There are snakes in the dishwasher. But he doesn't know how to tell anyone, because he's not supposed to open the dishwasher by himself. Except he did and now he's scared.
Or he was. He's kind of forgotten about it, for now.
"When was I born?"
"You know your birthday, mijo." Mami reaches across the table and taps his plastic Buzz Lightyear cup. "Finish your milk."
Of course he knows his birthday. The same way he knows his whole name, even though everyone usually calls him Tonio. Or Tone-Luc. Or mijo, but that's really just Mami's name for him, though Grandma Lopez uses it, too.
If he hears all of his name, that probably means he's in trouble.
Anyway, he knows about birthdays. He's had six of them, already.
"Yeah, but when was I born?" He has a lot of questions and his moms are usually really good about telling him things. Like the time he asked about why he doesn't have blonde hair and Mami explained that he takes after her when it comes to looks, but he has his Q-bie's "attention to detail and occasional quiet rage."
His other mom, his Q-bie, looks up from her iPad. "It's the same, sweetie."
He wonders if she's playing Angry Birds. Sometimes, she lets him play and then he beats her high score. That's when she squints her eyes at him and pretends to be mad, but just tickles him until he begs her to stop. He recently learned that shouting "I'll pee!" is a good way to end the tickling.
Mami says he's lucky, that when Q-bie was younger and people were better at things than she was, she made them take slushie baths. He thinks that sounds really cold. He also wonders if he could eat a whole bathtub of slushie, because that sounds like a lot. Like, maybe at least five of the biggest cups they sell.
"So, my birthday is when I was born?"
"Yep." Mami nods.
"Why don't they call it a bornday?"
Q-Bie turns off the iPad and drinks her coffee. They always drink coffee, but he thinks it's gross. Unless it's the kind with the stuff on top that they get at Starbucks. "Because that's what birthday means."
Sometimes he feels like there are just too many words and other things to know and he's not sure if he'll ever catch up.
He knows Q-bie has another baby. Her name is Beth and she lives in Ohio and she has another family and he saw a picture once but didn't think she looked at all like a baby.
"How was I born?"
Mami looks at Q-bie and Q-bie looks at him, then back at Mami. "What do you mean how, Tonio?"
"When Stevie's dog had puppies, everything looked squishy."
Stevie is his best friend. He remembers when they met, even though that was way back on the first day of school and that was in September.
He remembers that Q-bie had to pick him up from school because of the fight.
"Why don't you tell me what happened?"
"Got in a fight."
"Other kids are just mean."
He remembers the look on her face, the kind she gets when she talks to Mami about Serious Stuff. "Are... kids mean to you because you have two moms?"
He remembers thinking that was silly. "All kinds of kids have two moms. Sometimes they have two moms that are boys. And sometimes they have two moms that are a girl and a boy."
He remembers hearing her tell the same thing to Mami when they got home and he remembers how much they laughed.
"Okay, then. Why did you get into a fight?"
"Some kids were picking on Stevie."
"Is he your friend?"
"Stevie's a girl. She's really nice and she knows about Ninja Turtles."
"Oh, well. Excuse me. I'm sorry. So, they were picking on her..."
"They said she was dumb. And I said to stop but they didn't so I pushed Nathan into a bush."
"Okay. I'm not happy about that. Because you should use your words and if that doesn't work, you should find a teacher, okay?"
"Do I have to tell Mami about the fight?"
"Yes. But she probably won't be very mad. And you should probably tell your Auntie Beezie about your new friend, because she'd be very proud of you."
"For pushing someone into a bush?"
"For making a new friend."
He remembers they went to get hamburgers after that.
But right now, he's trying to learn about being born and his moms aren't very helping very much.
"You want to know if you were squishy?" Mami asks.
Q-bie holds Mami's hand on top of the table. "You looked pretty squishy. And kind of like a lizard baby."
Mami makes a face at Q-bie and he's worried this talk isn't going to get very far, because whenever they look at each other like that, they tell him to go play, which is fine because they start talking about stuff he doesn't really understand.
"Am I going to Auntie Beezie's and Uncle Mike's tonight?" That's usually where he spends the night when they get like this.
He likes it, though, because both his aunt and uncle teach him crazy dance moves every time he visits them. And one day, Uncle Mike is suppose to teach him how to do a flip without having to run or anything. Just from standing. Q-bie says she used to be able to do that and Mami always laughs at her and says, "just barely".
The best part about going over to their house is that when his moms pick him back up, they're always in a really happy mood and they go places like the movies or the park or even the zoo and it's so fun that he doesn't even care that they're all Kissy-Kissy the whole time.
"We'll think about it," Mami says. She squeezes Q-bie's hand and lets go, then picks up his Buzz Lightyear cup.
He watches as she rinses it in the sink then reaches for the handle to the dishwasher. And he remembers.
"Snakes!" he shouts, before slipping out of his chair and under the table, before climbing up Q-bie's legs and into her lap.
"What are you talking about, buddy?" Q-bie holds him tight in her arms.
"In the dishwasher. I opened it even though I'm not supposed to and I saw their heads looking at me."
Q-bie rubs her hand over his back and says, "I think you just have a big imagination, Tonio. There aren't any sn-" She stops and when he looks up at her face, she's looking at Mami. "Santana." That's Mami's real name. The one everyone else calls her. "Did you remember to unload the dishwasher this morning?"
"I forgot." Mami bends down next to him and pokes at his nose. "No snakes, mijo. I promise. Now, go play."
Q-bie sets him on the floor and he runs into the living room. If they don't want to believe him about the snakes, he doesn't want to be there when they find out for themselves.
When he doesn't hear any screaming, he works up the courage to peek around the corner, back into the kitchen.
He sees his moms and he sees the open dishwasher. And he sees them putting the snake heads into a plastic box. They're wriggly and all colors. He sees green and blue and purple.
They must have killed the snakes. It makes sense, because Mami's always good at killing spiders and Q-bie once had to trick a mouse into a cage when it was living behind their refrigerator.
What doesn't make sense is that he later finds the snake head box under their bed. Maybe it's a warning to any other snakes that think about coming into their house.
Maybe he'll ask Auntie Beezie and Uncle Mike about it when he's over there, tonight.
Because even though Mami said they'd think about it, he knows he's going, because she's been staring at Q-bie while she works on her computer and sometimes Q-bie looks up and asks, "What?" and Mami just says, "Nothing, get over yourself." Then they both try not to laugh.
They're not laughing when they find out he tried to scare away any other snakes by lining all the heads up in the hallway, outside of his bedroom.
"Antonio Lucas Lopez-Fabray!"
That's not good.
But maybe they are laughing?
It's hard to tell with parents.