The 6 year old and I are brushing his teeth before bed.
A lot of our ‘chats’ happen in the space between breaking the news to him that it is indeed bedtime again …. and him actually getting in to bed.
This particular (soul destroying) conversation happened mid brushing.
“Did you use a spear when you were a kid?”
He mumbles at me through a mouthful of toothpaste foam.
“Huh? A what?” I ask.
“A spear…You know, to hunt…..Did you use a spear to get your food?”
“WTF?!? No! We got food from the supermarket…I’m not THAT old!!”
‘They had supermarkets then? I thought people lived in caves?’
He is genuinely perplexed.
‘Jesus child, I’m 42. I’m not Paleolithic or Cro-Magnon or whatever it’s called. I lived in a house……”
He cuts me off. He’s warming up….
“But you are so very, VERY old. I mean look….”
He’s in the flow now.
I’m fucked and I know it.
I have to let this run its course.
The toothbrush is put down, he gets his thinking face on and the hands come up.
It is about to get ruthless.
“Look at your face. It’s got all those lines and crumples”
“Wrinkles” I correct. A tinge of despair in my voice
“So many wrinkles…. and your skin is wobbly…. and I can,” he leans forward and grabs my bingo wing,
I laugh. Sort of.
The kind of laugh that has me mentally very much doing the un-laugh
“That’s what happens to skin as it gets older” I say, re-handing him his toothbrush. Hoping he takes the hint.
He’s still talking,
“And your belly is really fat.” He gives me a vigorous poke. “How do you get that fat anyway?”
The wide-eyed, innocent interest on him.
“I had you child.” I manage to spit out. Half laughing – half shrieking in the horror of his interrogation.
I had you kid.
And then I had your sister.
Then I mothered your intense asses. And it left me wrecked and frinkled. A fat old bag of sag according to you.
Your father can brush your teeth tomorrow.
I’ll read you a story. If my cave lady legs can make it up your bunk bed ladder.
Any more questions?