Thursday, 9/15/2011

Scared off, Cut off

*
Dinner was pretty much a non-event today. Maddie and Erica were at Erica’s swim meet and my sister-in-law, Karen’s baby sister—whom I’ll refer to as “Sis”—and her six-year-old son—who just started Kindergarten and whom I’ll refer to as “Son”—stayed for dinner.

So, as I said, dinner conversation was uneventful until about halfway through when Daniel mentions that they had a fire drill today at school. Somehow, the topic turns from fire drills to bomb drills and the two sisters begin to reminisce. Then Son asks,

“What’s a bomb scare.”

“It’s just when… It’s like a fire drill, but a little different,” says Sis.

“Wait, why can’t you hide in the closet?”

“Because, you can’t. You’d blow up with the bomb.”

“No, what’s a bomb drill really?”

“Really,” says Sis. “It’s like a fire drill.”

“They just put you in a special place,” says Karen.

Hmm. I wonder if that’s the same place I go to when I’m in trouble with her…

“Yeah,” says Sis. “You either go to the gym or go outside.”

“Is it fire?” he asks, beginning to sound worried. “Is there real fire?”

“No, it’s a boom,” I say before thinking. “A big boom.”

Now he looks worried and I realize I’ve made a mistake. In trying to distract him from the topic and ease his worry, I then say,

“Don’t worry about it. The only bombs around here are dropped in the toilet.”

Juvenile? Sure. Are you beginning to see why my kids like me? This statement has the intended effect. His little face glows 100 watts as he realizes that he has just received adult sanction for potty humor. While everyone’s eating. During dinner. Something his mother would never give him.

“[Your cousin] is learning how to drop bombs in the toilet,” says Karen, running with my torch.

Son sucks in his breath. “Big bombs.”

Laughing, Karen tells Sis, “[Our sister] goes… Did she tell you?”

“No.”

“She says, ‘I had to cut [cousin’s] underpants off the other day.’ I said, ‘What did [cousin] do when he saw you coming at him with a pair of scissors?’” She laughs harder.

“She said there was crap all over the place.”

“I bet she freaked out,” I say. I say this because she doesn’t handle “body fluids” very well as she mentioned to me once.

“She did. She told him, ‘You tell me, and I’ll put a diaper on you. Poop in a diaper. I don’t care.’”

“So she cut them off? Wouldn’t that make a bigger mess?”

“I can just imagine,” says Karen still laughing. She looks at Son.

“We never had to cut your underpants off.”

“My Mom cut my underpants off,” he lies.

“No,” I say. “You were easy. Your Mom had an easy time toilet training you.”

“I don’t…” begins Sis.

“Son wasn’t hard,” says Karen. “I don’t even remember Son having an accident.”

“Yeah, potty training him was pretty much a non-event.” I say this because I remember how difficult my son, Daniel, was in comparison.

“No,” says Sis. “He wet his pants.”

“Yeah, because he wouldn’t tell you, because he was outside playing,” says Karen.

“Yeah, but that’s normal,” I say.

“I remember he used to wet the bed a lot,” says Daniel.

“No, un-uh,” says Karen.

“He wet the bed…” begins Sis.

“Once,” says Karen.

“…a couple times.”

“No, when he was taking a nap, I remember. Lindsey’s old, little bed,” insists Daniel.

“He wore pull-ups at naptime after that happened once or twice,” says Sis.

“You wet MY BED?” says Linn.

“No he didn’t,” says Mom. “You didn’t have that bed at that time.”

“Thank-queue,” says Linn in a performance voice worthy of your consideration for next year’s Oscar nominations.

“Thank-queue,” mimics Son. “Thank-queue, very much.”

*

The conversation about [cousin’s] toilet training resumes, and, as the two women continue to talk, I go to my special place, a closet in my mind. No noise. Total peace. But I don’t go there to sit, waiting to be blown up with the bomb. No, I go there to sit because… because it is the bomb.

*

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