Mama may get that lawyer in the family she wants after all.
My child is quite the arguer and getting him to back down is darn near impossible.
He has been known to research his point relentlessly when the battle warrants it.
“What have you been looking up?” I ask after seeing his search history.
“Proof that Nennie is wrong,” he will reply.
When he believes he is right -- which is pretty much all the time – he will stand his ground and fight, either with his research or just dogged stubbornness that is pretty much a 12-year-old’s version of a filibuster.
It is quite interesting to watch, as long as I am on the observing side.
Not so much when I am the one he is going toe to toe with.
Maybe because he gets that stubborn streak from my side of the family, along with that dose of DNA that refuses to be wrong, but it is not pretty.
“Don’t argue with her, Cole,” his father will say. “She’s older and has more experience at being right. Life is just easier if you agree and go on.”
This just throws gasoline on his fire.
He will keep arguing and pleading his case to no avail.
A few days may pass and just when you think it has been dropped, he will bring it back up again.
Like his last battle: the proper folding of a burrito.
I have no idea how the subject came up, but we had an exchange about how to fold a burrito.
“Remember how you used to fold your burritos and everything would fall out?” I said in conversation.
Why I brought it up, I do not know. It seemed innocent enough.
“No, I don’t remember that,” he began. “I remember when you would try to fold them that happened.”
Did I mention that we are both stubborn and have to be right?
“No,” I stated. “I believe it was when
you did. It stopped when I folded them for you.”
“You must be remembering wrong, Mama,” he said. “When you did it, the beans and lettuce all fell out. When I started doing it, it stopped and I was able to eat my burrito like a civilized person.”
This back and forth went on for a while. Too long, actually.
Eventually we worked our way around to who knew the proper way to fold a burrito.
“I do it the way I have been folding burritos forever. My burritos do not fall apart,” was my argument. It was a time-tested method that had been used for over 20 years.
Cole looked at me solidly and said, “Well, I Googled the best burrito folding method – since yours was so wrong – and watched a video from Chipotle. Chipotle. Do you know how many burritos they make a day? Do you think they would get it wrong? I use the Chipotle method, Mama. Chipotle.”
His fascination and respect for the Chipotle method was unwarranted as he has never been in one in his life. So why he thought they were end-all, be-all was beyond me.
“I don’t care. My way is just as good.”
“Chipotle, Mama. Chipotle. They sell thousands and thousands of burritos a day. No one ever says on Yelp that their burrito falls apart.”
One would think an argument about folding a burrito would be short-lived but it wasn’t. One would also think there were other things to worry about in the world but I was a little upset my child thought I didn’t fold his burrito correctly.
Maybe it is because it wasn’t that long ago I could do no wrong in his eyes. Even if I burned a pancake, he would say it was delicious. But somewhere, somehow, he started to get his own ideas and opinions about things. Maybe he had these opinions before but he just didn’t express them.
Now, he did. And would even go so far as stand up to someone when he thought it was important enough to him.
“Why are you making such a big deal about a burrito?” I asked a few days later.
“Why are you?” he replied.
See what I mean about Mama maybe getting that lawyer?
I thought about this for a second. “Because you said I did it wrong the other night and had never mentioned that to me before. It would not have upset me if you had said something to me before but you didn’t let me fix it; you just told me I was wrong.”
He nodded his understanding. “I didn’t want to upset you by telling you before.”
“But telling me how I did it wrong and arguing with me about it – ”
“So you are saying you didn’t want to know if you made a mistake?”
“I do, but not that way!” I said, exasperated. I was back to my previous question – why was this such a big deal?
“Forget it,” I said. “Let’s let it go.”
But it needled me over the next few days. It went back to the issue of how I used to be Perfect Mama in his eyes and now, maybe he was growing up and I wasn’t so perfect after all. And if I got this dang upset about a burrito, maybe I wasn’t perfect.
“You’re still upset about me telling you
that, aren’t you?” he asked one night.
“No,” I lied.
He sighed. Also like my side of the family, he has that built in bovine waste detector, too.
A few mornings later, I asked what he wanted for breakfast. “Peanut butter toast, oatmeal or breakfast burrito?”
“Breakfast burrito,” he answered.
When I got everything ready, I left the burrito open on the plate as I handed it to him. “Can you show me how you fold it?” I asked.
He smiled. “Sure, I’d be happy to. Thank you for asking.”
The Chipotle Method looked an awful lot like the Mama Method. But I am choosing my battles.
And a burrito ain’t worth fighting over. At least not anymore.