Well, they’ve only been reading for a few months…
Cory loses her temper when she sees that the vegetable of the day is mixed. Mixed includes frozen carrots. She decides she hates frozen carrots.
In the morning, the twins had hung out with their friend, among other things, helping to organize a last-minute lemonade stand. They each made five dollars. In the afternoon, they walked to a store or two with their babysitter, where she spent about five dollars, on things for herself and things for him. He saved his money.
By dinnertime, they’re both a little tired and sassy. She’s mad about the carrots. He’s mad about something now forgotten.
F: You never…
C: But, we never…
F: And, it’s never…
C: No, you never…
Daddy stops with the dinner prep and sits down.
D: Can I let you in on a little secret?
D: Can I let you in on a little secret, guys?
D: Childhood goes by very fast. Do you remember when you were just this high? (Gesturing.) And now you are this high. It goes quickly. Pretty soon, faster than any of us know it, you guys will be adults. And you know what you can do as adults?
D: Anything you want. You can decide to eat vegetables or not eat vegetables. You can decide what vegetables to eat if you eat them. You can make your own money, buy your own food, cook your own food, choose your own food, eat it, not eat it, anything you want. Cory, let’s say you’ll be off living in Boston, miles away, hundreds of miles away from Daddy and Papa. You can decide, “No frozen carrots for me.” And Daddy and Papa won’t be around to even notice. And, Fisher, you might be even further away, let’s say living in London, with an ocean between you and Cory and even more miles away from Daddy and Papa. You can decide you don’t ever want to eat anything that’s good for your body again. Easy peasy. Daddy and Papa won’t be there to shake their heads.
F (quieting down): But, I want to live in the neighborhood with you.
D: Oh, no! You probably need more freedom than that! It’s like a jail living here, with all this brush your teeth, put on your jammies, eat your dinner, please, don’t make a mess, on and on. You’ll probably need to be further away than a neighborhood. I mean, what if I come over to your house and start telling you to eat your vegetables? No, no! You’ll need an ocean between…
C (sobering up): But, Daddy! I don’t want to live in Boston. I want to be on the street with you!
D: Oh, no, Cory! That wouldn’t be good. I mean, that’s pretty close. What if you stop by for a casual dinner, which you can do if you live too close, and I slip a frozen carrot in your food? Then, you might get upset and give me sassafras, and that’s not going to work. Who wants that? No, no. What you will need is freedom. The kind of freedom that only your own city can provide. No constraints. No Papa. No Daddy. No Fisher. No rules. Well, you’ll still have rules because you won’t want to break the law and go to prison, but no other rules. You can have all of Boston to yourself. Free to be you! It will be so…
C: Daddy, stop it! I don’t want…
F: But, Daddy, I want to live with you.
D: Just look outside. You can only see our street from here, but there’s a whole world out there! You guys will want to see so much of it, not be bogged down forever in this house, with all Daddy’s rules, all Daddy’s choices, all Daddy’s vegetables. You’ll be on your own, all by yourselves, so carefree, so vegetable free…
Daddy wears them down. They eat their vegetables, Fisher under less protest than Cory. She really doesn’t like those carrots. Daddy makes note to get some more fresh ones.
F (in the middle of Star Wars): Can people live at outer space, at that Naboo planet?
D: Not right now. (Pause.) But, maybe by the time you get bigger, people will have found a way. Who knows! Then, you could be free not just of Daddy’s rules, Daddy’s house, but you could be free of Daddy’s planet and go live…
C: Daddy, stop! I already ate those carrots! (Daddy stops.) I didn’t like them, but I ate them, and I want to live in your neighborhood, okay!?
M: Hey, did they win today?
Daddy keeps loading up Gala apples for the week. The kids each eat one per day, and that keeps the doc…
W: Do you know if they won today?
D (glancing up): I’m…
A younger guy and girl are smiling from over by the pears. She’s probably not his wife. Most married couples don’t shop together…
W (gesturing up with her head): Did those guys win today?
M: Last I saw…
D (aaaaahhhh, so annoying, flicking his hat): Oh, I’m not really a Red Sox fan. I just wear the hat.
M/W (laughing a little): Oh!
D: Yah, my partner used to live in Boston, so I just wear the hat. Because it’s blue.
