Monday, February 28, 2011
It was one of the many days our kids had off from school this semester (they are all running together at this point, and I can’t be certain which one it was), and I was in the kitchen making lunch (of this I actually am certain).
As I assembled my training table-bound plate of grilled cheese sandwiches, Luke and Caroline came slinking into the kitchen and bellied up to the island with palpable trepidation.
Clearly something was on their little minds.
I looked at them, wondering what they had broken while out of my sight for the past two hours. Had they spilled milk on the Wii? No … they don’t drink much milk. Was it a window? No … I hadn’t heard much noise.
The more I looked at them, the more I got the sense it wasn’t they, but I, who was under suspicion.
Was this an intervention? Had all my time Facebooking and eating Girl Scout Cookies caught up with me? Or was it about my behavior? Were they going to talk to me about my singing in the car? Again?
Caroline was the first to speak.
“Mom,” she began slowly with a fearful smile upon her bright face, “we were watching ‘Dora’… ”
Maybe this wasn’t an intervention. Maybe they were finally going to beg to use the office dust collector formerly known as Rosetta Stone that my husband bought a few years ago with visions of making our home a bilingual one — trilingual if you count my advanced studies in igPay atinLay — and, therefore, smarter than yours.
“… and a commercial came on,” she continued, “for a lotion…”
So this wasn’t a plea for higher learning. My children are dream targets for the advertising world. I have been ordered to stock our home with OxiClean, Swiffer WetJets and a pile of Sham Wows. They would — if allowed — live on Sunny D, Easy-Mac and Doritos, which they now believe have the power to resurrect our dead hermit crabs.
Not that I could blame them. I recall spending my own childhood beaming with pride that my mom was choosy enough to choose Jif, thankful Burger King would withhold both the pickles and the lettuce and wanting nothing more than to be a Pepper, too.
I could only imagine the promise this lotion held as Caroline took a breath and revealed its superpower:
“… that gets rid of stretch marks.”
I looked up from the stove at my personal grand finale, one of four people on earth who would not receive a beating from me for such a suggestion, and smiled.
“Why do you think I would need that?” I asked, staring down the former 9-pound newborn.
Her brother, formerly 9 1/2 pounds and the main source of my seersucker abs, came to her rescue with all the charm of the late Billy Mays.
“And if you call in the next five hours,” he said with the seriousness of a heart attack, “you can try it for free.”
— Julie Dunlap can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.