If you cook like I do, it takes a little while. And that's part of the whole point. "Not now. I'm trying to cook dinner," I tell the Seven Year Old, who wants me to wrestle or play cards or play X-Box with him, since having the first 11 hours of a Sunday utterly devoted to his every whim just hasn't been enough "play time".
The longer I can draw that process out the better. Some men play golf to get themselves out of the house for a good four or five hour stretch. I cook overly complex meals. And hence this little drama:
Scene 1: A kitchen in a house in suburban Mt. Pleasant, SC. A father is preparing a chicken to roast in the oven.
[Enter Seven Year Old, wearing a down vest, plastic space helmet with visor, and plastic raygun]
Seven Year Old: Daddy, send me on a mission!
Father: Okay [thinks for a few seconds]. Trooper, the evil turtle has set a bomb that will go off in three minutes. To defuse it, you need . . . um . . . a pink shoe, a bridge, and . . . um . . . an article of clothing with a "B" on it. [sets kitchen alarm]. You have five minutes. Ready . . . GO!!!
[Seven year old exits stage left, hauling ass.]
[Father mixes a mai tai, listens to a little music on the stereo, enjoys the relative quiet downstairs.]
[Four minutes and fifty three seconds later, the Seven Year enters stage left, hauling ass and sweating in his down vest, which is much too warm for a South Carolina October. He's clutching a pink flip flop, a wooden bridge piece from the Thomas the Tank Engine train set, and a Boston Red Sox cap.]
Father: Great job! You defused the bomb. And with just seven seconds left!
Seven Year Old: Give me another mission!
Father: Okay [thinks a minute]. This time, the bomb is set for SEVEN minutes. And to defuse it you need to find five things that start with the letter 'Q". Ready . . . go!
[Seven year old exits stage left again, still hauling ass.]
Father: Parenthood is easy.
Scene 2: An upstairs family room in a house in suburban Mt. Pleasant, SC. A mother is sitting on the couch, trying to watch her favorite TV show while her two year old crawls all over her, demanding attention. She turns on the closed captioning so she can follow the dialog over the toddler's screeching.
[Enter Seven year old, hauling ass.]
Seven Year Old: MOMMY! I NEED A PINK SHOE! RIGHT NOW!
Mother: What? What are you talking about?
Seven Year Old: A PINK SHOE! A PINK SHOE! A PINK SHOE! RIGHT NOW! PLEEEASSE! IT'S URGENT!
Mother: I'm trying to watch my show! WHAT do you need a PINK shoe for?
Seven Year Old: A MISSION! I NEED A PINK SHOE!
Mother: No, you don't, I'm . . . fine, whatever. There's a pink shoe in my closet. Just leave me alone!
[Seven Year Old exits stage right, hauling ass. Fifteen seconds later's he's back.]
Seven Year Old: MOMMY MOMMMY MOMMY I NEED A BRIDGE RIGHTNOWRIGHTNOWRIGHTNOW!
Mother: I'm TRYING to watch my show! WHAT do you need?
Seven Year Old: A BRIDGE! A BRIDGE! A BRIDGE! RIGHT NOW! I HAVE THIRTY SECONDS LEFT!
Mother: Oh MY GOD!
Scene 3: A bedroom in a house in suburban Mt. Pleasant, SC.
Father: Man, aren't the weekends great!
Mother: [feigns sleep]
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