As you already know, Chunky is my youngest son. He began earning his nickname minutes after he was born. Whereas big brother barely eats enough to keep a bird alive, Chunky came into this world with a healthy appetite. He was a roley-poley baby, but at four, he’s lost most of his baby fat. Still, next to his string bean brother, he looks like a dumpling, so the nickname remains.
God blessed my little guy with a great big heart. I remember sitting in a waiting room with him when he was a toddler. A baby was crying, and Chunky insisted that I “kiss baby.” He was so adamant that it took some convincing to keep him from hauling me over to the wailing child.
We knew pretty early that Chunky had inherited his Mommy’s and Grandmommy’s creativity. He loves to tell stories and listen to stories. Mom and I consider him an official collaborator on our turtle and dragon kids’ books. Roger the turtle is one of his best friends, and Chunky is constantly inspiring me with his love of this imaginary character.
When Chunky was in the throes of potty-training, he also became fascinated with the concept of family. Everything was a family, blocks, trees, cups, whatever. Even his socks were brothers according to him. One day I accompanied him on one of his more time-consuming trips to the bathroom. When he was finally finished, he surveyed his accomplishment. A look of excitement spread on his face and he said, “Mommy, they’re a family!” Then his little face fell and he said, “But, they stink.” We flushed the unfortunate family, and they were never heard from again.
Chunky is an extraordinary little boy, but he definitely possesses that mysterious power of knowing exactly how to irritate his older brother beyond what he can endure. Tussles are common in our house. In fact, the first thing the boys do upon waking up is have a wrestling match, on Mommy and Daddy’s bed, while Mommy and Daddy are still in it. They’re far more effective than an alarm clock could ever be. But people tell me that one day soon, they won’t want to even be in the same room with their parents. So, for now, I’ll try to enjoy my morning ritual of a yank on the hair, a kick to the gut, and a screech in the ear. After all, nothing says ‘I love you’ like a teeth-rattling elbow to the jaw. Just ask any first grade boy.
The Writer Who Speaks
3 days ago