A beautiful Saturday evening.
A group of adults and children gathered for a backyard dinner.
Adults seated by candlelight.
Children frolicking in the grass nearby.
A scene right out of a smarmy ad in Dwell magazine.
Suddenly a giant spray of water hits all the adults seated at the table.
Sputtering, cursing, confusion.
Watered down gin and tonics.
There is my youngest boy in the grass, holding a bucking garden hose.
I draw a deep breath and howl for him to put the hose down.
He laughs manically, aims one more big gout of water at the table,
then tosses the hose and says, "AWESOME!"
He scampers off in to the dusk to hide with all the other kids
that can't believe he did it and are sure they will suffer alongside him.
I sit back down, wipe water droplets from my hair and laugh.
A scream echoed through our hall.
Someone was hurt.
It sounded bad.
I ran to my son’s room expecting broken bones, fountains of blood, great trauma of some sort.
He was sitting on the floor. Wailing.
I couldn’t see any overt signs of bodily damage.
I asked him what was wrong.
He sobbily replied, “ I sob sob sob GOT sob sob A PAPER-CUT wail wail ON MY howl howl TOE!”
You got a what?
You got a paper-cut on your toe?
For the love of God child, I ran back here for a paper-cut on your toe?
How did you get a…never mind, I don’t want to know.
Put a sock on your foot.
One in your mouth might not be a bad idea either.
The fine art of splinter removal. As performed by a layman.
One: Get splinter sufferer to stop crying by any means necessary.
Two: Assess situation and determine what tools will be needed for extraction.
Three: Tell splinter sufferer about past splinters encountered and your splinter removal success rate.
Four: Place large bag of unopened peanut m&ms right on the table beside splinter sufferer.
Five: Tell splinter sufferer that once said splinter is removed, those m&ms belong to him.
Six: Work with speed and precision to extricate splinter.
(Note; at all times, hide sterilized needle from splinter sufferer’s line of sight.)
Seven: Upon splinter extrication, celebrate sufferer’s bravery and composure.
Eight: Open bag of peanut m&ms.
Nine: Go to liquor cabinet, remove bottle of scotch, toast your surgical skills.
The first loose tooth.
A barely perceptible wiggle exerting a powerful magnetic force on my boy's tongue.
I don’t want this tooth to fall out.
It means too many things that I am not yet ready to see change.
He dreams of newfound wealth.
I, fear the march toward permanence.
Where what happens from here on out,
doesn’t have another tooth to replace it.
You two have hit the mother load.
I have never seen that many pill bugs in my life.
Look at them all.
There must be hundreds.
Some are rolled up; tiny little armadillos waiting for the shadow of your hand to pass.
And look, the braver and more foolhardy ones are beginning to crawl away.
You two have truly stumbled on a pill bug cornucopia.
I am entomologically impressed.
No, I didn't know pill bugs were terrestrial crustaceans, thank you for telling me.
I just have one question:
How the hell are you going to get all of them off our living room rug and back outside?
Here is what I have taught my children this week.
Try and gently place all bugs found inside, outside.
Avoid being placed in a position that demands you climb over razor wire.
The world is round.
Shades of gray exist.
That dog might be a snapper.
View authority with suspicion.
If history has taught us anything it's this:
never make your own set of bird wings and jump off a barn roof.