At dinner tonight:
Me: So I think we need to give a public shout out to Evan and Zach for their great work at the Boys Ranch today.
Paul: I know!
Ethan: What. What did they do?
Zayd: Ugh. (pause). Can I have more steak?
Zayd does not like it when others are given praise for work because it draws attention to the fact that Zayd does not like work.
Me: Zach and Evan are volunteering at the thrift store everyday for a few hours.
Zayd" Ughhhh... (he gets up to get more steak).
Me: Sandy called to tell me and said you two were charming and you did a great job. She is excited to have you back. Dad and I are really proud of you. If you keep this up, then when you apply for your first job, you'll have a good recommendation from someone who has worked with you. It will help a lot.
Zach: She told you we were charming?
Zach: So what did you say?
Me: I said, "Thank you! They are good boys."
Zach looks at me suspiciously.
Zach: Hmmm... I'm surprised.
Me: Why? You are good boys. I knew you would do a good job.
Actually Sandy had tried to call my cell three times today. Twice when they were working at the thrift store and once afterwards. She never left a message. I was sick to my stomach thinking, "Crap. What did they do?" So when she told me they "were charming" I thought, "Thank God," but I said, "Thank you."
Ethan: Did anyone say anything good about me?
Me: Uhm.. no. Nothing specific.
Ethan gives me a sour look, sits for a moment and then gets up from the table too.
After a minute or two of eating in silence, Ethan is back with little cups filled with water. He serves me first.
Me: Oh! Thanks Ethan! That is so considerate of you.
Zayd: (moans loudly in disgust).
Ethan runs off and zips back a couple more times with water cups for everyone.
Me: What is this all about?
Ethan gives me a proud smile and sits at the table.
Paul: I think someone needs a few kudos too.
Me: Ahhhh... Well, thank you Ethan. That is very nice of you. We appreciate it. Right guys?
I get halfhearted grunts from Evan and Zach. Zayd says nothing.
A moment later, Zayd's arm shoots straight up in the air.
Zayd: I wish I had armpit hair.
Zayd often makes odd declarations at odd moments. Like when he yells out "C-D-F" during television commercial breaks -- something which started about year and a half ago.Apparently CDF is the acronym for some company that makes CDs.
Don't try to find logic in this. There isn't any.
Evan also raises one arm in the air.
Evan: Well... I used to want armpit hair, and now I don't.
Evan: Because then you would have to wash it.
Zach: You don't wash your armpits?
Evan: Oh. I wash them... (Evan begins to fiddle with his non-existent armpit hair)... but I'm glad I don't have to worry about conditioning it and stuff.
We all stop chewing and look at him.
Evan: What? What? (he looks around at all of us). You don't need to condition it?
Zach: No. You don't condition armpit hair.
Evan: Oh! Oh. I didn't know that.
Zayd: I would condition my moustache... (he says stroking his non-existent moustache).
Zach: You don't have one.
Zayd: I will. And then... I would pull out all the gray hairs... because I would want my moustache to look beautiful and silky.
During this armpit conversation... I slowly become conscious of the fact that my feet are being rubbed under the table.
I look under the table. It is Ethan. Sitting in front of my chair rubbing my feet.
Me: Ethan? What are you doing?
Ethan: I'm giving you a foot rub!
Zach: Oh my God.
He smiles at me proudly.
Me: (I look at Paul who is across the table from me). Uh... apparently our youngest really likes praise.
Paul: Ya think?
I look under the table again at my 6-year-old seriously focusing on my foot rub.
Me: Thank you Ethan. This is quite lovely. Getting a foot rub while I eat dinner.
Actually is it kind of disturbing... but whatever.
Two seconds later...
Paul: Oh! (he says totally startled) Wow. (pause). I'm getting a foot rub too.
Everyone looks under the table.
Ethan is lying on his back under the table, using his hands to rub Paul's feet and his feet to rub mine.