Vinnie’s Mom Wonders When Vinnie Will Grow Out of This Stage

13

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.”

“Why?”

“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.”

Vinnie Knows What Is True

12

Vinnie sits Rupert on his lap. Rupert’s fuzzy, dark brown face rests on the table top. His black, shiny glass eyes stare across the table at Vinnie’s mom and dad. Vinnie’s mom wants to look at Vinnie, but Rupert’s eyes and smile force her to place her tongue between her teeth so she won’t laugh.

Vinnie says, “Rupert wants to asks the question. He said he’s made it simple for adults, it will be a true and false question. Are you ready?”

Vinnie’s Mom and Dad stare at Rupert waiting for the stuffed grizzly bear to speak. Vinnie lifts Rupert up so Rupert is in front of his face. Vinnie speaks in his high pitched nasal falsetto voice, “This is a two-part question. The first part is what is true?”

Vinnie turns Rupert around so that they are facing each other. Vinnie says, “Good job, Rupert. I’ll take it from here,” Vinnie sets Rupert on the table against his lunch box.

Vinnie’s mom blurts, “That’s not a true or false question.”

Vinnie points a forefinger at his chest, “Mom, you talking to me?”

“Well, Vincent, I’m not talking to Dad,” says Vinnie’s Mom.

“Mom, I didn’t ask the question. It was Rupert. You should ask him. Hold on. I’ll get him.” Vinnie takes Rupert and lifts him in front of his face. Rupert eyes stare blankly at Vinnie’s mom. 

Vinnie’s mom begins, “Rupert …”

She interrupted by Vinnie’s dad getting up from the table and running to the front door. He opens it, goes outside in below freezing weather. The next sound Vinnie and his Mom hear is a loud burst of laughter coming from somewhere on Mulberry Street. Several minutes later, Vinnie’s dad returns and sits down. He looks at Vinnie’s mom and says, “Continue with your conversation with Rupert, Dear.” Vinnie’s dad’s eyes start to water, his face turns as red as a deep red Crayola crayon. He looks away and presses his fingers and thumbs against his lips.

“You’re no help, Dear,” says Vinnie’s mom to Vinnie’s dad. She turns her attention back to Rupert, “Rupert, I thought this was . . . excuse me for a moment.”

Vinnie’s mom follows the exact route Vinnie’s dad took a few moments earlier. Vinnie’s dad turns his back toward Rupert who is now looking at him. The uproarious sound of female laughter coming from somewhere on Mulberry Street filter into the house. Moments later, Vinnie’s mom returns, shivering. She says, “I’m going to make some tea. Does anyone else want anything?”

Dexter hears the invitation and barks. Vinnie’s dad says, “I’ll have some.” 

Vinnie says, “Rupert and I will have hot chocolate. Dexter wants a strip of the turkey bacon you cook for dad.”

Ten minutes later, Vinnie’s dad and mom sip on hot tea. Vinnie sips on hot chocolate. Dexter already scoffed a microwaved slice of turkey bacon. And, Rupert stares at a small cup of hot chocolate placed in front of him. 

Vinnie says, “Rupert is busy with his hot chocolate. I’ll take over for him. Challenge round question, What is true? I already know the answer so don’t try to trick me.”

Vinnie’s dad says, “I’ll take this one. Something is true when it isn’t false.” 

“Poor answer, Dad. You and Mom get minus six points and Rupert and Dexter get seven points. Like I learned in school, one time people thought the world was flat. Did that make it true?”

“Well, no.”

“But, Vinnie,” says Vinnie’s Mom, “If it was on a true and false test back then, it would be correct.”

“See Mom. Just because you say something is true, doesn’t make it true.”

“Boys got a point, Dear.”

“I guess we lost, Rupert and Dexter won. It was a nice game. Thank you, Vinnie,” says Vinnie’s mom pushing back from the table.

“The game’s not over, Mom. You and Dad earned a chance to go to the next round card,” said Vinnie while he printed ‘Go To The Next Round’ on a paper napkin. 

