Mediocre Mommy

Hal brought home a sheet of paper from school recently with a series of boxes that had an English word, its Spanish equivalent, and then his artistic representation of the idea behind the words.

I was impressed with a number of the pictures – the school house had no fewer than 20 windows on it, for example. But the best, by far, was his picture of family.

We all had necks and five fingers, an improvement over older drawings, although we appeared to have no arms, our hands sprouting directly out of our sleeveless shirts. We were also bald, and the family was comprised of three members instead of five. But one of us had some wicked heels on our shoes.

family

I asked him who was whom while his siblings began to argue over who was left out. He explained that he didn’t have time to draw his Bubba and apparently had no intention of drawing Sissy. The one in heels turned out to be me, despite the fact that I very rarely wear them. The small guy with no feet at all was Hal, the other person was Daddy.

Daryl, who was standing too far away to see the assignments announced his assessment on who was whom. “Daddy is the big one and Mommy is the mediocre one…”

He cut off as Daddy and Jane burst out laughing and I expressed feigned indignation.

“I think you meant the medium one, Buddy,” my husband said as he got his laughter under control.

“No, I mean mediocre.”

More laughter.

“Doesn’t it mean average? Like, the middle one?”

“No, not quite, honey,” I said. “It’s got a more negative connotation than ‘average’. Here, let’s look it up in the dictionary.”

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Booster Seat

Once upon a time, a little boy decided he wasn’t so little anymore. He loudly insisted to his parents that he no longer required a booster seat at the dinner table. His father said fine and unbuckled the seat from the chair. His mother was not so sure. She tucked the booster seat away for the time sure to come when he would complain that the table was too high.

The time didn’t come. The boy grew. He grew and he grew and he grew. For more than a year, he sat at the table without his booster seat. There were many times when his mother thought that surely he wasn’t comfortable. Many times, she cringed as his shirt sleeve dragged through his ketchup because his shoulder was even with the edge of the table. Many times, she watched him struggle up onto his knees so he could reach his milk cup.

She tried suggesting the booster seat in the beginning. He always stated that he was fine and did not require it. Eventually, she packed it away in a box that went to a local church for their garage sale. More time passed. The boy grew taller. And then, one day, during the fourth year of his life, with great agitation and indigation, he announced: I NEED A BOOSTER SEAT!

His mother was taken by surprise. “Honey, we don’t have a booster seat anymore. Remember? You said you didn’t need it so I gave it away. A long time ago, sweetheart. You haven’t sat in a booster seat at home since you were two.”

This truly did not matter to the little boy. A need is a need and it must be met. His mother flashed back to her childhood. She didn’t remember any fancy plastic booster seats that strapped to chairs. She did remember phone books. Unfortunately, the internet had all but killed the ready availability of super large phone books. And they lived in a small town anyway.

With a sigh, she walked to the all-purpose room that serves as office, library, exercise area, guest room, and bulk storage area. She spied a copy of the American Heritage Dictionary. The internet has all but obsoleted the need for dictionaries too, but this was a gift from her mother-in-law years before.

Well, she thought. It’s the fattest book we’ve got. I guess it’ll do.

The little boy was elated. Ever since that day, he has sat tall on his new booster seat. He proudly showed it to his Poppy when he came for a visit. If he wanted to sit in a different chair at the table, he’d move his booster seat.

Then, one recent day, while his mother helped his older siblings with a craft project, he sat the book on the table and climbed into the chair to sit on his knees.

“Mommy,” he called, “I am reading my booster seat.”

booster_dictionary