There’s this thing that I do.
Let’s say I get the kids some kind of treat. Like ice cream or cake. And because I realize I should not be eating ice cream or cake, I do not order any for me.
But I really want a little taste.
My boys aren’t exactly known for their generosity of spirit when it comes to sharing ice cream or cake. In an act of desperation, I implement a top-secret maneuver.
“Hang on, fellas,” I tell them as the waitress delivers the goodies to our table. “I need to check these all for POISON.”
My trio waits patiently as I “test” each item. After all, they’ve seen “Snow White.” They understand how one drop of poison can result in a bunch of dwarves sticking you in a glass box for all eternity.
The kids breathe a collective sigh of relief as I wipe chocolate frosting from my mouth and declare everything arsenic-free. They can enjoy their desserts with a solid peace of mind, and I smile at my devious moment of maternal subterfuge.
Time passes. The older ones figure me out. Dan and Jack now roll their eyes and beg the waitress to just bring me my own damn sundae or apple pie.
Yet Joey has gone a completely different route.
It does not matter whether it is ice cream or cereal. It does not matter whether I am in the room or not. Whenever my youngest takes a first bite of ANYTHING, he announces to the world at large:
“NOPE. DEFINITELY NO POISON IN THAT!”
I’ve started getting a lot of suspicious looks.
And I have no one to blame but myself.
I have been forced to explain the “toxin-checks” to family members and friends. Not surprisingly, they are a bit appalled.
“You LIED to your kids?”
“You ATE their desserts?”
“You told them there could be POISON in their FOOD?”
When you say it like that? Yeah. I am the big bad villain.
But it’s not like I ever sold myself on being “the fairest of them all.” I’ve never picked flowers in a field. Or talked to bunnies. Or sang about how some day my prince will come.
I like the fairy tale I’m writing instead. It’s one where the Evil Queen drives a powder blue minivan and thinks that Snow White is a desperate bore. Sure, there are moments of deception and vanity (“Mirror, Mirror on the wall, can I afford Botox at all?”), but what clever kids really want a guileless Snow White as their mom anyway? I mean come on. The queen tries to poison her like 12 times and the nitwit keeps falling for it.
My boys would eat her alive.
Mostly because they’d still be hungry after I ate all their dessert.