On my toes…

I hope no one goes looking for the big bag of Cheetos.  The Cheetos are gone.

OK.  No…they’re NOT gone…entirely gone.  They’re pretty much gone.  Their number dwindled in a significant way and, sadly, I’m the one who will be caught holding the bag or seeming to hold the bag (because my fingers are bright orange, of course.)  It’s all circumstantial evidence, but not even I would have the gall to deny I’ve been eating Cheetos with a great deal of enthusiasm.

It’s all Lauren Bacall’s fault.  That’s how it started, anyway.  The embankment of laundry that required folding yesterday afternoon had to be endured with something that would  make the task more pleasant.  I tried the Snow-White approach, but I’m not much of a whistler.  I tried the Deborah Kerr in The King and I (NOT From Here to Eternity) approach and that involved whistling, too.  Mary Poppins, I thought to myself; let’s just go for the spoonful of sugar.

Have you SEEN the price of sugar lately?  It’s not where it was eight months ago, but it’s pretty high and going up.  Sugar, like gasoline, is too preciously priced, and the stupid Cheetos had been on sale at the big-box store and you can’t really eat just one, can you?

So, between I can fold this large pile of laundry while watching Designing Woman (because Gregory Peck circa 1957 makes everything better) and the Cheetos were on sale and a smaller-than-the-laundry-pile pile of those won’t hurt, Lauren Bacall was suspecting there was something afoot (albeit in the past) between Mr. Peck and Dolores Gray and half a bag of Cheetos had disappeared.

I am not proud of myself.  At one point or another all the water this tremendously salty snack will make me retain will start sloshing about and slowing me down.  The right thing to do would be to exercise a little bit of willpower, and shun the Cheetos.  Cast them aside and say I will NOT eat the rest of those even if they seem to be satisfying…

You obviously have me measured up all wrong.  THAT is not going to happen.

I thought about it.  I seriously considered it.  I even told myself that I should just throw them away but one doesn’t really throw money away, right?  What?  You say that buying the Cheetos in the first place was a waste of money?  Forty-seven year-old me says you’re absolutely right; these Cheetos are anything but nutritious or healthful.  Only a child would find these appealing with all their artificial cheesiness, the saltiness that says “drink lots of water.”  Only a child would insist on purchasing these.  And she did.  My ten year-old self was positively giddy at the store and started dancing around while chirping away making a list of all the good things she’s done lately to deserve a bag of Cheetos.

The ten year-old self does pose a problem.  She gets into arguments with the kids until I rear my ugly head and bring the voice of reason back into the mix.  She is the one who can patiently sit down to put Legos together with J and makes it fun for him to change the sheets on his bed by pretending they’re ships’ sails.  She is the one who has released several small bouncy-bouncy balls in a room where they will continue to travel and give people the giggles as they fruitlessly chase them.  She’s the one who approves the purchase of bubble bath for J even though I know it costs more than I’d like to spend.

She chose the movie, and she ate the Cheetos.

I had the indigestion and retained the water.  I was the one who burped and groaned in disgust when I read the Nutrition Facts panel on the back of the bag.  She, darned ten year-old, took them out again this morning and placed them in front of me insisting I sit down to read some more Neil Gaiman because the weather doesn’t call for much else and, let’s face it, I don’t have to do my laundry by hand on the rocks by the river.

I don’t think (in hindsight) I ever wondered what kind of mom I’d be when I grew up.  I didn’t feel ill-prepared for motherhood because I didn’t really think it had to be done in one specific way.  It’s a good thing that, aside from making sure they were loved, fed, cleaned, cared for and played with, I didn’t bother to come up with a Master Plan.  Did I have expectations?  Of course!  No one plans on having children who are anything but gloriously wonderful.  I imagined round faces, smiles, little noses, fingers, toes.  I imagined they’d be smart, and happy in that way that kids have…they find the fun in everything.

If I look at it from my forty-seven year-old eyes, I have ample opportunities for disappointment.  They have hairy faces; they can be messy; they talk back; they get gas and it smells; one of them -heaven help me- is autistic.  I certainly didn’t plan on that.  I certainly didn’t imagine that was part of my prospects.  If I use my 47 year-old perspective, I’ve screwed up significantly and I’m in a miserable position.

And then she waltzes in with the Cheetos, and the scuffed elbows and knees.  She tells me she can chew three or four Bazooka Joes at the same time and then blow a really big bubble.  She then pops it and requires a haircut.  She lets the kids use acrylic paints on the dining room table, mix soda and ice cream in the blender and turn the thing on so it looks like we’ll be engulfed by the foam and liquid.  She yells “I’m going for a walk” and stomps out when she knows I’m upset and, should I stay, I’ll say something I’ll regret.  She sits with J and sketches a leaf with any crayon he hands her on any piece of paper for as long as he keeps wanting her to stay there doing that…

If anyone comes looking for the darned Cheetos I’ll tell she ate them.  If they complain, I’ll let her take care of it.

She deserves the snack (I know, I know…NOT EVERYDAY!!!!) because she keeps me on my toes…and flexible…and pliant…and willing…

and laughing.



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