Vinnie’s Mom Wonders if Her Day Can Get Worse

11

Vinnie’s mom’s eyes glaze over. She sees herself walking along a deserted beach surrounded by sandpipers. The only sounds are the rhythm of the surf rolling onto the shore and seagulls circling the beach looking for food. Suddenly, she’s transported into the present moment.

“Mom, Mom, Mom,” says Vinnie.

Vinnie’s mom travels one-thousand miles in the blink of an eye, “Yes, Vinnie?”

“You’re not paying attention, Mom. Your mind is somewhere else,” says Vinnie.

Vinnie’s mom gets indignant, “It is not. I was paying attention.”

“No, Mom. Mrs. Navis says the same thing to me when I get the same look on my face. Where were you?”

“Is this part of the challenge round?” asks Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie’s dad steals a glance toward Vinnie’s Mom, “I’d like to know. Was I with you wherever you were?”

Vinnie’s mom makes a deep sigh, “If you both must know. I was thinking about dinner and where we should go tonight. I was thinking we’ll go for pizza at Mario’s Sport’s Bar and we can all watch the ballgame while we eat.” Vinnie’s mom immediately regrets her words. She hates sport’s bars. She tired of pizza. And she doesn’t know who’s playing and she doesn’t care who wins. And, she just blew the private date she and Vinnie’s dad agreed to earlier.”

“Wow, Mom. I hate having a baby sitter. This is so cool. This day is already getting better and I didn’t think it could get any better. Can Rupert come? I promise he’ll behave,” says Vinnie.

Vinnie’s mom is thinking about seeing a present moment coach. She can’t back out of this one. Her day is like a winter storm when forecaster says, “Hold on, the storms going to get worse before it gets better. I hope there’s plenty of food in fridge.”

Vinnie’s dad says, “Great idea. I’ll invite Mike and Michelle to join us. That’s the bar where they met.”

Vinnie’s mom thinks, ‘Can this day get worse? Yes, it has and there’s no telling how bad it is going to get.”

“Mom doesn’t like Michelle. She thinks she uses too much makeup. Isn’t that what you told Marsha? Dad. Can we invite Larry and his mom. At least I’ll have someone to talk to besides you both,” says Vinnie.

Vinnie’s mom wants to deny what Vinnie said, but can’t she knows she said it. She makes a mental note not to be candid with anyone if Vinnie’s awake and then she can’t be sure if he’s sleeping. She says, “Can we get the challenge round over with?”

Vinnie smiles. He says, “Great. Let’s do the challenge round then I’ll invite Larry and his mom.”

Vinnie’s dad raises his hands up, “Hold on, Vinnie. We didn’t agree to inviting Larry and his Mom to Mario’s tonight.”

“But, Dad. You didn’t say no,” says Vinnie.

Vinnie’s mom sensing an opportunity for payback, says, “Vinnie makes a point, Dear.”

Vinnie’s dad hearing his words repeated back to him feels as if he’s driving into a cul de sac and has no escape, “I thought you didn’t like Emily.”

Vinnie glances at his Mom. “You don’t like Larry’s mom, Mom? Why? I’m making this the first part of the challenge round, so you have to answer it.”

Vinnie’s mom prays silently, ‘Mary, Mother of God, help me. I’m dying here. I’m trapped in deep pit and they’re tossing dirt on top of me.’ Vinnie’s mom forces a smile, “Of course I like Emily, Vinnie.”

“But Dad said you don’t like Emily. Dad, why did you say Mom didn’t like Emily if she says she likes Emily?”

Vinnie’s dad doesn’t dare glance at Vinnie’s Mom. He can feel her shooting large jagged icicles at him. He says, “Can we take the original question? I was ready to answer it.”

Vinnie says, “I’ll have to talk to Rupert and Dexter about this rule change.”

‘Oh, dear God, I’m at the mercy of a stuffed animal and a beagle,’ mutters Vinnie’s  Mom.

Vinnie Returns Tomorrow – Are Their Hotlines for Moms With Sons Like Vinnie?

Vinnie doesn’t let up on his mom and dad. They must have the patience of saints. LOL Vinnie returns Monday.

