Countdown: One hour ’til we have to leave for swimming lessons


Daddy:  [sticking head in the front door]  “I spun out climbing the hill in Upper Fall and jack-knifed the cake trailer and had to put chains on, so I’m running behind.  I’ll just feed this last pasture and then we can eat something real quick before we leave.”

Mommy:  “Okay.  I’ll try to get everyone ready.  The towels are still in the drier.”

[door slams behind Daddy]

Mommy:  “Asher, would you please distract the baby so I can finish making Emi’s birthday cake?”

5-year-old Asher:  “Mom.  Did the soldiers use muskets in the war before we had an American flag?”

Mommy:  “Hmmm.  The Revolutionary War.  I think so.”

Asher:  “Well, what weapons did they use exactly?”

Mommy:  [discovering the only milk in the house is frozen and that the cake recipe calls for milk]  “Hmmm.  We’ll have to look that up.”

Asher:  “Mom.  Did they have cannons then?”

Mommy:  [running hot water over the frozen jug of milk to defrost it, even though it defies all the rules of a healthy kitchen]  “Hmmm.  I think so.”

Asher:  “Mom.  Did the Indians fight in the first war?”

Mommy:  [cracking eggs]  “Maybe some of them.  But it was mostly between the English and the American pilgrims.”

Asher:  “Mom.  North America is our country, right?”

Mommy:  [hollering]  “Emi, can you come here, please?”

2-year-old Emi:  [running up]  “Mommy, I he-e-ere.”

Mommy:  [measuring milk into the cake batter]  “Emi, it’s time to go potty.  I want you to go to the bathroom, take your pants off, and see if you can go potty.”

[Emi runs to bathroom]

Asher:  “Mom.  Did the Indians cross the ice bridge from India, you know, a long time ago?”

Mommy:  [whisking batter, impatient]  “No.  Like we’ve told you, the Indians who live here in North America are not closely related to the people who live in India.  Remember, the explorer was looking for India and when he found this country he thought he’d actually found India.”

Asher:  “So how did the Indians get here?”

Mommy:  “Well, most people think they crossed on ice from Russia.  They’re probably related to people from China and Mongolia.”

Asher:  “And people from Russia.”

Mommy:  [spreading batter in cake pan]  “No… we think… just… China… and… Mongolia.”

Asher:  “And Russia.”

Emi:  [racing out of the bathroom without clothes on]  “Mommy, I do-o-ne!”

Mommy:  “Good job, Emi.  Did you need to go potty?”

[Emi continues to race around the house without clothes on]

Asher:  “Mom.  You know, I used to think that America sounded a lot like ‘a miracle.'”

[Mommy slips cake pan into oven and glances down at Asher and baby]

Mommy:  “What is that in the baby’s mouth?”

Asher:  “If we went camping for two weeks, how many supplies do you think we’d need?”

Mommy:  “Asher, you need to be quiet for a minute to give everybody else a chance to talk.  What is that in the baby’s mouth?  Oh, that smells unpleasant.  EMI!  Did you poop in your potty?”

[Emi comes running up and nods like a happy, slobbery dog]

Mommy:  “Did you remember to wipe?”

[all children freeze, unsure of what might happen next]

Mommy:  [running with a girl under each arm]  “Come on, let’s get you two to the bathroom.”

Asher:  [peering in the bathroom door]  “Ugh.  Did Marsi put some poop in her mouth?”

Mommy:  [resignedly, wiping the almost-3-year-old’s bottom and washing the hands and mouth of the 10-month-old]  “Yes, that’s what is looks like.”

Asher:  “Do skunks like the way they smell?”

Asher:  “Can even doctors be pregnant?”

Asher:  “I’m starving.  Is there anything I can snack on?”

© Tami Blake

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