My son’s got a new strategy to defeat me. He’s trying to drive me insane. And it’s working.
“Sausagey pasta!” I announce. I drag him away from the TV and plonk a plate down in front of him. He pushes it away. “But… you love sausagey pasta.” I say, appalled. It’s nearly the only thing he’ll eat without a fight.
“I don’t like pasta!”
“Right. That’s it.” I sit him on my knee. “What’s daddy going to cook if you don’t eat pasta? You can’t live on sausages alone. Eat some pasta.”
“No!” He wails. “I want sausage.”
I get two pasta twists into him by bribing him with eight pieces of sausage. The pasta makes his face contort with horror and disgust as if it’s pieces of a beloved pet. As he eats his beloved sausage I try to converse with my wife, the only conversation we’ve had all day. I’m mentally exhausted by this constant, confusing fight. Maybe I should just give up? Can you live on sausages alone? Eskimos live on seals. They’re sort of like sausages.
“All right.” I say finally. “There’s one more piece of sausage. Do you want it?”
He shakes his head sullenly and leaves the table. As he goes I see something on the floor that for a moment my brain refuses to recognise. I go cold. Eight pieces of sausage are lying by my feet like dot dot dots at the end of a sentence…
A day later I’m still trying to get my head around the sausage incident. I gaze into the distance, frowning like a chimp trying to understand gravity waves. “Daddy!” My son shouts over the blaring telly.
“What, son?” I ask, blinking.
“I need the telly off!”
“I’m sorry,” I start wearily, “You can’t have the telly on. You’ve got mountains of toys. Play with something. I’ve no idea what’s at the bottom of that toy box. Why don’t you find out? And there’s a whole flippin’ library of books. Hang on… what?”
“I want to do this puzzle.” He says, holding up a dull, educational puzzle. “Telly off daddy.”
I stare at him, blinking, my brain hurting. “Er…what?”