Vinnie Returns Monday Testing His Mom’s Limits

Vinnie can’t help himself, he’s an 8-year old boy with a vivid imagination. He returns on Monday.

Vinnie Asks, “What Could Go Wrong?”

10 

“What is the challenge round, Vinnie?” asks Vinnie’s mom.

“You haven’t heard of the challenge round, Mom? I thought everyone knew about it. Rupert and Dexter knew about it,” says Vinnie.

“Vincent, you said you made up the game. It’s the first time all three of us have played it,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“That’s true, Mom, but moms and dad are supposed to know what their kids are thinking if they are in tune with them,” says Vinnie.

Vinnie’s dad takes his eyes off his iWatch and says, “Where’d you hear this? In school?”

Vinnie smiles and says, “No, Dad, I’m not allowed to go to PTA meetings. It’s just for adults. I heard it last week when I came home from school. Mom was watching Dr. Bob. Dr. Bob said it.”

“You watch Dr. Bob?” says Vinnie’s dad raising his eyebrows.

“I do not watch Dr. Bob. I was getting ready to do my yoga. I always practice yoga when Vinnie is doing his homework. I turned the TV on and it happened to be on the channel that broadcasts the Dr. Bob show,” says Vinnie’s mom folding her arms across her chest.

“Dr. Bob’s pretty smart, Dad. He’s a doctor. You’re not a doctor. Mom’s not a doctor,” says Vinnie.

“Can we get to the challenge round, please,” says Vinnie’s Mom. She adds, “Dear, can we get a sitter for tonight? I really, really, really need to go out.”

“Mom, can I go? If we don’t finish the game, we can continue at the restaurant. I’ll be at a disadvantage since Dexter can’t come. Can I take Rupert? Please, Mom. Please.”

Vinnie’s dad, often not the most sensitive male in the world, catches the urgency in Vinnie’s mom’s voice. He says, “Mom’s talking about her and me, Vinnie. We can get a sitter or I can call Gramma and Gramps. Do you have a preference?”

Vinnie’s mom says, “Thank you, Dear.”

“I don’t need a sitter. I got Rupert and Dexter. What could go wrong?” says Vinnie.

“Oh my God. Where do you want me to start?” says Vinnie’s mom.

“Let’s start the challenge round, Vinnie. We’ll figure out the sitter situation after the game,” Vinnie’s dad feels his world spinning around and threatening to crash.

“Okay, but I don’t want Heather, she smokes pot and has her boyfriend come over and all they do is kiss on the sofa,” says Vinnie happy with himself for constructing a no win situation for his parents since Heather is the only sitter who agrees to stay with him.

“I don’t believe you,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“She’s sneaky, Mom. She told me you are so easy to fool. She tells me how to fool you. It’s like she’s a brain when it comes to fooling adults.” Vinnie’s words spill out of him one after the other as if he is a sous chef at a five star restaurant making a gourmet meal.

“Okay. I’m going to call her parents right now. If I find you are not telling the truth, you are grounded for the rest of your life,” says Vinnie’s mom reaching for her iPhone. 

“Can we start the challenge round, please,” begs Vinnie’s dad.

“Mom, if you call Heather’s mom, she won’t know anything because Heather told me her mom and dad don’t have a clue,” Vinnie feels his stomach starting to do a backflip. Vinnie’s mind starts working on a reverse story plan. 

He blurts, “No need to call Mom. You passed my test.”

Vinnie’s mom puts her iPhone down, “What test?”

“I was making sure you loved me. I heard Dr. Bob say young kids always need to know their mom and dad love them.”

Vinnie’s mom stretches her arm across the table, “Of course we love you. You don’t have to test us. But we’re going out tonight and you are staying home. Case closed.”

“Darn. Okay, here’s the challenge round question.”

VINNIE RETURNS ON MONDAY ~ WILL HIS PARENTS SURVIVE HIS GAME? DON’T MISS A SINGLE EPISODE

Vinnie’s Mom Needs a Support Group

9

Vinnie finds a parent worthy question. He holds it up in front of Rupert. Then he shakes Rupert’s head acknowledging Rupert had enough time to read the question. Vinnie bends over the side of his chair and shows the question to Dexter. Dexter’s thinking it’s food, snaps at it barely missing the question and Vinnie’s fingers. 

