Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Dead Skunk

Since C was out with Ken on Sunday afternoon, it seemed like a good time to boil up the dead mussels and quahog that he'd had sitting in a bucket of fresh water, along with the claw from a blue crab and a headless plastic action figure, outside our front door for a week.
Boil them up you say, why would I boil up dead shellfish? To fool my son into thinking the spaghetti and clam sauce we had for dinner that night was made from his catch - of course. Even if he did "catch" them lying in the dirt road on the way to Black Beach after last week's storm. That means they were probably dead before they sat outside our house in a bucket for seven days. Good thing. I wouldn't want to have any mollusk blood on my hands.
It would not have been enough just to tell C that the clams we were eating were his. Like Doubting Thomas he would have to see the empty shells in order to believe. I went as far as opening the canned clams, dumping them in a plastic container and putting them in the fridge, and then disposing of the cans in the recycle bin. I almost strategically placed the blender on the counter but then decided I didn't have to go that far.
C was still upset. He wanted to know if I'd used all his clams and mussels because said he had some other recipe to make with them. Then he vowed to go out and get more clams right away.
What struck me, aside from the fact that you can't win with preschoolers, was the lengths parents go through to lie to their children.
Before I had kids I remember a coworker admitting he told his children that their behavior-challenged dog went to "camp" instead of telling them the dog had been sent back to the pound. Another coworker said he told his daughter that roadkill animals were "just sleeping," instead of admitting they were dead. Some parents might see this as a "teachable moment;" one in which you warn your kids about the dangers of not watching for cars. I thought as much at the time, but here I am five years later unable to tell my kid his clams are dead, never mind the squirrel in the street.

song: Dead Skunk • artist: Loudon Wainwright

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