10:00 p.m., October 30, 2007

Last night Jackson couldn't fall asleep, he was so excited about -- you think I'm going to say "harassing the neighbors for candy dressed as a bright yellow anime creature that shoots lightening out of its cheek spots," but actually he was restless with the excitement of the new Scholastic book order. Remember those? It used to be you took home a little four-page newsprint catalog of discount picture books, your mom would let you pick out one or maybe two, she'd write a check for $3.00, you gave it to your teacher, and a month later your books would be sitting on your desk with your order slip stuck inside. Yay!

Yesterday Jackson came home with five book club catalogs stapled together. Somewhere along the line Scholastic must have partnered with Sharper Image because ye olde Scholastic catalogue now contains more NFL, Nintendo, and Cartoon Network "learning" toys than you can shake Yoda's battery-powered light saber at.

So there he sat in bed, still awake at 10:00 p.m.! after I'd tried everything short of hitting him in the head with a frying pan -- there he sat surrounded by all five catalogs, circling everything he wanted with a red pen. Like the test-tube kit that lets you make your own slime ($9.95); the Double Security Locker ("Keep your stuff super-safe with this locker that you build yourself!")($9.95); the wall projector clock ("Turn off the lights! This amazing clock lets you project the time on your wall!)($7.95), and -- hey! The new Guinness Book of World Records! ($21.95, hardcover only.)(The world's longest hot dog is 195 feet, if you must know. You owe me $2.00 for that. I take PayPal.)

Finally I got him to put away the catalogs and turn out the light.

"Thanks for getting me all this stuff, mom."

"Wha-huh? I'm not getting you everything you circled."

"You're the greatest mom in the whole world."

"You're hilarious. You circled like $300 worth of stuff."

"Daddy will give me the money. He's rich."

"You have nice dreams about all the stuff you don't need and you're not going to get."

He sat bolt upright.

"Mom, I'm scared."

"Of what?"

"Tomorrow's going to be scary, big kids are going to scare me, I know it."

"You know what? Think about all the big kids in our neighborhood. Remember Tyler and Javier last year? They were running around in dresses with handbags and high heels. This is not a place where people try to scare the crap out of each other."

He laughs.

"Do you want me to take you out tomorrow night, or do you want daddy to go with you?"


"Okay, then I'll tell you what. I'll carry a big stick with me and if anyone tries to scare you I'll yell, 'Get away from us, scary kid!' And then I'll poke them with my poking stick."

"Thanks, mom."

"You're welcome. Now go to sleep or I'll kill you."