Aug 27, 2008

Mr. Wheedle: A Four-Act Play

Photo: But wheedling is okay.

This is a story about the monster; apparently it's Wheedling Season.


Yesterday, the wee one and I went on the most noble quest of them all: the quest for bacon and toys. After arriving at the Salmon Bay Cafe in Ballard, my son began telling me all of the things he was going to eat; like a senior citizen who doesn't hear very well, he started reading off all of the things he was going to devour, loudly and in list form. "AND THEN I'M GOING TO HAVE THE WESTERN OMELETTE, AND HASHBROWNS, AND I WANT A SIDE OF BACON, AND SOURDOUGH TOAST, AND AN ENGLISH MUFFIN, AND A SIDE OF SAUSAGE, AND A STACK OF BLUEBERRY PANCAKES, AND SOME HAM, AND A WAFFLE, AND SOME HOT CHOCOLATE, AND MAYBE JUICE." The list was so long, I could feel myself aging. The conviction in his voice told me he was ordering all of this, come hell or high water, except for maybe the juice; I understood his hesitation on the juice front, because that was by far the healthiest item on the list. That is why I told him he could order the omelette, toast, hashbrowns and the 'maybe juice'; I would order a side of bacon with my meal and share it with him. The "...BUT...BUT I WANT...BUT!...*SIGH*..." that came out of his mouth was accompanied by an eyeroll and a furrowed brow; I remembered doing that to my parents, too. When our food arrived, it was so enormous that Claim Jumper's would have been green with envy. He tried getting through a bunch of it, but barely made a dent--I was the same. He picked up a piece of bacon, ate it, made the 'ohmygodI'mgonnabarf' face, and said, "My dad's bacon is better." This made me laugh, because his dad is Jewish, and so I ate the rest of the bacon. Which is what prompted Mr. Wheedle to say, quite tersely, "You're like a BACON NAZI, yes you ARE." Hitler would have been proud.


Nothing is better than when a child tries to convince you of something in the same manner you might; they try for argumentative reason, and cite specific examples that may or may not exist, just so you will say YES. I could tell he was gearing up for some prime-time wheedling when he was all WOULD YOU LIKE A BACK RUB? All of a sudden I had my own personal Jeeves, fetching me water and wiping my ass.

"Oren," I said, "what are you DOING?"
"Watering the plant!" he replied, cheerfully.

Ten-year old boys aren't generally concerned with the well-being of your houseplants, so I was understandably wary.

"Sweet pea, if you're going to clean the TV monitor, use this cloth. So, what do you want to do this afternoon?" I asked him, wanting to change the subject. He slowly turned around, and there it was: the shit-eating grin that always accompanies a question to which the answer is always NO.

"NO," I said, preemptively.
"Aww, c'mon--you don't even know what I'm going to ask!"

I thought about it, and then said, "Okay... NO." He ran over to me, and gave me a hug. Now I was really suspicious. He buried his face in my sweatshirt.

"WHAT?" I said, "CAN YOU SPEAK UP PLEASE, AND TAKE OUT THE GARBAGE?" I was going to make him work for it.
"Oren, buddy, I can't even hear--"
"I WANNA SEE TROPIC THUNDER!!!!" The word 'thunder' came out like a wail.

"Isn't that rated R?" Look at me, ever the concerned parent, setting boundaries and leading by example. "ALEX got to see it." Alex is his cousin who is older than him by at least a few years. "Dude, I'm not taking you to an R-rated movie--not just because it's inappropriate, but because other people will think I'm a bad parent. Just-turned-ten-year olds aren't exactly ready for that level of humor." His face fell, and I felt bad, because being at the whim of someone else's mercy sucks serious A-hole; welcome to being a kid. He saw the door closing on Tropic Thunder, and made one last ditch effort to convince me.

"BUT...IT'S JUST ABOUT COMEDY AND GUNS AND VIOLENCE AND FUNNINESS! THAT'S NOT BAD AT ALL!" Mr. Wheedle looked desperate, and my heart went out to him. I gently said, "Buddy, you just argued Mommy's side and won. The answer is no. If you think Mama Mike and Da (my parents) would say yes, then by all means, you can go. Would you like to call them and see what they have to say?" We called my dad, and he said no. Of course he did. Oren put the phone down and grumbled, "What does he know about Tropic Thunder? HMPH."

He harrumphed around for the next hour, and I wondered if I'd made the right choice; if I had said yes, he might have cleaned my entire home. As it is, he didn't even take the garbage out.


Oren and I were cuddled up on the couch, watching the Simpsons, when he turned around and said, "Do you like ribs?" I assumed he meant my own, so I was like SURE. "Well, I'm a BIG FAN of spare ribs," he said decisively. I didn't know where he was going with it--was he hinting that he wanted ribs for dinner, or that I should give him one of my own? I said, "Ribs are good when cooked properly," because I know nothing about ribs except that undercooked ones will give you botulism. His response: "IF YOU EVER MAKE RIBS, YOU'D BETTER NOT KEEP ME WAITING FOR THEM." My response: "WHAT THE FUCK?! Well then I'm not ever going to make you any freaking ribs!" That's when Mr. Wheedle showed up. "Whaaaat? But whyyyyyyy?" Um, because you just threatened me? Men really will do anything for barbecued food.


We were going past Lucca Statuary, and I said, "Naked lady!" Oren looked over and saw the backside of a nymph statue, and made a face.

"I hope she's covered up on the other side," he said, primly.
"What? Why? She looks perfectly happy," I replied.
"I DON'T WANNA SEE A NAKED LADY!" he said, turning bright red.
"Well, that'll change," I said, laughing.
"YES I KNOW. I KNOW IT WILL CHANGE. IT WILL CHANGE WHEN I'M MARRIED." Oren said this with so much conviction, it made me want to buy him his own side of bacon.
"You really don't think you'll see a naked lady until you're married? Well...that's cool. I say, DON'T RUSH. Women are weird, anyways." I meant to instill some heftier brakes in him, mostly to warn him about girls. He looked very thoughtful, and nodded in agreement.
"Women are the WEIRDEST," he said with finality.

Amen to that.


Carrie Gunnnnnnn said...

Kids make me nervous. Especially when they want something. Oh man, I'm totally screwed. *snort*

Manthony said...

If you'd like, I can publicly appear to be a bad parent and take him to Tropic Thunder tomorrow instead of Dark Knight while you run errands. Just offering...

Snotty McSnotterson said...

Well, I have to publicly say no, so... NO. But I might email you later. ;)

Snotty McSnotterson said...

Yeah, Carrie, if kids make you nervous, then the one you're carrying around is going to be ten times worse. Jussayin'. :)

I still think you'll be a terrific mom.

Anonymous said...

I AM SHOCKED HE IS 10! Next---drivers ed! Ha!

barbjensen said...

Oh yay, you changed the name of your blog!
I just couldn't put the vomitorium or snot and vomit on my blogroll. So, as you may have noticed, I called it snotty mcsnotterson. Because I just couldn't not put it on, I love your blog. :)