A Whole Nother Kid

by jkatejohnston

13 October 2013

Dear Max,

Cuixli slept over last night. He’s a sweet easy funny handsome kid. Most of the time I barely know that other people’s children exist. To me Enzo is pretty much all of kid humanity, and so it’s surprising to see what should be obvious—a whole nother kid and just as funny and whole and odd and representative as Enzo. (I’m still not convinced, yet see the evidence below.)

Even something as simple as how Enzo looks, with his toasty brown skin and half-Asian eyes and strong body. To me he’s Platonic Boy Form; Boy Ideal from which all other children vary (departing downward).

Or maybe other people’s children do exist; maybe he’s a boy among boys. (But surely not!) Anyway, Cuixli, who’s half Brit, half Mexican-Native American mix, is much browner, with dark-dark eyes and glossy straight black hair. And once your eyes get used to him, Enzo looks a bit pale.


Enzo got a bloody nose in the morning with plenty of snot mixed in.

Cuixli: “You should only eat your own blood. You should never eat anyone else’s blood. You could get their germs.”

Teresa: “What if you’re a vampire?”

Cuixli: “Then you can eat anybody’s blood.”


Imperfect notes from Enzo and Cuixli playing with dinosaurs.

Cuixli: “You holded mine, that’s cheating—all right, hands behind backs.”

Enzo: “But how are we supposed to control our dinosaurs?”

Cuixli: “There’s one thing you can’t beat, the tornado of doom.”

 …(missed some stuff)…

Cuixli: “But the one thing that they—they live in water.”

Enzo: “But this tail could probably propel him out of water. But remember mine has a secret little weapon.”

Cuixli: “Your tail.”

Enzo: “Not my tail. My secret little teeth…backwards.”

Cuixli: “Ooooh, (admiringly) that’s disgusting! Seriously, the back-mouth is totally creepy, right?”

Enzo:  “Mine can swim away. La-glosh, oooosh!”

Cuixli: “I hurt one of your dinosaurs, I sneaked attack.”

Enzo: “These guys are pretty much invincible.”

Cuixli: “Not that guy.”

Enzo: “Oh.”

Cuixli: “I saw in a movie, their head isn’t invincible. I saw in a movie he hit him with his tail and then bited his head. My dinosaurs are up here. They know you’re going to attack.”

Enzo: “But my guys are under water, that guy can’t swim, he can fly. This guy has a hiding in ambush.”

Cuixli: “I see where he’s hiding, dude. I know you’re there, Enzo, I see you.”


They watched When Fish Attack on TV as they ate breakfast.

Enzo: “It includes some pretty much death defying stuff. Don’t get any fish nightmares.”

Cuixli: “I don’t get fish nightmares.”


Cuixli: “My dad says, ‘My legs are no good’—because he’s old.” (His dad is our age. If that.)


While eating breakfast one of them must have spilled his milk. Both kids: “Milk spill! Milk spill! We need a towel.” Running feet down the hall toward the bathroom. “Got it. Go, go, go!”


They played with Enzo’s inflatable weighted punching bag.

Cuixli: “Pretend this is a man and we made him bleed, but he’s not bleeding now.”

Enzo: “Want to beat him up together?”


In the morning we had a pillow fight in the living room. I took the couch and defended it from all sides, and—thinking of Cuixli’s British half but mostly to amuse myself—I yelled out with each blow, “We will fight on the beaches.” Ba-doosh! “We will fight in the streets and on the hillsides.” Craack! “We will defend our island.” Doosh! “We will never surrender” Crash! “And when, as I believe to be inevitable…” but I knew that wasn’t right.

I felt a surge of English-major patriotism coming down from Johnson (Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel which is truly patriotic especially coming from him) to Henry Tilney (Remember the country and the age in which we live. Remember that we are English, that we are Christians) to Jack Aubrey (who really did defend our island) to Plantagenet Palliser (another head of a coalition government) to Quentin Crisp (kept out of World War II because he was gay, giving blow jobs to American G.I.’s—so big!—in the blackout) to Churchill himself, who’s all mixed up in my mind with Princess Diana (a relative of his who I still love for refusing to be used as a high class baby-making machine by that dreadful family). Never surrender.

I don’t mean to say that all this went through my mind at the time. It takes a lot longer to name a feeling and remember everything in your life that brought you to it than it does to feel it.

Looking up the Churchill speech on Wikipedia, I now see that I got it mostly wrong and left out the best parts—we shall fight on the seas and oceans—but the feeling was right, even though in the end I did surrender, laid out on the couch with a cushion on top of me and Enzo lying on the cushion; a cushion on him and Cuixli on top, triumphant.