Mornings with Children | Day 23

DAY 23  HAPPY 21 MONTHS!!!!!!!!!!


There are a series of events that play out in our lives that will blow open our minds, leaving our skulls with smoking holes where our borders of reality used to lie.  Some of those events are… the first time you fall in love, the first time you see your children, the first time you have a near-death experience, the first time you are served pepperoni pizza by a mechanical singing coyote on a tricycle at a children’s arcade.

There is a *wow* factor as your brain readjusts itself to time and space.  What is seen cannot be unseen.  What once was, will never be again.  I have stood on the mountain top… and it was good.

This morning while my wife was at a meditation class (ie shopping at Target), Rory experienced his mind crumble and then piece back together directly before my eyes.  I actually had the opportunity to watch it happen, all of it, as though in slow motion.

The boy loves milk.  Loves the stuff.  I’m sure if it weren’t socially unacceptable, he’d be sucking on the teet during half time at his big senior game.  “More!  More!  Please!  Please!  Please!” is his mantra at breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I’m sure that, in his brain, he’s thinking something to the effect of, “Milk good!  Milk best!  Nothing better than milk!  MILK!”

But then there’s this other side of him.  There’s this side of him that loves M&Ms.  After he’s gone “potty” – a phrase I’ve grown weirdly comfortable using – he gets an M&M.  He hops off the toilet and goes running through the house screaming, “Chocky!  Chocky!”  (Chocky = Chocolate = M&M).  We place one in his hand and he savagely shoves the bright morsel in his mouth and runs off gleefully on tiptoes.  Again, I’m sure he’s thinking something to the effect of, “Chocky good!  Chocky best!  Nothing better than chocky!  CHOCKY!”

But wait… Rory, I’m about to open your mind to a dimension of such flavor sensations that you’ll believe you are eating in 4-D.

I ask both kids, “Do you want breakfast?” and they respond, “Yeah!” so I put them in their respective chairs.  I ask them, “Do you want… MILK?!” and they both say, “MILK!” and I can already tell that Rory is more excited than Quinn.  Sure, my daughter wants to eat breakfast but Rory is about to get a fix.  I pull out three glasses, one for each of us, and I fill them each half full of milk.

Rory leaps onto the counter and tries to grab it but I say, “No, we’re not done yet.  We’re not… done yet,” and the truth is I’m just as excited as he is.  I’m so excited to see what’s about to happen.

I pull out some chocolate syrup and I slowly drizzle some into each glass.  Both kids look at me, seemingly disgusted by the thin brown strands I’m pouring into their pristine dairy drink.  I’ve tainted perfection with… grossness.  They both squeal their displeasures and I say, “Just wait.  One more minute,” as I begin to stir, stir, stir.  Eventually, I can take it no longer and I slowly slide two of the three cups over to the kids.  Rory stares down into the dark, muddy milk and sort of pushes it away, completely unsure.

I look at Quinn and she’s dipping her fingers into it and tasting her fingers; interesting technique but it appears to be working.  I pick up my cup and lift it to my lips.  I say, “Look.  It’s good.  Try some,” and I take a deep drink.  Rory pulls his close to him again and looks into it, still questioning.  I take another drink and say, “Drink.  Chocolate milk,” and he slowly lifts the cup to his mouth.

Cue alternate reality.

He lowers the cup, a brown mustache painted thinly across his lip.  He looks at me like, “Could it be true?” before raising the cup back to his mouth and gobbling it down like a turkey in a rainstorm.  He slams the cup down on the counter and victoriously screams, “CHOCKY MILK!”

Life will never be the same.



There are blueberries everywhere!  And not the good kind of blueberries either, the kind of blueberries that are sexual predators.  Yeah, I’ve been on the website, I’ve seen the dots; little blue circles that flag the map of my town, making my neighborhood look like an alien with pockmarks.  Oh my goodness, perhaps some things are just better left unsaid and unseen.  I’ve got a blueberry living a few doors down, I’ve got a couple of them living across the street, I’ve got an entire blueberry bush living in the complex next door to me.

My kids walk around in the front yard and every time someone walks by I have to stop and wonder if they’re some kind of total pervert out on parole.  Obviously we try to not leave our kids unsupervised but once in a great while we’ll leave the back doors open and the dogs will somehow open the gates and the kids will, one way or another, end up meandering around our back yard, exposed to every blueberry in a 1,000 foot radius.

Today my daughter tried to make a break for it, casually sneaking through the house with a “Don’t Mind Me” sort of attitude when… she was suddenly gone… this is actually the second time I’ve lost her this month.  Father of the Year Strikes Again!  When she doesn’t answer my call, I walk into the kitchen and find the back door open.  DANGIT!  My heart jumps into my throat.

Now, the truth is, we have a three and a half foot tall fence that runs the perimeter of our yard but, in my brain, all pervos actually have these really long ape arms so their reach is really fantastic (“The better to wrestle you into my white van, my pretty).

I shout Quinn’s name outside, quickly reminiscing of when my mom would shout my name from our back porch on summer nights, “John Lowell!  John Looo-weeellll!”.  I shout, “Quinn!  Quinn!” and then I let out one of those piercing whistles.  The kids will usually come running to the whistle but there’s no answer.  I jump off the back steps and I’m already freaking out.  Regardless of the fence, my cocker spaniel has figured out three different ways to escape from the yard.  Now, I’m no brainiac but I’d like to think my daughter has more common sense than a dog that repeatedly throws herself in poop.

Halfway across the patio, Rory comes around the side of the house, from our blocked-in drive way.  He says, “Hi!” and I say “Hi, buddy” and sort of push him aside.  Looking down the driveway I see Quinn at the very end, right at our sidewalk, being separated from The Blueberry Patch by nothing more than our front gate.  I whistle again and she looks at me and laughs.

I vow to myself that she’s going to get a spanking when she gets near.  Today’s forecast; a heavy thwapping with a chance of shouting.  She knows better than to be in the driveway.  They both know that they’re not supposed to be in the driveway without us.  These are the horrible and painful things about being a parent.  I don’t want to spank her but I don’t want to see her get hurt.  I don’t want some Blueberry from The Farmer’s Market to grab her and run away down the street.  This idea horrifies me and I have a strong feeling that it will absolutely never, ever go away.

I call her name again and she slowly begins the long walk back to me, knowing, I’m sure, full well what is coming.  She walks right up to me and smiles and it’s so cute and it melts my heart and I don’t want to do what I have to do but I want to make sure that smile stays safe.  I grab her by the wrist, yank it up over her head, say, “You do NOT go in the driveway alone” and thwack! slam my hand into the bare skin on her thigh.

Quinn, who is often times our stubborn child when it comes to spankings, has the proper way of it.  She drops to the hard cement and wails, grabbing at her bottom.

She played outside for the rest of the day and didn’t go into the driveway.

Blueberries beware; I carry a knife with me at all times.

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