“Oh my goodness! What’s that smell?” I gasp, “It’s terrible! Manchild, did you spray your Fart Spray IN THE CAR?”
“Yep!” Giggled an overly proud Manchild. ” I sure did!”
“Ahhhhhggghhh!” Wailed Girlchild as she put her window down and attempted to hang her head out like a dog. This was a small car, there was nowhere for that scent to go!
Flash back to a few hours earlier. A wise woman told me that as much as we punish our kids for doing wrong, we need to praise and reward them for doing right. With that thought in mind, and Daddy out of town, I had both young’ens in the car for a highly anticipated trip to Five Below, a $5 or less store. While I give verbal praise freely, I rarely reward them with “stuff” as a result of good behavior. They had their dollars in their pockets and had finished their homework early. Chores were done, and there was an hour until bedtime. Excitement was in the air!
Heading out, we detoured first through the drop off area of a local second hand store to drop off a bag of curtains I no longer needed. None of the employees came out to the car to get them, so Manchild offered to jump out into the evening mist and deliver the goods. On his way back to the car, he paused. I watched him bend over, pick up an item, and deliver it to the donation bin. Upon returning to the car, he explained to his impatient mother that he had found a ball in the gutter. It was about to go into the storm drain and down to the Bay. Figuring that another child may enjoy using it, he picked it up and made sure it got where it was intended to go.
That is just so on brand for Manchild. At nearly 8yrs old, he is always the one to stop and pick up litter, deliver someone’s dropped trash to a trash can, or recycle bottles and cans in our own bins. He has an innate, thoughtful nature that only someone who allows distractions in life can have. I love it. And to show him my appreciation for his responsible, caring side, I informed him and his 10yr old sister (who just this week started the dishwasher without being asked- granted it had a dozen items in it, but I appreciate the effort) that they could pick out anything they wanted at Five Below and I would buy it for them as rewards for being such great kids. They rejoiced!
We arrived at the store and immediately split up to canvass the inventory. Actually, we arrived in the parking lot, exited the car, and Manchild promptly falls over a cement parking block. His sister lovingly darts to his side and helps up end him, just to drive home that Good Kid reward as absolutely necessary. In the store, everyone heads towards their favorite area. Manchild to toys, Girlchild to beauty products, and Myself to clearance. Because even though nothing in that store costs more than $5, I still want a better deal!
After half an hour, my arms are full of discount bath bombs, eye liner I won’t feel guilty over losing, clearance nail polish, and Valentines Day candy for my sweetheart. I grab the very same rolling basket I had scoffed at needing upon entering the store (I won’t get that much stuff), empty my arms, and set out to find my spawn.
I track down Manchild in the Matchbox car section, arms heavy with a variety of small cars he will NEVER play with after opening. He’s a Legos, Star Wars, Spiderman kid. I have yet to see him play with toy cars. I remind him of this tidbit of information, and he rapidly abandons the cars, grabbing a suction cup bow and arrow set instead. He then lifts up a small aerosol can about the size of his little hand. Like it was made for small boys about his size. I read the label. Fart Spray. I could not imagine anything more useless in my life. I impart this wisdom on to my son, and leave him in the aisle to finish his decision as I his sister. He had brought his own money and had not selected nearly enough items to spend every last penny. I remind him we are leaving in a few minutes and received a wealth of protests, as delicate decisions were not to be rushed.
Girlchild was found in the candy aisle, filling a bag with ten cent candy. Upon finishing, she begins the age old argument we have every time we visit this store. One can buy a very large, very plastic, barrel of cheese balls for a mere $5, and while her mother has never let her win this fight so far, Girlchild attempts again to receive permission to bring 35 ounces of nutrition-free calories home with us. While technically I had agreed to get them anything in the store, nutritionally there is nothing good about this decision. I am picturing the face of her bean eating pediatrician as we speak. I can not allow my 10 year old to assume ownership of a border collie sized vat of cheese balls. But I don’t want to go back on my word, either. I point out the fact that her father is like a moth to a flame with said cheese balls, and is going to want to eat them with her. As I walk away I hear her mutter under he breath “He can want to all he wants”. *sassypants*
Back to Manchild, who has made no progress in his painful decision making, I inform him of our pending departure. Protests arise, minutes are counted, and I vacate the aisle with him trailing behind. We scoop up Girlchild, who had settled on Boom Chicka Pop popcorn instead, to my relief (because any snack that starts out by being made in someone’s garage in Mankato, Minnesota HAS to be wholesome, right?). Sidling up to the first self-checkout scanner, I proceed to get us out of Dodge. Right up to the point where Manchild hands me a can of Fart Spray and his money. I was trapped, I was distracted, I scanned that sucker and handed it back to him without a second though. Naturally, he would use it wisely in well chosen, ventilated locations with an age appropriate audience, right?
Now we are back to where this story began, halfway home and dying of olfactory abuse. It was bad. Not gonna try to describe the orifices it triggered as memories, but to Manchild, it was glorious power! Seeing as how Captain Schenanigans just so happened to be the owner of this vehicle, and he was out of town again, we made a quick conference call to loop daddy into our current situation. I don’t suffer alone well.
Captain, hearing screams once again upon answering, immediately thought we were in another round of angst and calling for his objective spirit to help settle sibling rivalry. Once he realized I wasn’t calling because of a family feud, but to inform him his car has been inoculated with an aroma of which there is no description, he laughed long and hard. He clearly wasn’t here.
The next day, Manchild was granted permission to use Fart Spray in his room, alone, when I was not required to be present at any time in the near future. He was happily content with the decision, though I kinda felt for Sally-the-mouse who was trapped in her cage. She had no vote. Perhaps she slept through it all. One can only hope! #jealous