My husband and I are having a disagreement; perhaps you can help us resolve it. Caveat emptor: it’s a little R-rated. At least according to one person I could mention. Who sleeps in the same bed as me. And whose mind is obviously in the gutter…
Yesterday, while MJ was laying low with a fever, she and I decided to take a break from our endless re-readings of Ranger Rick back issues to make something in the art studio. I generally suck at “crafting,” and I don’t much like doing it, but I was all talked out. Our daughter is the only child in America to actively eschew television, so on sick days I become a book-on-tape set to an endless loop. It’s kind of exhausting. Oh, for the relief “Blue’s Clues” could offer.
But art it would have to be. Until my voice came back, anyway. We headed for the studio. Otherwise known as the utility room.
“I want to make a mouse,” Myra-Jean said.
“A mouse?” I replied, sitting down on one of her perilously small orange chairs. “OK. How do we do that?”
MJ cocked her head at me–clearly the slowest kid in class. “Cut one out, and I’ll glue it to construction paper.”
“Oh. So you want me to make the mouse.”
“Just cut it out, Mommy,” she replied, sounding more thirteen than three. “I’ll do the rest.”
Fine. I took a crayon and a red piece of paper and sketched a mouse as best I could: head, Mickey-like ears, skinny neck (do mice even have necks?), simple body, arms, legs, and long tail. Then I cut carefully around the outline and presented my completed work to MJ.
“Thank you!” she said, pleased.
“You’re welcome!” I sang proudly. It really did look cute!
Myra-Jean proceeded to glue the mouse to a black piece of construction paper (why does there seem to be a surplus of this in every pack?) Next she covered it with gold sparkles. Then she handed the whole thing to me.
“I’m done,” she said, dismissively.
And she promptly forgot about it.
Cut to: later that night. MJ is asleep; Mike has come home. Our next door neighbors are also coming home–from the hospital! With their new baby! I realize we should have made them a card. Something cute–by MJ, maybe–to commemorate the moment.
“That would’ve been nice,” Mike agrees.
Suddenly my eyebrows spring up. “I’ve got it! I have the perfect thing!”
I run to MJ’s studio and retrieve the mouse from where it lays on her table. Bringing it into the kitchen, I wave it triumphantly in front of Mike.
He cocks an eyebrow. “What is that?”
“It’s a mouse–duh. MJ and I made it today. We can write “Welcome baby Zia’ on it! We’ll tape it to their front door! Then it can hang in the baby’s room!”
“But–” he peered at it. “It’s a mouse…with an erection.”
My hand dropped to my side. I jutted my chin at him. “A what?”
“Look at it.”
I brought the picture back up to my face. What the hell was he talking about? Sicko. It was just a mouse! With a head, Mickey ears, a skinny neck–
Then I saw the tail. Could that be what he meant? I turned the picture slightly. Oh, geez.
Mike laughed at my chagrined face. “Yeah.”
“But that’s supposed to be his tail!” I said weakly.
“No way,” said Mike. “He looks priapic. Like a fertility symbol. Like one of those ancient Greek–”
“I get it,” I snapped. “And I think you’re wrong.”
“Maybe I am.” Mike chuckled again, shrugging. “I dare you to give it to them.”
Making a pouting face, I looked once more at my work. Now that Mike had poisoned my mind, the little creature before me had changed completely. Where before he was simple, cute, and wholly unremarkable, now he looked sinister, fearsome, even predatory. His “tail,” once an innocent appendage, now loomed large, libidinous, and alarming.
I looked up at Mike, narrowing my eyes. “I hate you.”
“Hey, I’m not the one who made Macho Mouse, there.” Laughing gleefully, Mike walked off to his wood shop.
“I hope your drill bit breaks,” I muttered after him.
In the end I baked our friends an apple cobbler. As for a card, well, I dashed off a quick note. No rodents in sight.
The mouse, of course, stayed with us. Now that I know what Mike sees in it, though, I’m not sure how long that’ll be the case. I can’t have such stuff around Myra-Jean.
Or can I?
I leave it to you, dear readers. Tail? Or tool?