Momentary lapse of reason

When Leta sits down to eat a meal she normally picks over one or two tiny bites of food and then asks for dessert by saying, “I would like something,” being very careful not to specify exactly what that something is. Not because she’s unsure, no. She does this because she’s hoping that we’ll try to guess what she wants, and that in the process of guessing we’ll come up with something more spectacular than what she had in mind. If she were to ask specifically for a gummy bear, she’d never know if we were feeling generous enough to suggest a gallon of ice cream, or maybe? Maybe this time we would have suggested a pony.

Recently she has been very frustrated because all I’ve been willing to suggest is a lobotomy.

Yesterday was one of those rare times when Leta is in such a good mood that it’s impossible not to experience a brief moment of hypnosis, such that you start to think that you understand why someone would ever consider having 17 children. Most days I can’t even comprehend why people have more than one, probably because most days with a toddler are the emotional equivalent of running over your skull with a car, but yesterday was one of those delicious exceptions when she was happy all day long, and I couldn’t help feeling like, help! Something’s wrong with me! All those big Mormon families suddenly make sense!

She even ate dinner, every last bite of a bowl of chili, and afterward when she said she wanted something I was feeling so refreshed that I told her she could have a scoop of ice cream, a treat she hasn’t eaten in several weeks. Her eyes bulged out of her head, and sensing that I was feeling unusually charitable she asked if she could have some caramel topping, too. Sadly, we’d forgotten to buy more caramel topping after everything in the refrigerator spoiled during a recent blackout, so I suggested we sprinkle a few M&M’s on top. It’s a trick I learned in college, that M&M’s make everything better, even the bitter taste of awkward, lonely nights spent waxing my mustache instead of screwing my TA.

She’s never eaten ice cream this way, so it was the first time she was confronted with the horrifying image of those two things being combined, at the same time, in the same bowl. Ice cream touching an M&M. It just doesn’t get more perverted than that. I feel violated even talking about it.

I don’t remember how long it took us to calm her down, to assure her than an M&M would never touch her ice cream, but she didn’t stop panicking until I promised her, gave her my solemn word that under no circumstances would I EVER again suggest something so magnificent.