On our last trip to the orthodontist, Chunky accompanied his brother and me back to the large, open exam room where patients wait in snazzy recliners for their monthly combo of metal and rubber bands.
While Monkey fidgeted in his chair, Chunky looked out the wall of windows. He pointed toward a couple of pine trees near a fence. “Mommy, look. I see two squirrels playing.”
I smiled and said, “I bet it’s a mommy and a daddy squirrel.”
Chunky’s eyes got big and he nodded. “I think it is a mommy and daddy squirrel because I saw them kissing on the lips.”
Without thinking, I said, “Oh, it’s spring time. Soon there’ll be baby squirrels.”
Later that afternoon, I performed my own little spring ritual of lying on the couch with watery eyes closed, desperately trying to escape the misery of my allergy-afflicted sinuses for a few minutes. Chunky arrived on the scene with a whump to my stomach. I knew my attempt at a nap was over but resolutely kept my eyes squeezed shut. Chunky declared, “I love you, Mommy!” and deployed Operation Attack Kiss.
I know families deal with kissing differently, but in ours, the rule is, only Daddy gets to kiss Mommy’s lips. That’s why I jumped when Chunky planted a smacker on my mouth. I gave him the sort of half-hearted reprimand one gives cheeky little boys.
His Adorable Innocence responded, “But Mommy, I had to kiss your mouth so you’ll have another baby.”
“Sweetie, that only works with Mommies and Daddies.”
“Oh, well, when Daddy comes home I want you to kiss him on the mouth so you can have another baby.”
Deploy Evasive Maneuver #312: “But why would I want another baby when I have you?”
“I’m not a baby anymore.”
Evasive Maneuver #457: “That’s right, you’re a super fun six-year-old.”
“But I want a brother.”
“You already have a brother.”
Chunky wasn’t having any of it. He kept arguing the merits of lip-kissing and baby brothers until I was out of tricks. Finally, genius struck. I looked him in the eye.
“You know it might not be a baby brother. It might be a baby sister.”
Disgusted silence. Then, “Well, she’d have to sleep in the guest room because our room is full.”
In Others’ Words: Reputation
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