The wind was biting. I was wearing no jacket, just a long-sleeved shirt. The kids weren't dressed for the weather either, but there we were, trapped by an obligation to attend the first baseball practice of the season.
My fingers curled through the chain link fence as I watched Julius throw the ball to his pitching-and-catching partner. The Toddler ran past me chasing a little girl in a pink coat with big fake fur trim on the hood.
An hour and a half later my mom was on the phone telling me I needed to get the kids out of the weather or we would all die. Thank goodness practice only lasted one and a half hours instead of the proposed two, because, well... you know. Who wants to die?
As an inducement to get the kids into the car in a reasonable amount of time I did the only thing a mother could do. I bribed them with McDonald's. As I was strapping The Toddler into his car seat I asked him what he wanted for dinner.
"Tea," was his response.
"Okay, but do you want a cheeseburger or chicken?"
"You have to eat something. Do you want chicken?"
"Do you want a cheeseburger?"
"Okay, listen... you can have tea. What do you want with your tea?"
I sighed. Let's try this another way. "Tea is a drink. You also have to eat. What would you like to eat?"
"Chicken or cheeseburger."
"Yes, you can have tea. You want tea?"
At this point I begin talking to him like he's hard of hearing, slowly and loudly. "With your TEA, you must have either CHICKEN or CHEESEBURGER. Which do you want?"
"Well, okay then."
I got into the driver's seat and started backing up. Julius puts his feet up on the dash and looked over at me. "Mom, ask me what I want for dinner."
"I know what you want."
"C'mon, just ask me."
"What do you want for dinner, Jules?"
"Tea," he says and then throws back his head and laughs hysterically.