This is a column I wrote a few years ago. No, I haven't matured much since, thanks for asking!
It all started with the squid fight at dinner. I didn’t mean to order calamari rings and when they arrived, I thought they were tiny little onion rings. In my defense, onion rings come breaded and deep-fried, so I just assumed the chef was talented and had used itsy-bitsy onions. I knew when I put it into my mouth that I’d made a mistake. I’m not fond of squid. So, sitting at a restaurant with my husband and five children, (four mine, one a loaner for the weekend trip) I chewed little squid rings. Actually, I only chewed one squid ring. Knowing how my family loves onion rings, I very graciously offered up my special onion rings to any and all. Everyone wanted one! Happily, I obliged by passing them around and gleefully waited for the response I knew was coming.
I didn’t have long to wait.
First there was a look of concern on my son’s face as he chewed. “This doesn’t taste like an onion ring.” I couldn’t help it and giggled, which gave the game away.
My eldest daughter realized what was in her mouth. “Ewwwwwwww!”
I said, “Want another one?” and then tossed it across the table to her. Word of warning here: Adults should never throw food in front of children. It only encourages them. I am not known for following my own advice.
The squid ring landed in her water glass, eliciting whoops and hollers from everyone at the table, including my husband. He was giving me the you-know-you’re-supposed-to-be-the-adult-here-right? Look. For some reason I get that look from him a lot.
It goes without saying that the squid was rescued from its watery grave and tossed right back at me. While I did manage to stop the food fight before French fries and ketchup became involved, it didn’t end there. It never does. Especially when I’m around to make sure it keeps going…. and going…and…. well, you get the picture. My knack for juvenile behavior runs on energizer bunny batteries. Just ask my husband.
I surreptitiously wrapped the remaining squidlet parts in my napkin and slid them into my pocket. As we left the restaurant I managed to put a calamari ring into my son’s pocket without him noticing. Then I attempted to do the same thing to his best buddy Daniel. Since Daniel is not my offspring, he was a little spooked that I was getting that close to him. His unfortunate birth outside of our family gave away my plan. The second the calamari ring landed in his pocket, he knew something was up. Or, um, down as the case may be. He reached into his pocket and squished the breading off the seafood bit as he pulled it from his pants.
I ducked the squid missile he tossed at me and we all ran across the parking lot laughing. The calamari fight continued in the van, as my son found he had just sat on something semi-squishy in his pants and threw it up to the front at me. He missed, and it sailed to the front where it lodged between the dash and the windshield. Did you know that surgical implements are required to remove anything that has been stuck in that area of your vehicle? We had to let it stay, where the heat from the window defrosters gave our van that fishy smell that tells everyone that you are a seafood lover. Either that, or just a….well, never mind.
When I went to bed that night at the hotel I found a little squid remnant under my pillow. Not knowing which child had gifted me, I took it and placed it lovingly inside the front shirt pocket of the dress shirt Daniel was going to wear to church in the morning. He was pleased to have the scent of seafood follow him everywhere that morning.
The hotel served up a lovely free breakfast in the lobby, so we sent the boys down first as we could tell their starvation was imminent. I was so proud to hear my son when he returned to our room and gleefully told us that he’d set a bagel on fire down stairs.
“You should have seen the flames Mom! They shot up so high!”
I have no idea where his bad behavior comes from. I’m planning on talking to his father about that as soon as I get the squid bits out of my suitcase.