Arlo and I were in a fancy thrift store the other day when he spied a box of slipper socks provided to try on shoes. (Fancy!) I thought “Have at it kid, that leaves me four minutes of browsing before you begin freeing clothes from their hangers.” But as soon as I turned my head he started shouting “PURPLE! PURPLE WHAT?! PURPLE DOING?!”
There was a runt in that box of socks. A PURPLE one.
That’s uh . . . ball . . .medicine . . . garbage . . .aw crap.
“EAT IT?!” Like he knew it was candy. Like he knew it was sweet, sweet candy.
“No, no. It’s too hard. Hurt Arlo. Hurt Arlo’s teeth. No eat.” Also? Arlo choke.
He refused to give it to me so I compromised and let him carry it in his pocket.
Then immediately – “YELLOW! YELLOW WHAT?! YELLOW DOING?!”
Another runt in the box of socks. He put that one in his pocket too but with more reluctance than the grape. That is so obviously a candy banana.
I never once argued it wasn’t good to eat because it was IN A BOX OF SOCKS. I know good and plenty that runts are impervious to germs and time and toe jam so why lie? I wanted purple and yellow. I wanted to eat them. I want to snatch them, eat them and tell him they found their socks and went home to nap. All gone! I wanted to eat them but dammit, now they’re in his pocket and I won’t get to them until bathtime hours from now. Denied!
Thankfully, fortuitously, they fell out of his pockets in the car seat and were long forgotten when we got home. I set him out, he scrambled off and I snatched up purple and yellow and I
chucked them into the woods where they will decompose in 74 years.
It wasn’t the box of socks that eventually turned me off.
It wasn’t the hypocrisy of eating something I just denied my child.
It was this damn half-crown in the back of my mouth taunting me, waiting for me to eat hard candy so it could fully splinter and send me to the dentist without anesthesia. I keep my promises. If not to my child then at least to my dentist.