Monday, May 18, 2009

I'm pretty sure I'm going to hell for this.

If you didn't already know, I have three brothers. Mark is the baby of the family and nine years younger than I am.

That means that when I was in high school, he was juuuuust a teensie bit older than Nick is now. Throughout my high school years he was that little brother that thought everything I did was the coolest thing ever.

(Unlike the other two - they thought I was ├╝ber dorky and hella lame, respectively.)

But Mark looked up to me, and not just because I was tall. As far back as he could ever remember I had a job, and therefore my own money and could buy cool things like Surf Style jackets and Snapple and Pearl Jam cassettes.

As any littlest brother will do, he asked a 156,000 questions a day, many with no real answers. And as any of my friends will tell you -- if you ask me a question like that I will make up an answer. If nothing else, it saves my sanity. I do it with my kids now.

"MOM! Where is that firetruck going?"

"To buy new socks - its a sock emergency."

"MOM! How come that house is purple?!?"

"Magic houses are always purple."

"MOM! Why is that guy bald?"

"Cuz his kids asked him so many questions all his hair fell out." (This has gotten me more understanding smiles than I'm sure any other answer could ever provoke.)

And I did it with Mark. I'm sure one day he was on question 155,999 when he asked, "Where did you get THAT?!?" and I simply replied, "The Cool Stuff Store."

For YEARS Mark really believed there was a place called The Cool Stuff Store.

He seriously, without a doubt believed me, and I never let up on the joke. Soft drinks, fast food, shoes, clothes - all of it came from The Cool Stuff Store. I often wondered if he pictured this Cool Stuff Store as some behemoth general store, with old split-open barrels lined up along the front counter, brimming with Hypercolor shirts, costume jewelry, and McDonald's fries.

I'd come home with something that Mom didn't buy and he'd ask, "Where'd you get that? The Cool Stuff Store?"

I never once laughed and he never once questioned my validity.

When I was 20 I bought a red Dodge Shadow convertible. Mark was 11 that day I drove it home to show the fam, proud to have a cool car, and one that wasn't a complete beater.

"WHOA!" I remember him saying, as he, the other two boys and my Mom came out to see it parked in front of the house. "Where did you GET that?!?"

I looked up at him, smiled slowly, realizing the answer was on his lips.

"Ohhhhh...wait. I KNOW." It was as if a light bulb had come on. "The Cool Stuff Store?" I could see in his eyes that suddenly he was too old to believe my line of crap. He knew none of it was true - that there had never been such a place - this mystical, awe inspiring place he had conjured.

I never did explain or apologize to Mark for that, but hopefully he knows that I was just coping with a pesky little brother that might otherwise have driven me crazy.

But I'm seeing parallels. Not only is my oldest son the same age Mark was when we first imagined up The Cool Stuff Store, but he looks quite a bit like my brother as well. (The skinny muppet arms and legs really help to make the connection.)

And, as I've said, I make up these silly answers when I might otherwise want to scream that I cannot take any more damned questions or feel as though I'm about to bleed from my eyes. And its only natural that every parent talk about eyes in the back of their heads, right?

Nick calls them my "back eyes". He talks about how, when he's older, he'll get back eyes too. He tells his brother all about them - about how Mommy can use her back eyes to see when he's picking his nose or when he's trying to sneak another cookie after I've said no more, so he'd better be good.

I let him believe I really do have back eyes. I mean, what's the harm? If he doesn't already, he'll realize that there really aren't eyeballs hiding under my hair. (What?!? So I might have told him that, too.)

But after all these years of staying straight-faced through the jokes, Nick got me.

We were riding in the car, on our way to God-knows-where and he wanted to show me his most awesome air guitar skills.


"Nicholas, you know I can't turn around and look at you. I'm driving."

"Mom - that's easy. Just use your back eyes."

I almost drove off the damned road!


WeaselMomma said...

I think we all (read me too) make up crazy nonsense just to put and end to the incessant questions. My kids just never buy my lines.

Secret Mom Thoughts said...

Whatever keeps you sane is good. I rock the back eyes too.

Kelly said...

That's so cute that he really thought you could use your 'back eyes'! I make stuff up for my quizzical kids too. I dont really think it hurts them.

Karen said...

And that's when you say, "You guys are rock stars!"

Kim said...

I laughed out loud on this one.. I used to say BK (before kids) that I would always answer with the right answer..not the silly made up answer that my mom always gave us..

Well now that I have two boys and ONE VERY TALKATIVE four year old I find myself making all crazy stuff up ..

And the back eyes is def one of them!! :)

Kate @ Life As I Live It said...

That's awesome! I would have answered, totally straight-faced with, "I can't use my back eyes because when I'm driving they look forward" or something like that.

Oh, and I'm totally use The Cool Stuff Store as an answer.

Roger said...

I don't think those back eyes would have worked through the headrest anyway.

Burgh Baby said...

You make back eyes look dead sex-ay.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Those replies are priceless! The Cool Stuff Store. I love it! You aren't going to hell for making a kid's life more magical, THAT would be criminal!

LceeL said...

I used to do that, too. My Mom lives with us and she'd here that sort of thing going on and I'd hear her mumble under her breath - "One of these days, God's gonna get you for that." Now, of course, my son's pull that stuff on me - only I KNOW they're doing it, but they persist anyway. Because they know it FRUSTRATES me.

Tara R. said...

That is so hilarious!

Colleen said...

I think I just took this as a challenge to start giving my kids crazier answers cuz mine were nowhere near as funny as yours. Though I didn't get the same practice w/a younger brother like you. My youngest brother was only 6 years younger than me and was way more interested in our oldest brother to be even vaguely awed by me, his only sister. That and he was also too busy hiding from the two brothers in-between us.
But now? I'm going to see what crazy answer I can get away with, especially since Gavin has generally ignored my "eyes in the back of my head" comments.

Amo said...

In our house, it's "mommy magic". I can always hear them trying to whisper it too, "Shhhh...remember the mommy magic. She will soooo know. You're in BIIIIIG trouble!"

Colleen said...

I am days behind in my reading!

This is hilarious. I am totally using "the cool stuff store" on my 3 yr old. Lord I hope it lasts until he's 11!

Back eyes - hilarious. Good stuff!!

Be careful driving now!

Karen MEG said...

LOVE it. Those are great memories with your brother and the "cool stuff store"... and don't all Moms have back eyes... not Dads, just Moms LOL!

(I can relate, I'm almost 12 years older than my baby brother, and the stuff I used to feed him ...)

T. said...

ABSOLUTELY there's a Cool Stuff Store! Also, The Gettin' Place. I shop at both, regularly. So funny.

I constantly make up stuff with my kids, which can get me into trouble, since they have high-functioning autism and take me at my word, on everything.