strong points.
I need a phone. If someone kidnaps me who am I going to facetime?"
- Rex and his best reason for wanting a phone.
"No, Ho Ho."
- Hayes, blaming Jack with a quick finger, for drawing with sharpie on the coffee table. And for everything, basically. That ever goes wrong in the house.
"No, don't do it. Donald Trump doesn't like brown people and Hillary Clinton robbed a bank."
- Rex, during intense late night bedroom politics in which, one: I realized I am very likely overdoing our CNN family screen time, and Two: he felt so fired up he had to get out of bed to fully engage in the conversation about which candidate his brothers might be voting for. Urging them ultimately to skip out on both. Explaining later why Tony Hawk would be a more fitting choice. Because if you can vote in a racist, or a criminal, why not a guy who knows something about killer skate style. *To be fair, I've had the same thoughts on a long fantasized Oprah / Gayle ticket this go round too. . .
- Photo by Carissa Gallo for Babaa Knitwear