Antique Carnivore

Sean has never been much of an eater, but when he was around 18-months old eating stopped almost entirely.  Somedays we are lucky to get five calories in him.  We try not to worry about it because watching us nervously wring our hands at the dinner table has not increased his appetite.  Wise people say when he’s hungry he will eat.  Wise people are wrong.

In an effort to encourage eating, we tell Sean that if he hopes to grow up to be big, he’s going to need to eat something — specifically something not made of orange dust or coco/fruity/frosty/gummy/happy stuff – something with protein to build bones and muscle, something like meat.  

Apparently he has been giving this concept some consideration because the other day we had this conversation:

 “Mommy, I’m going to start eating MEAT like you so I can be big –  like you!” 

“You eat MEAT all the time and you are willy willy big (holding hands out in front of him in a big circle.” 

That’s fabul  ….. hey, I’m not that big.” 

“You eat sooooo much MEAT!  You eat hamboogas and pork chops and ham and wunch meat and woast beefs and chicken and hamboogas and…. (pauses to think up other varieties of meat) you are big Big BIG!” 

“Look dude, I’m not that big.  Okay?  According to the insurance charts, I’m average.” 

“Oh no mommy – you are SO big (again with the hands in the big circle) because you just eat meatmeatmeat all the time.” 

“You are big MEAT-eating BIG!” (making a circle from front to back like a hula hoop).

“Go away before I eat you.”

I’m The Poodiest

School is out for the summer and the days are getting longer. Boy oh boy are the days getting longer. Being the sole teacher/disciplinarian/guardian/playmate/muse of a three-year-old boy from sun up to sun down has given me a greater appreciation for Sean’s teachers — even though they slighted him missed the opportunity to feature him in the school slideshow as prominently as my precious beautiful special boy-genius deserves (wink wink).

By dinnertime, I was exhausted. I set down a bowl of hastily made gourmet macaroni and cheese in front of Sean and then I collapsed into my own chair, too tired to eat. Instead I just sat there and watched him clumsily spooning the little orange spirals out of the bowl and into his mouth. I noticed how the afternoon light from the windows outlined his profile with a tiny white line, illuminating the imperceptible baby fine hairs on his face. I thought to myself if I ever get around to doing a painting of him, this is the scene I would paint, his hair the color of an old penny, his impossibly long dark eyelashes, his face outlined with the iridescent glow of sunset.

He stopped eating and looked at me. He gave me a sweet smile that belied the number of times he’d visited the time out corner today.

“I love you Sean,” I said to him.

“I wudz you Mommy,” he replied as he screwed up his face and shyly pressed his ear into his hunched up shoulder.

“You’re a good boy.”

“You’re a good mama,” he enthused pointing his cheese-encrusted spoon at me for emphasis.

Sigh. I thought about that for a moment. I thought about how I had yelled at him earlier in the day. I’m not that good of a mama. But that boy knows I love him with all of my heart. And hopefully that will cover the myriad of mistakes I make in parenting him on any given day.

“Oh Sean,” I confessed more to myself than to him. “You are a better boy than I am a mama.”

“That’s okay,” he consoled, “You are the poodiest wady in the whole woold.”

Man. I’m really going to hate it when his world gets bigger.

Scorpion Bits

“Mommy I’m pretending this scorpion bitted me,” Sean says from the back seat. I look in my rear view mirror to see him stretch a sticky rubbery scorpion the length of his reach.

“No, Sean,” I correct him, “I’m pretending this scorpion BIT me — not bitted.”

“This scorpion bitted you too?!”

Oh never mind.

Eat Taters Hot

Last week we had a lot of rain here in north Texas. A lot. Rain is pretty much always needed and wanted here, at least by grownups.

Sean, on the other hand, was missing the sun. He stood at the door to the backyard asking, “Where did the sun go? Is it ever going to come back?”

I decided it was an excellent opportunity to teach a lesson in Earth sciences, so I grabbed a piece of paper and a pencil and called him over to my desk. I pulled him up into my lap and started drawing.

I drew a picture of our house. In the sky I drew rain clouds and rain pelting The House of Antique. Then above the dark clouds, I drew the sun shining happily. I explained to him that the sun was still there shining as it always has since forever, but that the rain clouds were in the way. I told him that when the wind pushed the clouds away, then we would see the sun again.

He seemed satisfied by that answer, but then he asked me where the moon was. That was a little more complicated, so I drew a picture of the earth with the sun on one side and the moon on the other. I explained to him how when it was daytime here and we were playing or eating lunch, it was night on the other side of the world where everyone was sleeping.

He pointed to the top of the earth and announced jubilantly, “Dat’s the North Pole! Polar bears and penguins and Santa wiv dare!” He was so proud of his display of knowledge.

