The Texture Of Things

Just So You Know, This Does Not Have A Bad Ending

January 20th, 2009

Most of our lives, we go along thinking, “It could never happen to us,” and for the most part, it’s true. In fact, if you think about it, when we hear scary stories on the news, we may well think, “I don’t even know anyone that’s ever happened to.” Well, now you do.

Our house is filled with products that have been recalled due to the salmonella scare. Sure, many homes have Austin and Keebler peanut butter crackers in the cupboard as snacks, but in this house, pb crackers are on the tot’s plate every single lunch and dinner. They are in my purse for when we’re out and she needs to eat. They are in her lunch bag at the babysitter’s house. Peanut butter and peanut butter products are her main source of protein.

Has anyone in this house gotten sick from them? No. The tot and I have a cold, but that is the extent of any illness here. Still, it feels like every time I turn around I see a packet of crackers in the snack drawer here and a half-packet of crackers leftover on the table there and I snatch them up, feeling relieved that she didn’t see them and open them for herself in a fit of independence. (It does happen from time to time.) I have told her that we aren’t eating peanut butter crackers from packages right now, only homemade ones (which she resists), but she’s 4.5 and really it’s my job to be in charge of shielding her from potentially dangerous things.

I am left with a weird feeling as this story develops. Of all the food contamination scares we’ve had in the last few years, I never really worried about them. They were all detached and distant from my life because I didn’t eat those things. I mean, seriously? Spinach? C’mon. Who the hell eats spinach? But here, this feels a little too close.

The up side to this is that the tot is forced to eat more cheese crackers (which should help desensitize her to cheese flavors) and is being offered more chicken nuggets (though she hasn’t been eating them), but even consumption of those is down right now due to her cold. For now, it’s lots of fluids for us and a big dose of relief that at least jarred peanut butter is considered safe for the time being, if she decides she feels like eating.

He’s on a mission from God*

August 7th, 2008

Once upon a time, at a baby shower long, long ago (okay, it was four years ago), I received a gift from my grandmother. I received many gifts, but none of them are remembered quite as fondly by my friends as Bible Bear.

Bible Bear is wired with buttons you can push. Each button is labeled with a bible verse, such as “Gen 1:1.” When the button is pressed, it should play the indicated bible verse in two or three installments. For instance:

Press once, and the uber-perky, youthful boy’s voice shouts, “Genesis! One! One!”
Press again, and he shouts, “In the beginning! God created the heavens and the earth!”

(If the verse is very long, it will be divided into shoutable bits and you have to press a third time to hear the conclusion.)

Or at least this is what it should shout. More often than not, our Bible Bear gets its wires crossed and mixes the verses up. Or, and perhaps more relevantly, it chooses to repeat one bit over and over again, regardless which button you have pressed. In our case, beloved Bible Bear prefers to shout at us, “Romans! 6! 23!”**

For those of you not in the know, Romans 6:23 reads as follows: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Wait. Let me do that again in Bible Bear voice.

“ROMANS! SIX! TWENTY-THREE!
FOR THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH!
BUT THE GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS!”

Now we are not, in our little family here, what I would call ‘practicing Christians.’ In fact, one member of this household makes it his or her practice to not practice Christianity. And I do not think of us as superstitious (though I do tend to wonder occasionally if I’m about to jinx myself, which is – OF COURSE – irrational), but I do have to wonder what exactly the bear trying is to tell us. And if my grandmother – my technologically illiterate grandmother – tampered with this bear’s wiring because she had something she wanted to tell us.

For the record, that’s not her way. She has no problem telling us to our faces that if we don’t get right with God RIGHT NOW, we’re in big, big trouble. So, the bear’s verse of choice is probably just coincidence, but it’s a delightfully funny one. Well, in the telling it’s delightfully funny. At the time, the bear was downright creepy. I’m just sayin’.

You might be wondering at this point why I would tell this story today. I will tell you. Though I thought I threw the bear away when we moved to this house 3.5 years ago, yesterday as I dug out stuff for the baby’s room, I FOUND THE F*CKING BEAR.

I have not had a chance to test its buttons yet because I am constantly shadowed by the tot, and I cannot let her see this bear because she will want to keep it and we are SOOOOOO not keeping it. So, tomorrow while she is at day care, I will pull it out and start pushing buttons. If I do not report back within a week, send help. The bear has eaten my soul.

*If you don’t get that this is a reference to the original Blues Brothers movie, I have a homework assignment for you for the weekend: Go watch it.

**And yes, as a football fan I do often want to shout back at it “Hut HUT!”

The Truth, in Small Doses

July 31st, 2007

This morning, at the unfair hour of 6:41 a.m., HG peeked out of the bathroom to make sure I was going to get up with my alarm.

“Doesn’t it feel good to know that you’re the thing that makes everything all right for someone else?” he asked.*

“Mhuh?”

“When you have a bad dream or some scary thoughts…”

oh, right. an hour and a half before this, i was rocking the tot back to sleep after a bad dream. i had forgotten.

“and someone comes to hold you and make it all better. That’s you.”

That’s true. That’s me. That makes the day after an already short, then interrupted sleep a lot easier to bear.

*Exact wording cannot be guaranteed. It was pre-coffee after only 5.5 hours of sleep.

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