So we’re sitting at dinner and Tall announces, “I thought of my perfect house today. Would you like to hear about it?” He's offering me an opportunity to jump in his seven-year-old brain and peek around? Sign me up.
He started by counting off how many rooms there would be: 52 bedrooms, 23 kitchens (each with two dining rooms), 17 living rooms, 12 garages, and we haven’t even gone outside yet. Short was getting very excited listening to his brother’s grand plans; he wanted in on the action. “Will I get to live there with you?” he asked sweetly.
In a rare moment of magnanimity, Tall nodded. “Sure, Short, you and your wife can live with me.”
Short smiled broadly, revealing all twenty of his itty bitty Chiclets teeth. Then the smile vanished. “Uh, wife?!?”
Tall leaned in towards Short and said conspiratorially, “Do you know what a 'wife' is, Short?”
This should be good, I thought. What exactly is a wife? How does my seven-year-old define her?
“You know how you have to marry a girl when you grow up? That’s your wife!” he explained enthusiastically.
(Well, at least he didn’t imply that she had to do all the laundry and make the bed every day.)
Next, Tall wanted to describe what the outside of the house would look like. Three stories tall. Three miles long. One mile wide. What color? “White—like the White House.” Of course. There would be tennis courts and basketball courts and volleyball courts (maybe he’ll be a lawyer? he seems to favor courts) and pools and gardens with garden mazes.
As dinner table talk tends to do, we revisited a previous topic (where Short would stay and for how long—he will no longer live there with his new wife year-round, he will merely come for vacations).
The Husband shoots me a look. The look said, “Will we, the future old people, be shunned?” What he said out loud: “Can Mommy and I come visit you, too?”
Tall lit up (at the thought of free labor?). “Sure! Of course! You will have the biggest bedroom, well, I mean, after mine. There will even be a bathroom connected right to it. And, Mom, you’ll get your own kitchen with two dining rooms attached!” Obviously, I cannot escape the theme of preparing meals.
Short was getting bored of the conversation not being about him for two minutes. “I want my room to look like StarWars!” he blurted out.
Tall shook his head and laughed. Oh, stupid stupid little brothers. “No, Short,” he began firmly, “We’re talking about when you’re a grown-up. When you’re a grown-up, you’ll want something fancier than StarWars decorations.” He rolled his eyes at me, as if to say, “This is so far-fetched, this crazy stuff that Short wants!”
“Okay, so next, Mom, I need to tell you about the viewport thing on the top of the house. It will be one mile high.” Now Tall disappears to locate a pen and paper to record his genius.
The Husband whispers to me, “Is the kid designing a hotel? Or maybe a palace?” He snickers.
“What are you talking about?” says Tall suspiciously upon returning to the room.
“Uh, I was just wondering who is going to sleep in all those 52 bedrooms….” The Husband rallies.
“Pop! I don’t really mean 52! Actually, more like 15.” Sure, 15 makes a lot more sense.
“Does that mean you’ll have 15 kids, Tall?” The Husband presses.
“No, I mean, I don’t think so.” He considers his ideal number of children.
My ears perk up at the mention of future-grandmotherhood. “How many kids will you have, then, Tall?” I ask as nonchalantly as possible.
“Uh, four. I guess, four. I’m not really sure. I might have to ask my wife.”
Short has a practical question, “Tall, what kind of food will we eat there?”
Tall is on a roll. “Good question, Short,” he begins in full-on Teacher Mode. “In our garden, two hundred radishes will be picked per day, with 15% of radishes going to each kitchen.” He says this deadpan, and when I am ready to laugh, I notice he's being sincere.
The kid has never eaten a radish.
(to be continued…..)
(“Mother Of Visionary”)