So there must be few things worse than being four years old and having little control over your life, like when you get dragged shopping all day, and it’s not even fun toy or pet shopping. We are talking major mom shopping to different stores for gas, groceries, and printer supplies on a subzero day when all you really want to do is sit home playing with your new foam puzzle blocks or making Play-Doh gum balls.
And then thirst hits and no matter how much you whine in the back seat about how BADLY you NEED a drink or how you might just pass out, your mom refuses to get you one. It stinks when you beg your mom for just a little sip of something, anything and she tells you repeatedly that, “We’ll be home soon. You can have a drink when we get there.”
And it must stink to be so desperate for something to drink – ANYTHING TO DRINK! – that you begin looking around the car for something, ANYTHING to quench that insatiable thirst.
And it must stink to ride captive in the back of a car like ours where you can look around for something to drink with a good bit of confidence that you will find something because there is always so much CRAPola in our car that you can find pretty much everything – and we pretty much have!
And it must stink that once you find that half drunk bottle of water one of your brothers left behind, you discover that it is frozen completely solid.
But then you begin to get creative…
First, you look around the car again for something to help you thaw the water bottle, again feeling confident that in a car this messy, there must be something useful. Something that gives you hope catches your eye, and you reach way down from your booster seat to pull up the thick plastic tag your mom never cut off the stroller she bought for you over two years ago because your mom is weird and has a hard time emotionally cutting the tags off stuff – and you worry that this is a sign of the anxiety she will face when your oldest brother goes to college next year and she has to cut the cord (a tiny bit) with him, but you’re happy she left this tag on because there is a loose end to this tag and you can use that to reach inside the water bottle and scrape minuscule ice flakes.
But they are not enough to quench your thirst. So you become more resourceful.
You are so incredibly thirsty but notice you do have some warm saliva left in your parched mouth.
“Hey, what warms ice faster than a mouthful of hot spit?” you wonder silently.
You can’t think of anything and so begin spitting into the water bottle. Soon you discover there is actually some water in there, whether it’s water that has thawed or just mouthful after mouthful of hot preschooler spit, no one knows for sure, but you’re pretty impressed with yourself.
Being the thoughtful and sweet child you are, you offer your mom a drink.
Mom, being the distracted, humoring kind of mom she is, smiles as she takes the water bottle and raises it to her lips. Unfortunately for her, something in the glowing pride she sees on your face makes her stop and ask how you defrosted that water bottle just as she is about to take her first sip. You can’t understand why she makes that crinkly face again and hands back the water bottle.
“What’s a little spit between mother and son?” you wonder.
Just last night she ate the hot mushy carrot you dipped in ranch dressing, sucked on, and partially chewed before realizing you don’t lie ranch dressing or carrots either for that matter after all. You shrug unaffected by her haughty disdain. Let her be that way. Now she’ll have to wait to get home to have anything to drink.
Once home, finally, you realize you could get a glass of water from the sink like a normal person, but thawing that darn water bottle has become a challenge you must overcome and, because you are the fifth boy, you think nothing of heading to the silverware drawer. Expanding on your original idea of scraping loose the ice, you take out a knife, insert it into the bottle and begin scraping and chopping, and, also because you are the fifth boy, your mom who once would have had a cow over a knife-weilding four year old, instead grabs the camera (when she finally realizes what you’re doing!) and starts snapping pictures despite your admonishing her to not put this on record because some people just won’t understand.
Despite the fact that it’s only a butter knife, you really don’t think this act would be understood by people with fewer children and you actually check the camera to be sure all the evidence has been erased (Luckily – or maybe not if CPS comes! – you don’t realize that your mom was able to save just one picture documenting your skills with a knife).
Finally, it’s nap time. You’ve worked yourself up to an exhausted demeanor, or maybe you’ve worked your mom up to an exhausted demeanor, and the promise of TWO stories before nap is just too good to pass up. You place the still partially frozen bottle on the counter not realizing it will thaw on its own before you wake up.
You take mom’s hand and lead her, pass over the story you’ve picked, and head for the bedroom.
Mom looks like she could use a rest – or maybe she could just use a sip of your water…