Saturday, April 11, 2009
Some of the most intimate moments my son and I experience is in traffic. While everyone knows Los Angeles possesses the absolute worst, seven-circles-of-hell traffic jams, what many visitors find surprising is that while striving to get your kid to school on time, and attempting to navigate around illegal immigrants in their smoking, broken-down 35-year-old Honda Civics, you can gain some incredible insights into the inner workings of your child's mind. When not kicking the back of my seat, relentlessly shrieking the theme song to Star Wars, or contracting into a mean little fetal position due to my reluctance to enable his hideous sugar addiction, my son Ethan provides me hours of in-car amusement. Many unimaginative parents provide 'on-demand' Disney DVD's to their children while in transit or play dull games with their children such as 'I Spy.' I detest both of these diversions. Does any parent really want to spend ANOTHER 30-40 minutes listening to the ridiculous exploits of Hanna Montana or The Jonas Brothers? In addition, do you really give a flying fuck if your child can identify a tree, a cloud, or police car? I certainly don't.
While stuck in the molasses-like traffic patterns of Hollywood, do you want to know what truly floats my boat? I like to ask my child twisted questions such as "In a house fire, who would you choose to save, me or the frozen chocolate chip cookie dough in our freezer?" Ethan doesn't even make the pretense of debating, it's the cookie dough by a country mile. When I probe him further regarding his choice, he explains that the cookie dough is delicious, filling, and yummy whereas I'm a complete asshole and totally expendable.
While many parents would be offended by their child making such an assertion, I can only admire his candor. At least I know where I stand - and his ability to make empirical decisions is coming along beautifully. Not satisfied with the cookie-dough vs. daddy dying scenario, I ask him to again choose between saving me in house fire, or saving our dog - guess who again loses by a huge margin? Me. Ethan calmly explains that our dog gives him unconditional love, eats all the food he carelessly drops on the floor, and does fun, entertaining tricks that amuse his grade school cronies. I on the other hand 'bother' him with annoying 'stuff' like eating his vegetables, brushing his teeth, and taking baths.
After a posing a number of theoretical house fire scenarios my son has emphatically chosen to save the cookie dough first, and in descending order my husband, his dog, his teacher, our gardener, his ant farm, his Star Wars Legos, and finally his piggy bank. I didn't even crack the top 5. We finally arrive at his school and as he bounds out of the car, he cries, 'Bye Dad, I love you!' As I watch him go, I tear up and wonder if our smoke detectors need new batteries.