Vinnie, Rupert and Dexter take a pause from the game. Vinnie tells his parents Rupert needs to go to the bathroom. Dexter follows Vinnie and Rupert hoping Vinnie will stop by the pantry on the way to the bathroom or on the way way back.
Vinnie’s mom and dad wait until they hear the bathroom door close. Vinnie’s mom touches Vinnie’s dad forearm, “I don’t think I can last much longer. I’ve tried deep breathing. I’ve tried visualizing peaceful places. I’ve tried recalling happy times with Vinnie and I couldn’t recall any. What am I to do?”
Vinnie’s dad says, “I think you have to change your definition of happy times with Vinnie. Think of this game as a happy time. The three of us are together. We’re playing a game Vinnie invented. We both had hearty laughs about you talking to Rupert.”
“Easy for you to say, Dear. Vinnie has your DNA and you both think alike. Do you know the stress involved in getting him off to school, anticipating a call from the school, or meeting with Mrs. Navis? I average a parent conference nearly once a week. I’m not talking about the time he returns from school or when you have an out of town conference.”
“I’m happy Mrs. Navis cares about Vinnie,” says Vinnie’s dad trying to put a positive spin on the conversation.
Vinnie’s mom raises her eyebrows, “You haven’t met Mrs. Navis, have you?”
Vinnie’s dad shakes his head, “You know how I hate parent – teacher conferences. I really appreciate you handling them. How bad can she be?”
Vinnie’s mom says, ‘At last week’s conference she had the guidance counselor with her. They want us to have Vinnie take meds to stop him from being so fidgety in class.”
“What did you say?”
“What do you think I said?”
“You made two enemies, Mrs. Navis and the counselor, I assume.”
“Also, the principal. I threatened to get a lawyer if they tried to medicate Vinnie.”
“I am so proud of you. He’ll grow out of it. You have to admit he’s really very creative.”
“When do you think he’ll grow out of it, Dear? He knows how to push all my buttons and then he smiles at me in such a disarming way I can’t be mad at him. He’ll make a great politician,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“I read something where kids like Vinnie usually normalize by the time they’re forty.”
“Forty! Forty! Do you know how old I’ll be? I think I felt a gray hair pop or was it two gray hairs. Can you see them? I felt it right here,” says Vinnie’s mom pointing to a spot right above her right temple at the hairline.
Vinnie’s dad twists to take a look at Vinnie’s mom’s hairline. He says, “I don’t see any gray hairs. Your last dye job is holding up really well.”
“OMG! How will I survive both of you. Either you’re becoming more like Vinnie every day. Or, Vinnie is becoming more like you every day. Did you have problems in third grade?”
“Uh, let’s put it this way. I only got to go to recess ten days in the entire year.”
“Why? Didn’t your grade school have recess?” says Vinnie’s mom.
“We had recess. I didn’t have recess.”
“Behavior issues. I couldn’t sit still and I was too social.”
“Vinnie will never grow through it. I’m serving my penance on earth. I’ll go straight to heaven when I die,” moans Vinnie’s mom.
“Oh, it’s not so bad, is it? We both love you.”
Vinnie’s mom kisses Vinnie’s dad on the cheek. “Thank you for listening, Dear.”
Vinnie’s voice from the kitchen, “Mom! Mom!”
“What is it Vinnie?”
“Two things, Mom. First, Dexter just ate all the cashew chicken you saved for lunch today. Second, Get ready for the next round.”