Each and every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on my way to work, I drive Baxter and another very cute second grade boy down to school. The ride is about 20-25 minutes long. And I do mean LONG.
These boys love Pokemon. They study it. Yes, in books. In order to defeat me in battles. All. the. way. to. school. Now, there is truly the rare morning when I'm in the mood for this and have a really good time with it. Unfortunately, far more often it bores me to tears.
Here is how a typical battle goes down:
Chicago, 8:20 a.m.
Boys: Time for a battle! Who are you going to be?
Me: Wait, wait! You've forgotten the 3 magic questions you have to answer first!
[Insert a series of math, language arts and Scooby Doo-related questions designed to kill at least 5 minutes - 10 if the math is extra-hard. Somehow Matt once stretched this most of the way to school; I need a lesson.]
Boys: I choose you, Tentacruel! I choose you, Blastoise!
Me: Umm, does that mean it's a land battle?
Boys: NO! It's a water battle!
Me: Oh. So who can I choose from?
Boys deliberate for 3 minutes (hooray!) over the Pokemon book they share in the back seat and will soon give me a choice between three or four wicked crappy characters that they will be able to defeat in about 30 seconds. Which would be a good thing except we will have to choose new characters and start all over again when I'm defeated, so it doesn't really matter.
Me: I wonder if I remembered to bring that new boy's file - the one I am planning to spend an hour reading before he comes in today. [I hadn't.] Is this the week DJ is at the doctor or is he coming in today? Hmm, I think he's not coming. I'd better call R's family to let them know I have that slot available. I wish I could keep track of which new kid has which OT. I'm going to just have to call the OT practice, give them a list of names, and tell them to have the appropriate therapists call me. I'll do that right at 9 after I drop the boys off. Maybe one of them will get back to me today.
Through the din of my own inner voice I am barely hearing, "So which one do you want to be then, Mommy?"
Me (saving face): Gee, I'm not sure. Which one do YOU think would be best?
Boys (giggling) assign me the shittiest fighter and I accept.
Me: I choose you, Polywrath!
Boys (screaming): Tentacruel use Sonic Boom! Blastoise use Ice Chamber!
My little otherworldly fighter is now likely deaf and trapped in an ice chamber for the next few minutes (score!). Unfortunately, I am not.
Baxter: Umm, it's your turn, Mommy.
I wonder how to get by without them realizing that not only do I have no idea what my powers are, I now no longer even recall which character I have.
Me: What do you think would be best in this situation?
(Yes, they always fall for this stalling tactic.)
More conspiratorial whispering takes place in the back seat.
I start wandering again: Oh, no, the roofer is coming today and Matt doesn't know it! I wonder if he's working from home or if he went out? I'd better call him. [Insert phone call.] Do I have something scheduled during nursery school tomorrow or is this one actually free time? What should I do? Catch up on work? Go to Target?
The boys emerge with enormous grins, making it completely obvious to me that I'm getting set up and am about to get whatever power I direct at them thrown right back at me with daggers of ice poking my eyes out, but I play dumb and accept their suggestion.
So it goes. Yes, all the way to school.
And this, my friends, is why I need that caffeinated beverage at my side, in the trusty little cup holder of my Subaru in the morning.