The Perks

With the three year old potty-trained and accessorizing his speech with ‘seriously’ and ‘would you mind’, there’s no denying that we’re out of the baby phase, chez nous.  No longer do I think about naps, or stuffing diapers and wipes into a bag when we go out. I don’t even know where the stroller is. 

This is a little bit sad, of course. I look at [pictures of] other people’s sweetly smiling, round-headed, non-talking babies and a wave of nostalgia passes over me. We don’t have a little person anymore. No one’s sitting on a blanket picking up toys with one hand and rotating them around with utmost concentration or gnawing on their newly discovered fist.

No, we have three loud people who flail their arms and say things like ‘this is the worst day of my life’ or ‘mommy’s me-an‘ or, my personal favorite, ‘why do parents have to exist?’


We also have three increasingly independent people [who flail their arms…]

For several months now, maybe longer, the Gort has been unofficially in charge of breakfast. At some point he grew tired of waiting for his tired parents to drag themselves out of bed and pour his cereal into a bowl, so he started dragging chairs toward cupboards and retrieved bowls and spoons and boxes of cereal and milk for himself and his brothers.

And recently, as in ‘this week’, he has decided to pack his own lunch. I think it started with me asking him to round up a few items for his lunch box while I made the sandwich, and then he just started doing the whole thing on his own.

So this morning, with lights ablaze, I heard the tell-tale sounds of cereal boxes taken out of the pantry and milk from the refrigerator and bowls from the cupboard. And then at some point they must have noticed the enormous box of chips in the kitchen, the one a friend had passed along to me because her kids didn’t like them.

‘Look, mom got chips for us!’ the Gort enthused-announced. ‘There are veggie chips, and veggie straws and po-ta-to straws. I’m going to organize them. There are 6 bags of ketchup chips in here. I wonder if that’s a bonus?’

And I laughed in my warm cozy bed, listening to the Gort marching down the hallway to my room. ‘Mom, why are there six bags of ketchup chips with the veggie chips?’

‘A friend gave them to us because her kids didn’t like them’

‘Oh. Okay.’ And he ran back to the kitchen. ‘Someone gave them to us because her kids didn’t like them.’

At some point Percy wandered in with a bag of veggie chips. ‘Can I have some chips?’ he asked, holding up the little bag for me to see. ‘No, not right now, you can have them for your snack.’ He flailed about my unfairness and walked back to the kitchen.

‘Okay, I think I can open them,’ he lied told his brothers.

‘No you cannot!’ I yelled from the confines of my duvet.

‘Look!’ the Gort stopped suddenly, ostensibly pointing to something very exciting. ‘It says Dahl,’ he told his younger brother, referring to the cookbook lying on the table. As if ‘Dahl’ might mean something to the Hen. ‘Like Roald Dahl,’ he clarified for the 5 year old, as if that might ring a bell. ‘Maybe that’s her husband,’ the eight year old guessed.

And even though I was slightly blown away that the Gort would remember the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I snickered at the thought of Sophie Dahl being his wife. Granddaughter, more like.

And then the Gort announced he would begin to pack lunches.  ‘Now if only I can find a cutting board. I wonder where mom keeps the cutting boards.’

They must have seen three chocolate chip cookies sitting on a cooling rack. ‘Can we have cookies for our lunch,’ they yelled towards our bedroom. ‘Are there cookies?’ I asked the comatose professor. ‘Yeah,’ he muttered. ‘Sure!’ I yelled back.

And then Percy decided he wanted in on the school lunch. ‘Wouldyoumind wrapping me a cookie……..please,’ he asked the Gort. Followed by the tearing of an extremely large piece of aluminum foil to cover three small cookies.

‘I need to make a sandwich,’ the Gort processed out loud.’With peanut, I mean almond, butter and jelly. Are you jell-ous?’ he guffawed. And I rolled my eyes at the cheesy humor in the kitchen.

And, speaking of cheesy, a discussion about cheese sandwiches ensued. ‘Why don’t you make a cheese sandwich?’ the Hen asked. ‘Because I don’t like cheese sandwiches,’ the Gort replied. ‘But you like girled (sic) cheese sandwiches, don’t you?’ ‘Yes, but I don’t like sandwiches with [regular] cheese. Because otherwise the ends [of the cheese] get hard and then you don’t eat it. And then it stinks like rotten eggs, well, like stinky cheese to be exact.’

With the morning preparations out of the way, the Gort walked into our room for an update. ‘I packed lunches for us, now all you have to do is walk us to school.’ He stood, waiting for one of us to volunteer.

‘Mom’s going to walk you to school because she doesn’t want you to get hit by a car,’ the professor volunteered me. I didn’t miss a beat, ‘Dad’s going to walk you to school because he likes having that time with you.’

And that’s the kind of brilliant reasoning that got me out of schoolwalking duty.

When I walked into the kitchen mere minutes later, there were little bags of ‘organized’ chips all over the floor. And on the breakfast table, I saw the box of orange juice beside the bottle of apple-flavored fish oil. Apparently the eight year old had given everyone their dose of omega 3 and Vitamin D for the day.

Hopefully it was just a daily dose.

3 thoughts on “The Perks

  1. I am *so* glad that ours aren’t the only children left to their own devices in the morning! The camaraderie of your house is cherubic compared to the every-man-for-himself nature of our abode! There is nary a nuturing bone in my older two that would fascilitate such team-work. Bravo!

  2. Oh Sue, I remember hanging out once when our oldest two were maybe a year old? And now they’re getting their own breakfast. Our oldest is remarkably nurturing…….and remarkably adamant. [And never the twain shall meet.]


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