Because my biological clock hates me, I am often the first person to wake up in my house. I’ve grudgingly come to accept this, but this acceptance doesn’t make me any more pleasant to be around.
This past Saturday, my son, Alex, found me at the breakfast table a quarter of the way through an Atlantic cover story, one third of the way through my first waffle, and halfway through my third cup of coffee.
“Waffles! I think I’ll have that, too,” he announced.
He then paused to see if his declaration would spur me to act – and it did. My actions were a long, slurpy pull on my coffee and a facial expression that could be interpreted to mean, “Get yer own damn waffles.”
Alex took the hint. He popped two waffles into the toaster and set a place for himself.
This morning I decided to have my waffles with peanut butter and maple syrup. Alex decided to go the same way.
“Can you spread peanut butter on my waffles?” he asked.
“You’re ten,” I replied.
“But you do suuuuch a good job!” he replied. His stifled grin interfered a bit with the pathetic quivering lower lip effect he was going for. “You do it so good and I’m just a widdle boy.”
I delivered another glare, which Alex found terribly amusing. He proceeded to peanut butter his waffles.
He soon made a mess of things. Peanut butter found its way onto the knife handle. It traveled from the handle to his hands. Then it leapt from his hands onto everything he touched.
“Freeze! Are you finished putting peanut butter on your waffles?”
“OK. Put the knife in the sink, wash you hands, and get a clean knife.”
Alex delivered a crisp salute that would make an Army general proud if not for those peanut buttery fingers and proceeded to do what he was told.
I went back to my article. As I read, I heard the knife clunk into the sink. I heard the water in the kitchen sink. I heard the soap dispenser, the water turn off, the rip of a paper towel, the opening of the silverware drawer, and the clanging of flatware.
All reassuring sounds.
Then I heard a scritch scritcha-scritch.
I peered up from my magazine to find Alex wriggling his new, clean knife against the bottom of the peanut butter jar.
“What are you doing? You said you were done.”
He pulled out the knife, a blob of peanut butter dangled from the blade. “I’m done with putting peanut butter on the waffles. This is for lickin’s.”
I took his knife from him and scraped the blade’s contents back into the jar. “You don’t need lickin’s.” I handed him back the knife. I returned to my magazine just in time to hear a familiar clunk.
“Did you throw that knife in the sink, too?”
Alex shrugged and made a noise that sounded like “Nuh-uh-nuh.”
Alex wasn’t sure if I was crabby or just too tired to adequately suppress my crabby tone. He erred on the side of caution.
“It’s OK,” he said. “I don’t need a knife.” He then proceeded to demonstrate how he could cut his waffle with the edge of the tiny dessert fork he selected from the drawer.
The only problem with Alex’s plan was that he couldn’t cut the waffle. Not even close.
In fact, Alex’s inability to cut his waffle with the wee fork was so total, so absolute, so patently absurd he could barely contain his glee.
“How you doin’ there?” I asked.
Alex responded with merry snort.
“With the cutting. Doing good?”
“Getting a little hungry?”
Nothing makes Alex happier than the realization that he is the main character in a comedy bit. He quixotically continued to hack away at the petulant pastry adding a few strenuous grunts here and there for emphasis. I, on the other hand, did my best Edgar Kennedy impression.
“OH, FOR GOD’S SAKE, GET ANOTHER KNIFE!”
And Alex guffawed his way back to the silverware drawer.
“Geeze. What are we in a British manor house? We need thirty piece of silverware to eat a waffle? Knives for spreading. Knives for licking. Knives for cutting. Knives for looking at cross-eyed…”
Alex crossed his eyes, looked at his new knife, and headed for the sink.
“Oh, don’t even think about it!”
That was the moment he lost it.
“I swear, kid, you’re not gonna be happy until I do an entire dishwasher load of nothing but knives. Dishwasher’s full! This is the breakfast knife load! Just knives! Just breakfast!”
Alex’s laugh turned into “Bwaaaah!” that echoed through the house and woke up Ellen.
“What’s going on?” she yawned.
“Tell her! Tell Mom the story.” Alex shouted.
“OK, I’ll tell her the story,” I replied. “The story is: It is going to be a very, very long summer.”
Long story short, school is out — and my pride and joy is already upping my dish washing work by 300 percent.
So I’m going to shut down the ol’ blog until September.
Hope everyone has a fantastic summer! See you again soon!