Tristan, an energetic and willful newly-turned-three-year-old
Julius, a smart, befreckled seven-year-old who is only a foot shorter than his mother
Rob, the loving husband who is a great cook and fix-it guy, but accident prone
Wendy, the harried, but well-meaning mother
* * *
On the way to daycare:
T: It stinky in here.
W: Really? What does it smell like?
T: Skunk. Somebody hit it.
T: Why they do that?
Wendy explains in the most clinical and least-gross way possible about skunk roadkill.
T: Okay. Tell me story bout when my a baby skunk bited me.
W: You didn't get bit by a skunk when you were a baby.
T: TELL ME STORY BOUT SKUNK BITE ME!
W: Okay then. Once upon a time when you were a baby...
* * *
At school pick-up, Dad learns Julius got in trouble again for talking in class. Mom is on the cell phone.
R: So, tell me the news for today.
J: (downcast) I pulled a card again...
R: For talking?
R: Wasn't the teacher moving you?
J: She did move me.
R: And you STILL got in trouble for talking?
W: Tell him I'm going to have to put a clothespin on his tongue and he can wear that to school. Maybe it will help him remember about the talking when all he can say is, "Buh buh duh bub dub buh."
R: Mom says we're going to put a clothespin on your tongue.
J: What's a clothespin?
R: Honey, he doesn't know what a clothespin is.
W: Seriously? Man, I feel old.
R: It's like a chip clip, sort of. Only smaller.
J: Oh, I've put a chip clip on my tongue before.