My eight year old "typical" son gives me a hard time about not liking the taste of the new toothpaste. It's grape, which is the only flavor he generally tolerates. I'd never dream of getting something as heinous as "mint" for him. Or berry. There'd be hell to pay.
I'm tired and I just want them to go to bed already.
"Seth, you dislike it, and that's fine but you're being kind of a baby about this. It's grape. You like grape. And even if you don't like this one, it's not going to kill you."
My daughter Riley who has been busy brushing her own teeth cringes as if I'd smacked Seth. She has Asperger's and is very sensitive.
"Mom," she squeaks, "Don't you think you're being a little mean to Seth?"
What must it be like to have skin so very thin?
Just then, memories of my own childhood sail through my mind. And I think of all the children in the world who are truly suffering. And what little empathy I had for Seth's toothpaste plight flies out the window. I look her in the eye,
"No Riley. Actually I don't."
Turning my glance to Seth I say firmly,
"Deal with it."
They exchange glances, solidarity against Mommy Dearest.
And I marvel how tonight this is their biggest problem. What lucky, lucky kids.
Michelle O'Neil blogs about life at www.fullsoulahead.com. She just joined Twitter this week, and suddenly can't think of a thing to say. @FullSoulAhead.