Well Diversified

Things are ridiculously busy here in the Arias household as the boys count down the days till summer break starts. Which is May 27th. In case you were keen to know when the City of Decatur school system deemed it the right time to release the children into their long awaited freedom. Hawke turned two years old on May 16th. Isn't that NUTS? Do any of you remember when he was born? Wasn't that, like...a couple of weeks ago?

Excuse me whilst I go and fetch a cold cloth for my head as I am feeling faint.

Well Diversified.

I have been laughing about these two words since Friday night.

Lemme 'splain.

Friday night Zack and I took the boys to the Mellow Mushroom Pizza near Piedmont Park on Monroe Drive. For all of you non-Atlantians it's here:

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It's yummy. There's actually a Mellow Mushroom about a mile from our house. However, this particular one we were going to Friday night was special because it was in close proximity to three awesome places. Of which we went to all of them.

Richard's Variety Store


Rita's Frozen Custard


Trader Joe's

It's the scenario that went down at Richard's Variety Store that I wanted to describe to you.

The boys knew that they could pick out a little sumthin' sumthin' in the store. I was there primarily to look for any cool birthday party supplies that they might have. And to look at their books. And the Oriental rugs. And the band-aids that look like bacon. And the stationary. You get the idea.

We had decided to go to Richard's first, before dinner, because they were going to close in an hour and we knew we wouldn't have time to eat dinner and walk over before they closed. Needless to say everyone's blood sugar started declaring war on each other so Zack and I told the boys it was time to wrap it up.

Caleb and Joshua had each picked out a small gadget that they wanted to get but Phoenix was still in one of the toy aisles and when he heard it was time to go he started to run around looking for something to get. He ran up to me, where I was standing at the checkout counter, with a large book of something involving pop-up images and dinosaurs and before I even had a chance to really see it he said,

"Actually, no. I don't want this." and took off for the back of the store. In a flash he was back with a huge box of Legos.

"Good news! You can buy this for me and so therefore save yourselves the trouble of paying me any allowance for 6 weeks!"

I admit it. I kinda probably made a face that looked mom-ish and adult-ish and squawked,

"WHAT? Oh good grief, Phoenix! I am not buying you a $60 box of Legos! Caleb and Joshua picked out something SMALL. As in $5 small. You are not getting this."

His face crumpled into anger and he said,

"Fine!" and stormed off towards the back of the store and SLAMMED the box back on its shelf and, raising his knees high and mashing his feet with every step he took, as if to leave footprints in the cement floor, he tornadoed his way to the front of the store where he flung the door open with an angry flourish and pounded his way over to a bench.

And he sat down.

And crossed his arms.

And glowered.

And I laughed.

Not at him.

He couldn't see me from where I stood still finishing up the payment process.

No, I laughed at the sheer amazement I felt when watching him because...I realized fully that he is so much like me.

Let me rest my head on the desk for a moment. (and there was sighing. Lots of heavy sighing)

I walked outside and scolded him for being so ridiculous. That his brothers had each picked out something small, and that it was time for dinner. That if there was something in the store that he REALLY wanted that I would go back in with him to get it.

Phoenix got up and walked back into the store. I asked Zack to take Caleb and Joshua on over to Mellow Mushroom and get us a table and followed Phoenix back inside. I could tell there wasn't anything that he really wanted. He stood there looking around, at one point picking up a set of stackable measuring cups that looked like Russian Stacking Dolls. He feigned interest in them, poring over the box, before setting it down, all while "hmmmming" and mumbling "interesting" under his breath.

"So?" I said. "What was it that you wanted? Besides the box of Legos? Or are you going to take up baking?"

He marched over to a shelf of something and, without even really looking at what he was reaching for, grabbed a box, handed it to me and said,


I looked down at the small box. It was a $5 Transformer of some kind. But the cheap $5 kind that only lasts for about a day and that I knew he wouldn't play with.

"What is it?" I asked and watched as he quickly glanced over to see exactly what it was that he had handed me.

"It's...a Transformer! I love Transformers!"

"When was the last time you played with a Transformer?"

He put his hands on his 10 year old hips and, in a tone so rife with attitude my jaw almost dropped, said,

"Well, you won't ever know will you? Do you have a way to document my toys and how often I play with them?".

I almost hauled off and gave him a spanking. Empathy for my mother welled up in me. In that moment I thanked her and my dad for allowing me to live. Because I know, you guys, I KNOW, that I was this wretched to my parents.

"No, Phoenix I don't have a system. And neither do you. I don't HAVE to buy you anything. You're lucky that you have the option to get anything at all in the first place. So, because of this attitude, and your rudeness and your disrespect, we're LEAVING."

"Moooommmm! I really want the Transformer!"


"Fine! I can't help that I'm well diversified in my playing habits!"

And with that he marched marched marched his way out the door, across the parking lot, onto the Mellow Mushroom patio, where he made a big show out of sitting at the table NEXT to the one that Zack and the boys were already sitting.

Hawke, whom I had been holding on my hip the whole time, looked at me and said,

"Whoa. All done. Bye bye!"

Well diversified. And then I started guffawing there in the store while the lady behind the counter eyed me nervously. I made sure to get all of my laughing out before I walked over to join the boys. I made Phoenix sit with us and then told him he had till the count of 5 to get his attitude in check or he was going to sit in the car.

He did. At the last second. ;-)

And he's only 10, ladies and gentlemen.

Heaven help me.

"Even when freshly washed and relieved of all obvious confections, children tend to be sticky."

Fran Lebowitz