Thursday, December 13, 2012

Chez McDonald's

In the latest round of work vs. motherhood, work kicked motherhood's ass.  Both my kids have field trips this week, and I can't go on either of them. Boo.

Why? Why would I want to surround myself with dozens of children instead of just the three I've got?

Because I am trying to work through my own childhood issues, obviously. My parents chaperoned exactly zero of my childhood field trips. None. And I went on at least a two dozen of them.

I"m okay with it now. Perspective has been gained. See, when I was a kid, I thought they had a masochistic work ethic, and that's why they didn't go on field trips with me or my siblings. Now I realize its because, well, hey, you don't work, you don't get paid.  You don't get paid, one of your kids might go hungry.

In the face of that kind of consequence, I'd make the same choice.

But I am lucky to have a job that is usually flexible enough to let me go on these jaunts with the kids.  I've been to the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Baltimore Zoo, and Clark's Elioak Farm.  This week, though, I just couldn't do it.  Big meetings prevailed. Not only that, but I had an office Christmas party yesterday night, which meant I was effectively ditching the kids twice in one day.

My son was okay with this. The girl? Not so much. To make my guilty conscience shut up, I offered to take them out to breakfast as a pre-field trip treat. They were allowed to choose the restaurant. Gourmands that they are, they chose McDonald's.

While they dined on pancakes and I enjoyed some oatmeal, we got to chatting about other breakfast foods they love as much as pancakes. The verdict? Doughnuts. From there, we somehow arrived at them saying they would like to have doughnuts in France. I don't know why they picked France. They've never been to France. They've barely been west of the Mississippi.

"If you wanted to order a doughnut in France," I said, spooning up my breakfast, "You'd say, 'Puis-j'avais un beignet?'"

"Puis-j'avais un... boo-day," my daughter pseudo-repeated.

"No," I snickered. "Do not go to France to order a doughnut and say that. It sounds too much like 'bidet.' That is a very, very different thing. A bidet is a toilet that shoots water at your bottom to clean it off."

"What?" my son join the conversation. Heretofore, he'd mostly been interested in silently dipping his pancakes into a bucket of syrup. His eyebrows were raised so high I couldn't see them under his mop of bangs.

"A beignet," I over-enunciated, "is a doughnut. A bidet shoots water at your bottom."

My daughter collapsed into a fit of giggles.

"BIDET!" she yelled, like she'd learned a new curse word.

Then my son collapsed into a fit of giggles.

"Why would anyone want that?" he asked.

"Take that, tiny toilet!" My daughter was quoting 'Despicable Me.' Which, really, has nothing at all to do with bidets.  I think it was the only toilet-related pop culture quote in her mental filing cabinet, so she went for it.

After a minute they'd collected themselves enough to finish their breakfasts. I cleared our trays while they bundled back up into their winter coats. We tumbled out of the restaurant and into the brisk morning air, giggling about doughnuts and toilets. I dropped them off at school, full, happy, and loved.

And that's where this blog post would have ended, if I hadn't repeated the morning chatter to my husband after I got home from the office dinner.

"Suddenly," he said, "our dinner conversation makes a lot more sense."

"What did you talk about?" I asked, stretching out on the sofa.

"Out of nowhere, the kids said they wanted a bidet for Christmas."

"Well," I said, "at least we know that they own the word."

Score for learning new vocabulary, I guess!

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