Stop the Suffering

Younger does not enjoy mornings. Ever, really. But particularly on school days. Oh, most particularly on school days.

Every week morning, I announce, “Younger, time to go.”

And he will remain on the sofa, hidden beneath piles of bed covers, hoping I have forgotten the actual existence of a younger son.

“Younger,” I repeat.

“The blankets and I have formed a bond. I cannot break their trust by leaving them now.”

I shake my head at the muffled voice. “Time to go.”

When I have finally prodded him to the truck, he slumps in the seat, his eyes closed, ignoring the existence of sunshine, mothers, and schoolhouses.

So, the other day, allowing him his fifteen minutes of stubborn oblivion, I listened idly to the music spilling from the radio. Then one of the deejays made the announcement that soda sales had dropped to their lowest in thirty years.

“Mom.” My comatose son popped upright, animation lighting his eyes. “The soda companies are in trouble. I can save them.” He thrust his palms outward in a gesture of earnestness. “Sales are down. I can stop the suffering.”

Yeah, well . . .

Who’s going to stop mine?

Not Eating That

After I scrub my kitchen sink, I always throw my sponge into the microwave for thirty seconds to kill any germs.

Does that work?

Well, I read it on the internet, so . . .

Of course.

Right?

Well, sometimes, I don’t always respond to the microwave’s first notification that my sponge is finished cooking. Especially if I am in the middle of fixing dinner at the same time.

So, one night, Younger wandered through the kitchen, checking the contents of the pots and pans. Then the oven. Then the microwave.

He took one look at the green, rectangular pad on the glass plate and declared, “I’m not eating that.” And swung the microwave door closed with an emphatic thud of determination.

Yeah, he’s a real riot.

Why Not?

As I was preparing to retreat upstairs at bedtime last night, I hugged Younger and told him, “Love you.”

And my not-so-blonde, not-so-little boy cocked his head to the side and gave me the same grin accompanied by the same twinkling eyes he would offer at the age of two. “Of course, you do. Why wouldn’t you?”

And you know what?

He’s right.

Of course, I do.

Why wouldn’t I?

 

Long, Long Ago

One day, a long, long time ago, when Younger was six or seven, maybe eight, he came in from school and tossed his coat on the floor of the laundry room.

“Younger,” I chided. “Put your coat on the hook. I just washed it. One of these days, when you are doing your own laundry, you’ll be more careful not to dirty it.”

And my innocent, little, blonde haired boy looked at me in defiance and announced, “I won’t either. I’m going to get married, and I’ll have someone to do my laundry, just like Daddy.”

I know. I gasped, too. Repeatedly. While  my husband sat very, very still on the sofa, hoping I would overlook his very existence for a moment or two. Or maybe an hour or two. Or maybe days.

“Oh, oh,” I managed to finally exhale. “You want someone to pick up after you, do you? I’ll pick up after you, all right. In fact, I’m picking up everything you own.”

And I did. All his toys went into trash bags, while he followed me, sobbing, “I’m sorry, Mommy.”

At some point, the red haze cleared. And I realized every toy I had shoved into trash bags would eventually have to be returned to the rightful place. Which meant more work for me. But I was still surrounded by a film of pink, so I still took the toys. I just took drawers, rather than pouring them into black bags.

For those of you who are worried about Younger, I relented pretty quickly. Kind of. He got some of his toys back within an hour of so. After the coat was in position on the rack. Some others stayed stacked within plain sight but designated off limits. For a day or two.

For those of you who are still worried about Younger, well, in recent years, I have, too, considered that I might have overreacted.

So, I asked Younger the other day, if he remembered the coat incident.

He did not.

“Oh,” I breathed in relief. “Because I took all your toys from you, and I thought maybe I should address any lasting effect that might have had on you. And, you know, apologize if I overreacted. A bit.”

Younger’s eyes rounded, his eyebrows climbing towards his hairline. “That’s why you took all my toys? I remember that.” He shook his head. “I thought I must have killed a small, furry animal.”

I laughed. “Ummm, no, no killing of furry animals.”

He pointed towards the wall in our living room. “You stacked the drawers right there.”

“Yes, uh-huh, I did do that.”

“You took all my toys!”

“Well, no, not all your toys. But, yeah, most of them. For a day. Or two.”

“And I didn’t kill a small, furry animal?”

“You smarted off. And you knew you were smarting off.”

“You took all my toys.”

“Well, you never again told me you’d find someone to pick up after you like your dad.”

His eyes grew even larger. “And I remember Dad telling me I got him into trouble!”

Yes, well, his father couldn’t disappear into thin air despite his best attempt. But he’s fine. Now, anyway.

Childhood memories .  . .

No wonder we all just wanted to grow up.

Supply and Demand

The other day, Younger asked for money to purchase one gadget or another.

“You already owe me money,” I reminded him.

“Oh. Yeah.” He titled his head to the side. “You know, I think I should charge an hourly rate for my mere presence. And you would owe me money.”

So I explained some economics: “That only works when the demand is greater than the supply.”

And his dad explained some economics: “She already has to put up with me for free.”

But the only economics Younger learned?

His mere presence isn’t accepted as part of the product-currency exchange at Walmart.

Younger has decided he doesn’t like economics.