I’m squished into a tiny bathroom stall at our health club with my two precocious daughters when the older one spots something irresistible.
“Mom, can I have it, please?” five-year-old Sophie begs, pulling the beautiful-to-her, faintly aromatic piece of waxy artwork from its wall-mounted sleeve and making a delightful discovery in the process. “There are lots of them! Sash, you want one?” she offers kindly, handing a duplicate to her three-year-old sister. “They’re bags! We can put all of our makeup and lip gloss and stuff in ’em!” It is at this point she discovers that the rose motif is a multi-sensory experience.
“Sasha! Smell it!” she screams with glee. “It smells like perfume!”
“Can we have them mommy, can we? Can we? Please?” they plead in unison.
“Sure, okay,” I mutter, stuffing them into my gym bag. Well they are complimentary. “I’ll give them to you when we get in the car,” I add, not about to broadcast my children’s obvious fascination with feminine hygiene paraphernalia.
“But mom!” Sophie says suddenly. “What if someone has to puke?” This from the kid who’s stolen every air-sickness bag from every seat pocket in her vicinity on every flight she’s ever been on, with nary a second thought for any subsequently queasy passengers.
“They can puke in the toilet,” I tell her, shuffling them out of the stall. (Of course I don’t explain what it really is. The kid’s five. She’s got enough to worry about.)
“I’m going to make mine into a puppet,” Sasha announces in the car.
“I’m going to bring mine to school for show-and-tell!” Sophie one-ups her.
Note to self: Stop overspending on birthdays and holidays. Who needs a Wii when you’ve got a barf bag filled with Sweet & Low packets, a handful of straws and a half dozen sporks? Maybe we’ll get to take that vacation next year after all.