Where’s My Crouton?

Before I had kids I never realized that basically every day is like an extended hostage negotiation. Only tenser.

Tonight we had parent-teacher conferences, David had football practice, Barry had to volunteer at football equipment return. Add on homework and the fact that Justin and Alex were so kind as to get up at 4:45 this morning, and that meant I was in no mood to try to make something for dinner that would be agreeable to all parties. So we went to Culver’s.

I had a salad. Usually when I have a salad, I dole out my croutons because I’m not crazy about croutons, and the kids like the croutons. I only had like five of them, so I dispersed them randomly. Alex’s was sitting on a napkin while he finished his dinner. Then we went up to get their frozen custard treat. Here’s where things get murky. I’m not sure if Alex offered his crouton to Cameron, I saw something that looked like that, but didn’t really hear what went down. All I know is that as I began to clean up, Alex asked where his crouton was, and Cameron said that he ate it because Alex gave it to him.

The kid’s sitting there with a cup of vanilla custard (with sprinkles and a cherry, as he specifically requested) in front of him, yet we are about to go DEFCON 3 over a bloody crouton. Everyone is paralyzed with fear. How is this going to play out? Hostilities are bubbling underneath the surface, you can see it in his face. Will a launch sequence be initiated, or can I negotiate and plead my way out of this? I pulled out some tried-and-true techniques that have a 50% success rate on any given day.

Diversion. No.

Reasoning. Not a chance.

Threats. We’re in public. He knows I’m bluffing.

Abject Begging. Yeah, right.

Deceit. Bingo.

Crisis averted. Breathe easy. You can come out of the fallout shelter now. Sound the all clear.

(A goddamn crouton? Are you kidding me?)

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2012

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