W (punching him in the arm): See! See!? Thank you. (Punching playfully some more.) I told you!
M (giving me an “ah, man, you screwed me look”): Ah, man, now I’m…!
W (laughing): He isn’t a Giants fan. Hates them. But I told him that he should wear…
M: Just because she likes ‘em? I don’t think so.
W: Yes, you should. If you…
M: No, way, man!
They continue to banter and touch each other a little too much. Probably not husband and wife. Dating, definitely. Daddy begins moving away from being the third on this date. They take a break from, um, ribbing each other.
M (grinning): See ya, man. (Faux sarcastic.) Thanks a lot!
W (grinning): Yah! (Faux genuine.) Yah, thank you so much!
They look happy and giddy and all’s-right-with-the-world-ish. Daddy just smiles and continues backing away from the foreplay/afterglow/whatever mess this Red Sox hat just stepped in.
Done with odd social interactions about a random team on the other side of the country, Daddy, upon arriving home, orders two more tennis hats. Cory thinks Nadal’s going to win a tenth French — “he’s the best” — but Fisher is not so sure because “ten times is just a lot.” Daddy can’t wait to hear what the woman buying organic salted cashews or the man waiting around at the gas pump thinks…
The twins prepare to take up their “warm water and pine cone” experiment on the patio (which involves a lot of mashing) when Daddy tells them that Ireland decided to do the right thing, to let two boys or two girls marry, and to be a nice, civilized country instead of a backward bunch of “meanie-heads.”
They understand perfectly, hug each other, hug Daddy, and run for their St. Patrick Day greens to celebrate!
F: That’s good, Daddy. Nice countries are better than mean countries, right? Cory, I’ll go get more warm water.
C: Fisher, do you want to be the person who makes stuff for my class?
C: I’ll be right inside teaching my class, and you could bring stuff in to my kids once you’ve made it, okay?
Daddy smiles as Cory goes inside to her “classroom” and explains the situation to her “kids.” Not the historic victory. The fact that Fisher will make things for the class, which she will teach (with a firm hand, to no one’s surprise).
Daddy ponders whether to charge red-haired, fair-skinned, blue-eyed Cory — whose real first name (Corcoran) couldn’t get more Irish — with dropping her planned lessons to teach her “kids” that fundamental rights should never be put to a popular vote, because of the difficulty most people have in shrugging off their reptilian brains, but that when they ARE put to a popular vote, and the people do come through, and they do so by what appears to be such incredible margins, in a country so recently considered one of the most socially conservative in Europe, it’s perfectly okay to celebrate.
But, while Daddy ponders, Cory gets started. The detour toward world events would now interrupt a music lesson involving a maraca, a dance step, and “cha, cha, Cory-uh” chanted over and over. Daddy wouldn’t want her “kids” to miss that little descent into cult of personality.
Daddy’ll go give a quiet kiss to a still-sleeping Papa instead.
Top o’ the morning to ya, indeed, Ireland!
F: What’s a stool sample?
At four months, Cinder is now as tall as Boston and Quincy, although…
…they still have the pounds on him. Not for long. He is slated to add about 10 per month, edging toward full weight (of 90 to 100 pounds) at 9 or 10 months old. That rapid growth makes the months between then and two years, when the chewing and puppy energy start to subside, challenging.
D: A stool sample is some poop.
C: What!? Some poop? Why does the vet need some of Cinder’s poop?
D: He has to look at it. One of the best ways to see if a puppy is healthy is to look at its poop.
F: That’s kind of gross. (Pause.) But, I could help you get a er, uh, eh stool sample, Daddy!
D: Thanks, Fisher, but I’ll take care of that.
C: Do all vets have to look at dogs’ poop?
Daddy takes the kids to school, one of them considering veterinarian as a future profession, the other ruling it out. Back at home, Daddy puts Cinder in the back seat for his second car ride (and first without a cage).
D (out loud, to himself, in the car halfway to the vet): Dang it, Cinder! We forgot. We needed a stool sample.
Cinder just shakes. Well, he appears to just shake. At weigh-in, Cinder comes in between 38 and 39 pounds. He just might have hit the four-months 40-pound mark had he not conveniently deposited the not-so-little present in the backseat.
Drive and ye shall receive.