I don’t know if scientists have isolated the Norman Rockwell chemical that is released in the brain when one has a child but it is responsible for the parental romanticizing of family outings. Even a mundane trip to the market is an idyllic painting with Baby Boy skipping through piles of fresh produce as I gently select the ripest specimens for the pie all of us will create from scratch that eve.
However, that snapshot excludes toppling displays of paper towels, flour all over the floor and The Dog scarfing down all of the ingredients as I scream for the billionth time,
“Oven! Hot! Danger! Sssssssssszzzzzzz” (that is what I imagine replicates the sizzling sound of flesh touching the broiler.)
We purchased tickets to 101 Dalmatians the Musical in Boston for the day after Christmas. The selling point was that they had rescued shelter dogs and trained them to be in the show. Real dogs! Sure, Baby Boy is only 19-months old, but we were certain that his obsession with canines would have him riveted, thus quiet and still.
We imagined our family trip to Boston: all dressed up to go to the ever-stunning Wang Theatre; taking in the show (culture!); surprising Baby Boy with a stop at FAO Schwarz; then a scrumptious dinner and back home.
In the weeks leading up, we told Baby Boy of the play we were taking him to where real, live pups would be jumping and dancing just for him. His eyes would get huge and happy and he would let out a breathless, “Hoof, hoof,” which is what he thinks dogs say.
All the road stops at Starbucks must have affected him because once in our seats he continuously rolled from my lap to Darling Husband’s never failing to kick the heads of the patrons in front of us.
“Honey, just sit and wait. The real doggies will be coming out any minute!”
Roll, kick, roll, kick. Never has my son received so many over-the-shoulder dirty looks.
Darling Husband finally took him to run in the lobby as I sat there more horrified at the talk of drowning the puppies (because Dalmatian puppies don’t have spots) and wanting to skin them for coats. Am I just oversensitive in my vegetarian days or is this just macabre?
By intermission no real dogs had made an appearance and none of the ushers could tell us when they would be on stage. One mentioned he “saw some real dogs in the alleyway across the street eating old Chinese food if that would make the kid happy.”
I guess his head kicking reputation had gotten out.
We left, tails between our legs.
Definitely a trip to the biggest toy store would make up for our lies of performing pooches.
“Oh, wait until you see this toy store, Buddy! There is a clock that sings to you and you can pick out any toy you want and then we will eat ice cream!”
His hands clapped in glee.
We walked up and down the wind tunnel that is Boylston ankle deep in frozen crust as the stroller angrily lurched on the uneven ice.
I finally ducked into City Sports to ask.
“Ah, dude that closed like three years ago,” a Team Player said.
“Like gone, gone?”
Baby Boy’s limit on broken promises is two. His howl signified this trip was over. We thawed out in Au Bon Pain. Baby Boy sat eating fruit as Darling Husband and I wallowed in our shame.
“He will never believe anything else we tell him,” I wailed as I scolded my tongue on mediocre coffee.
A very attractive older couple I had noticed earlier stopped by our table.
“We just wanted to tell you what a gorgeous son you have,” the silver haired lady smiled. “So happy and well-behaved!”
Baby Boy stroked her fur coat, his mouth stuffed with grapes.
“We don’t have kids of our own, but it is always nice to see families with good children.”
The man leaned in, “Do you like doggies, Captain?”
“Well, you should ask your parents to take you to see 101 Dalmatians, I hear there are real dogs!”
I guess parents aren’t the only ones cursed with the Norman Rockwell genes.