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The Meaning of Throttle

Some mornings, every inch toward camp is a struggle. Cory refuses, for no stated reason, to eat the bowl of cereal that she just asked for. She keeps sneaking smoothie…by sticking her certainly dirty finger into the cup rather than drinking it. Fisher yells what he thinks are funny things out the front window at early morning passers-by. “Hey, poop on the butt!” Fisher tells Cory, “You are an F word!” And, when Daddy reprimands, they laugh. Cory tells Fisher to whisper the actual F word in her ear. Daddy grabs Fisher by his ear just as he’s about to comply.

When Daddy rushes outside to move the bins to the curb before the truck arrives, they laugh together and yell, “I can see your booty, Daddy!” at the top of their lungs. “Shake your booty!” More laughter. Both intentionally put their socks on inside out. He tries to get her to hide with him in their closet. She urges him to set up some sort of makeshift gymnastics apparatus near large plate glass windows that have been thinning since the 1970’s.

D: Guys! Sometimes I just want to throttle you two!
F (smiling): What does that mean?
C (laughing): I think it means give kids gum.
F: Is that what it means, Daddy?
D: Um, no. It means wrap your hands around someone’s throat and squeeze it. Like Gollum. But, it’s a figure of speech. Today, it means that I want to give you each a good hard pinch-twist for not listening better to your Daddy.
C: Daddy, let’s play a game! Fisher, Daddy is Gollum! He wants to thottle us. Run, Fisher, run!

They run. Ten minutes later, as Daddy stands at the door waiting for them to head to the car, they demonstrate a modified version of their game where they pretend to trip together, fall to the floor, and then Fisher faux-“thottles” Cory. Maybe he’s now Gollum? She’s Frodo? Who knows. At least he’s not trying to bite her finger off.

Now that another enchanting family morning has ended, it is worth noting two things. Daddy will regret teaching them what “throttle” means. (“Daddy, sometimes I just want to thottle you!” is coming. Or maybe, with laughter, “Daddy, do you just want to thottle me right now?”) And, any morning filled with more laughter than argument is a good one, even if most of that laughter is at Daddy’s expense.

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