Jackson's birthday party went pretty well. We took four seven-year-old boys to the 11:00 a.m. showing of Wall-E in Ventura. Two parents, four kids, military precision.
Me: "Four kids' popcorns, please."
Little boy #1: "I don't like popcorn."
Me: "Here's your popcorn."
Little boy #2: "Can I just get some candy instead?"
Me: [steely gaze]
Little boy #2: "Popcorn is fine."
And I wondered why none of them wanted to sit next to me. Jack, of course, is the king of making little boys think he's funny while at the same time making sure they're just scared enough of him to behave. When we got back home for the swimming and cake portion of the afternoon, one kid started getting out of line and teasing Jackson -- why does the littlest kid always have the biggest mouth? -- sending Jackson flying into my chest and tearfully telling me the kid was ruining his day and he wanted to send him home. I tried a few different lines of reasoning: "No one can make you feel inferior without your permission" was a little too subtle, I guess; I considered saying, "It's your party and you can cry if you want to but why not make him cry instead?" but thought the better of it. I think Jack laying it flat out and saying "If he doesn't knock it off we'll call his mom and tell her to come pick him up" really did the trick. And then looking the kid in the eye and telling him to chill his shit the fuck out.
Now if we could get that look of Jack's to make Peewee quit quietly chewing up beloved toys, shoes, pillows, and underpants, maybe Jackson would quit asking if we could sell him on eBay.