Vinnie looks up at his mom and dad. “Mom, Dad, are you ready for the question? It’s got a few parts. Do you want the last part first or the first part second because I can give you the third part first.”

“Vinnie, this is confusing. How many parts to the question?” asks Vinnie’s mom.

“I’m sorry, Mom. I forgot you and Dad are adults. I have to make it easier for you.”

“Don’t be fresh, young man,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“Vinnie may have a point, Dear. You know how young kids take to technology. Vinnie taught us all about snapchat and Instagram,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“Go ahead. Stick together. I thought we were a team in this game?” says Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie turns to Rupert, “Rupert, you and Dexter will win, because you know how to work together.”

“Ouch,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“What is the question? Start at the first part,” says Vinnie mom. Her impatience level now registering seven on a scale of five.

Vinnie picks up the question and reads it, “I was born in Columbus, Ohio. But we only lived there while I was alive for two months and then we moved to Texas. How come when you say O  H, I have to say I  O? We don’t live there.”

Vinnie’s dad raises his hand, “I got this one, Dear.”

“You don’t want to talk about it first?” says Vinnie’s mom.

“You can take it if you want it. It seems straight forward,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“I don’t trust him. There’s a catch,” says Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie’s dad turns toward Vinnie’s mom, “Vinnie’s our son, of course we trust him.”

“You take it then,” says Vinnie’s Mom sticking her hand into a bag of nachos. 

“Well, Vinnie, Mom and I both grew up in Columbus and we both went to Ohio State University. That’s what they teach us to say. They’ll teach you the same when you go there.”

“What if I don’t want to go to college there? I think I want to go to Michigan instead of Ohio State. What’s wrong with that?”

“OMG! I told you, we couldn’t trust him. Vincent, you cannot go to Michigan. If you do, you’re crossing over to the dark side. They are our arch rival,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“Mom’s right on this Vinnie. When you say that word, it’s like cussing,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“I am not going to Ohio State when I grow up. Besides, Sister Janet went to Notre Dame and at Sunday School she said it is a much better place than Ohio State. I asked her.”

In unison, “You are going to be a Buckeye. End of discussion.”

Vinnie turns to Rupert, “Do you want to take this or should I?”

Vinnie uses his falsetto voice, “I’ll take it.”

Vinnie picks Rupert up, holds him arms outstretched in front of his face and speaks in Rupert’s voice, “You’ll have plenty of time to get used to the idea. Vinnie’s only in third grade.”

Vinnie sets Rupert down against his lunch box, then turns toward his mom and dad, “I wish you guys were as smart as Rupert. This game is really unfair.”

“We’ll see. And, I am your mother, not Sister Janet,” says Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie lifts Rupert and twists in his seat. He bends over placing Rupert on Dexter’s head. Dexter doesn’t move because Vinnie often does this. Vinnie lifts Rupert up and places him back on the table. He says, “Rupert and Dexter have a better answer, too bad. You get minus seven points for your answer. Rupert and Dexter get eleven points for the correct answer. Now, part two. What is a buckeye? Why would anyone chose this for a mascot? And, why do they call it The Ohio State University? Should I call Rupert, The Rupert and Dexter, The Dexter? And, none of my friends root for Ohio State in football season, they all root for Texas teams. Why can’t I root for a Texas team? If Ohio was so good, how come your parents, Mom, come to Texas for the winters? And, how come your parents, Dad, moved to Florida? What’s your answer?” 

“To what question?” asks Vinnie’s dad.

“That’s a minus ten response, Dad. Too bad. You and Mom are at minus seventeen. Rupert and Dexter are at seventy-six.”

“How are you scoring this game?” asks Vinnie’s mom.

“That’s one of the best parts of the game, Mom. The person who asks the questions gets to make up a score.”

“Is the game almost over?” says Vinnie’s mom wondering if she can call a support hotline for moms who have sons like Vinnie.

“We’ve only started, Mom. We’re going to enter the challenge round next.”