‘I have something white on my finger and it won’t come off,’ the Hen announced from the confines of his booster seat. I hadn’t fully heard the entirety of his complaint but the Gort had already sprung into panic mode.
‘What do you mean it won’t come off? It might be frostbite! [Despite balmy temps for the last three days.] You have to get it treated or they might have to cut off your finger skin.’
‘I don’t want them to cut my fingernail,’ the Hen worried aloud.
‘I didn’t say fingernail,’ his brother corrected, ‘I said finger skin.’
‘I got it off,’ the Hen announced minutes later; visions of nail-less fingers undoubtedly causing him to take action.
‘How?’ the Gort asked, seemingly curious about how one goes about removing frostbite sans medical intervention.
‘I licked it.’
And then I had to laugh because the pendulum had swung from dire medical crisis to a child with a dirty finger. All in a very short span of time.
‘What did it taste like,’ the Gort inquired, trying to get a sense of what ‘frostbite’ might taste like, I suppose.
‘Cotton candy,’ the Hen decided. Which was another ridiculous answer since we’d experienced neither arctic temperatures nor spun sugar.
We arrived at preschool and picked up our youngest wonderboy who regaled us with tales of the math he’d learned. None of us was clear on the details – they might have learned counting by two’s, or Percy might just have some terrible mathability.
We climbed back in the car and the Gort passed his newly purchased hat to his littlest brother. ‘Want to wear my Theodora,’ he offered magnanimously. Our oldest boy is the king of malapropisms. I blame it on an impatient ear compounded with his habit of pronouncing words exactly as written as he has been taught to do in Spanish.
‘Um, Fedora,’ I clarified, lest he went around telling classmates about his Theodora.
I was chuckling about the unexpectedly amusing carride, when the Hen saw a sign on the side of the road.
‘Can we go to the Nails S-P-A?’ he asked. I had no idea what he was talking about. ‘I don’t know what Nails S-P-A is,’ I stalled, unwilling to commit to the unknown.
The Gort must have seen the sign. ‘It’s a Nail Spa,’ he clarified.
I laughed. ‘Do you want to get your nails done with me,’ I envisioned the Hen and I ensconced in salon chairs for mother-son manicures.
‘Yeah, a spa is where you get your nails done or you bathe in mud,’ the Gort explained to his uninformed brother.
‘What does bathe mean,’ the Hen asked, and I couldn’t help but think this reflected poorly on my approach to hygiene.
‘It means to take a bath,’ I defined the foreign word.
‘Yeah, to take a bath in mud or rattlesnakes,’ the Gort embellished, before adding his new go-to phrase, ‘I read about it.’
I don’t know where in the world they’re offering rattlesnake baths as a spa treatment, but apparently the Gort read about it.
We were 50 yards from our house and I assumed the car-banter was over.
‘I want two things for my birthday,’ the Gort announced for at least the second time in an hour. Even though his birthday is two months away. ‘I want Minecraft on the computer and one of those soft blankets I wanted for Christmas.’
‘I know what I want for Christmas,’ the Hen piped up, despite the fact that Christmas is nearly a year away. ‘I want to get my driver’s license.’
I chuckled about his elevated sense of ambition.
‘You can’t get your driver’s license,’ his brother balked, ‘you’re not old enough.’
‘Yes I am, you have to be ten,’ the Hen argued , even though he is six.
I had visions of my pint-sized middle boy behind the wheel, a la Kevin in Home Alone.
‘No, you have to be eighteen to drive,’ his brother burst his bubble, ‘and you have to be eighteen to drink alcholics.’