Then he pointed to the center part of globe I had drawn and just as a foreigner searches for a word, he haltingly said, “Eat taters…hot…wizards whiz…dare.” And then he looked at me pleadingly and waved his hand over the drawing as though that would help it all make sense.

I looked at him and he looked back at me, each waiting for the other say, “Aha! I see!”

So finally I said, “Whuut?”

So he repeated it, only louder this time so that understanding might penetrate my blonde hair, hair that no only looks like a helmet, but also acts like one too, protecting my brain from all incoming useful information. All I could do was stare blankly at him while visions of eating taters hot and/or hot wizards whizzing danced in my head.

Perhaps spurred on by the dumb expression on my face, he kept repeating the mystery phrase faster and louder and more emphatically, “EATTATERSHOTWIZARDSWHIZDARE!” until finally the light bulb went on.

I jumped from my seat and shouted, “THE EQUATER IS HOT AND LIZARDS LIVE THERE!” We high-fived and did the end zone dance. Confetti rained from the ceiling and a girl in an evening gown appeared and presented me with a years supply of Rice-A-Roni and some lovely parting gifts.

No. The part about the confetti is not true, but she did have popsicles.

Batteries

Last week I needed to use my flashlight and of course the batteries were dead. Of course. Maybe you store your batteries in the fridge, some people do. I store my batteries in the flashlight until they die a dark and lonely death with no one beside them to urge them to “Go to the light! Go to the light!” That way I can always find a dead battery if I need one.

Aside: I don’t think I’ve ever a) been able to locate my flashlight when I really needed it and b) consequently found it “not-dead”. The flashlight is like the armadillo – for the most part, useless, and you never come across one that’s not deader than a doornail.

Anyway.

Sean asked me what I was doing as he watched me working to replace the batteries.

“Well, the batteries ran out,” I said, “So I’m putting in some new ones.”

His eyes grew wide with concern. “They ran out?” he asked sounding slightly alarmed as he peered into the empty cannister.

“Yup.”

“Where did they go?”

I stopped to laugh at the mental image of a pair of C-cell batteries with skinny legs running away to freedom, hand in hand.

That boy, he makes me stop what I’m doing and laugh at least once a day — and that recharges my batteries.

My New Pseudo-Curse Word

I am given to the occasional curse word. It’s probably the thing I like least about myself. But it happens. Especially in moments of frustration, and given that I’m a person who is easily and often frustrated, it happens more than I’d like to admit.

And now that I have a child who is omniscient – is aware of all, sees all, hears all, repeats all – I have really made an effort to do better in that regard. But I fail. Oh how I fail.

This morning I was trying to make a pot of coffee, a reasonably simple and familiar task. Just as I was about to put the coffee grounds into the filter basket, I bumped it on the edge of the coffeemaker and coffee grounds went flying everywhere except into the basket. I had coffee grounds in the silverware drawer, all over the counter, on the floor, down my shirt, in the pan of cinnamon rolls I was about to bake, but not one speck in the coffeemaker. Not a good thing for a person who hasn’t yet had any coffee. And of course I said, “dammit!” And then when I stood up from wiping up coffee grounds off the floor, I bumped my head on the cabinet door. And again I said “dammit!” And then I said “dammit” because I couldn’t quit saying dammit and dammit, I really needed some coffee and the coffee gods were conspiring against me!

When I realized that two little ears had taken it all in with great interest, I told him that “dammit” is not a nice word and that mommy shouldn’t have said it and that he should never say it either. Never tell a toddler that. Just don’t. Trust me on this, unless you want to hear your toddler say “dammit” all day long.

As we were sitting down to eat Coffee Grounds flavored cinnamon rolls (They’re crunchy! Want the recipe?) he pretended to bump his knee on the table and began dancing around and hopping on one foot saying, “Oh damage! I bumped my knee!”

And so, there you have it. Damage! My new pseudo-curse word, courtesy of my three-year-old. And really, in a weird sort of way, I think it more accurately reflects my sentiment on those occasions when I’m picking coffee grounds out of my bra.

When Things Are Askew

This morning I was trying to get Sean dressed for Sunday school and made the mistake of trying to help him put on his socks. After he yelled, “NO! I DO IT MYSELF!” I deduced that he didn’t want my help. I’m intuitive like that.

For three or four minutes, I watched him wrestle the sock onto his little square Fred Flintstone foot and somehow I managed to resist the unbearable urge to DO IT FOR HIM. After he got his sock on, I noticed that he had the heel part in the front and I advised him that perhaps he might want to turn it around.

“You need to turn your sock around dude,” I said, “Your sock is askew. Can you say askew?”

And then without missing a beat he said, “Okay, but then you have to say God bless you.”

God bless you my funny little boy. How you make me laugh.