I have about twenty or thirty children. I forget. One of them tended to say things that made a person question his hearing. I’m 100% positive that it was probably one of the boys.
When the kid was a toddler his pediatrician told me that as soon as he entered school, the teachers would be demanding I put him on Ritalin. He was never on Ritalin, though. That doctor was wrong. He was not at all hyperactive. He was just strange. There isn’t a pill for strange. Well, at least one that works. Besides, there is much to be learned from children. I saw no reason to drug the quirkiness out of him.
He simply lived on a different planet. Ask his siblings, if you know any of them. I forget who they are, but there are so many that there may well be one sitting right next to you.
He couldn’t stay seated. He always stood at the dinner table. This used to drive Victor crazy. Victor is my husband. There’s only one of him, so I remember him. Plus, he’s still here at home, so he’s sort of underfoot all the time, if you know what I mean. Victor spent most of every meal trying to get this kid to stay seated. For some reason it really bothered Victor that one of his kids stood while eating his dinner. The other kids were happy to have their dad’s attention elsewhere. They could feed, for instance, their Brussel sprouts to the dogs under the table with impunity.
The kid always did what he was told, though. He was sensitive and obedient. He would be standing and Victor would say to sit down. He was always surprised to find himself standing, and always sat right down. But then he would slowly start to rise out of his seat until he was standing again. Victor never stopped trying, but it never did work. The kid’s body had a mind of its own and simply preferred a standing position. (He also only stood at his desk at school, but that is a whole other kettle of fish.)
Even though I can’t quite place his name, I have specific scenes that remain in my memory of him. Once he stuck his fingers under my nose and asked:
Why is it that when you handle a centipede, your fingers smell like this?
I knew that there had to be a whole vignette there, but, since “Batman Forever” was about to begin, I just wiped off my upper lip with some spit and a Kleenex and said it was because that is just how they smell. There just wasn’t time to find out the necessary background information from him and people don’t like it when you talk in a movie theater.
I once asked him why he wanted me to read to him from one book, if he were already reading to himself from another one.
Why? I can listen to both stories at the same time. Why would you want to limit me like this?
It was a good question. I felt very bad. I certainly didn’t want to limit him. His arguments were watertight. Two books at a time it was.
There’s an intriguing question that still niggles at me. Perhaps one of you knows the answer.
Are there any flammable body secretions?
I have to say that that one stumped me. Does blood burn? Mucus? I was pretty sure that urine wouldn’t burn, so I told him that much. I do wish I had asked why he wanted to know, though. I really wish I had. I think he was planning something interesting. I still sort of want to know if you packed enough mucus in a jar and you lit a fuse to it, could you use it as a Molotov cocktail?
You should really listen to your kids. Their questions can make you think in anomalous directions; leading to peculiar spots in your mind you may never have visited before. The only drawback is that sometimes you get stuck inside those unfamiliar places and can’t find your way out.
Could someone turn a light on for me?