Immediately following her morning juice and just before the eggs were scrambled, but most certainly long before the matriarch sipped her coffee, she dragged the stool around the corner and into the pantry unnoticed. Sensing the Sunday in the morning she counted on just enough hasty and distracted scrambling that the sound of the stool dragging across the floor would blend into the crazy of her mother’s thoughts. She recognized her opportunity at her mother’s running up the steps while the eggs cooled in the pan. Unattended time ticked away as Mom searched for matching dresses and bows. Opportunity continued when big brother James succumbed to the stress of struggling with his pants button and cried helplessly for his mommy at the top of the stairs. Her nearly perfect, yet beginning to catch onto the behavioral paradigms of her family, baby sister Rita, maintained her morning slumber. Dad, wishing he could continue his own slumber, did not hesitate to take his time picking his shirt despite his wife’s spastic handling of the morning and life.
There Josie stood on top of the stool. The kitchen and the pantry for those brief seconds were hers and her freedom to taste limited only by her mother’s negligent grocery shopping. She perused and touched and discarded anything not resembling “treat.” As she heard the “We have to leave for Mass in twenty minutes!” warning #1, she popped the golden chocolate truffle into her mouth in rambunctious delight, savoring its rich, expensive smoothness. Careful not to leave any evidence on her face, she used her freshly washed curls to wipe up the excess chocolate-drool mixture and continued her quest to fill up on sugar before her mother requested her presence at the breakfast table.
The perusing continued. Her notice of a large container filled to the brim with golden wrapped squares shaped in the perfect size for storing in pockets, underneath her bed, or to be stashed in the elastic waist of her diaper, took her breath away. With a few claps and jumps, her breath returned and into the jar her tiny hand wiggled. To ensure efficient eating, she unwrapped 7 at a time. At the notice of an adult’s entrance into the room, she shoved all of them into her mouth.
“Why all the tears, Miss Josephine?” her still not dressed mother asked in the most calm way she could when encountering ear drum piercing, but not indicative of bodily injury, crying.
There was no answer, only ferocious spitting. Seven semi-chewed, looked liked candy to her, chicken soup bouillon cubes, were expelled.
Her mother tried to comfort and then decided not to. That toddler had it coming and disgustingly salty seemed like sweet parenting justice.
With chewed bouillon all over the floor, the family piled into the car and headed to church. Wearing a Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer hat backwards, to ensure and exude coolness, she announced her need to pee and desire for underwear 17 times, each time progressing in loudness and intensity. Then, she vehemently demanded a sip of juice, also known as the Blood of Christ, repeatedly and recklessly abandoned to the care of volume or level of inappropriateness. While she was careful to communicate on the borderline between whine and sweet speech impediment to strangers, the final straw of ripping the missile as her parents begged for strength and guidance landed her a Mass Grade of a big fat F.
Until next week…
Happy Sunday! May there be no crusted bouillon on anyone’s floors.