CONTRASTING BOYS & GIRLS a retrospective

a retrospective
From 2020,
so he says, “except it’s made out of cardboard.” Adding, “Look, I put-ted a liner in it. Mommy says I can use it in the bathroom.”
He wanted to use it in his room. Mom asked me to help her. His compromise suggestion was we could attach straws taped together and run those down into the toilet. She wasn’t convinced and sought authority.
“Howie what I like about this idea is your imagination and how you are inventing plumbing. Not a chance you can use that in your room because you share a room with your sister and she’s not OK with it. And, we already have a toilet. How about using it out where there is no toilet, like in the fort we just built?”
“GREAT IDEA DAD,” he says enthusiastically (capital letters are inadequate here), can I go now???
“Sure thing bud, it’s almost dark but you have just enough time,” I answer, catching the look from missus, the one that says, “see, this is why I keep you around.”
I take his picture, for her, for later. She rescues the extra large roll and substitutes a small one. I ask if rain is in the forecast. She says no.
Introverts are like that, always an eye on the future. I haven’t checked a weather app in months though I have two on my phone.
In seconds he’s enlisted his sister to help him carry his “invention” and open door handles while rubber boots slide on and suddenly, it is quiet in our kitchen.
Missus and I know these are the moments. The moments. We look at each other, our smiles like the clinking glasses of toasts and cheers.
It is this we wanted, never suspecting it could be this good. Not ideal, but perfectly imperfect. Like a portable toilet made of cardboard and plastic and scotch tape.
Charlie comes back in first. “He used it and then dumped it out,” she reports, adding, “I didnt like that.” Oh, we know sweet Charlotte, “you are a good sister,” we tell her.
Moments later, he’s back, triumphant as the inventor of a portable toilet should be. “It worked?” I ask. “Yup,” he answers.
Then he’s at my side, showing me how he will use discarded cardboard rolls from toilet paper and Scott Towels to attach plumbing to his contraption to eliminate the “dumping” step in his elimination protocol. We discuss the merits of using the two seater outhouse already in existence a mere ten paces from his tree fort. “But dad, I’m scared in there,” he interjects, discounting the suggestion entirely.
I send him to the window. It’s even darker now but the outline of the forest is there. “How many trees do you see? Count them.”
He counts, I think he’s ball parking because he says one hundred. I accept his answer. Someone used this on me decades ago and at last, it is my chance.
“One hundred? Well that’s how many washrooms there are outside because each one you can use to piss up against. That’s what boys do.”
He hesitates. I may have him now. It’s at least a stalemate. He is going to sleep on it.
Good night little man. No TV tomorrow either.
From 2018,
On our way to see grandpa Howie, we plan to stop at Tim’s Horton’s so we can bring dad a small decaf and a Boston Crème. At age 89, rules are out the window.
Charlie: daddy, do you know everything?
Dad: Yes, daddy knows everything.
Charlie: do you know what I’m going to say?
Dad: does it have to do with hot chocolate and donuts?
Charlie: no.
Dad: I have limits.
Charlie: did you know that if your wife isn’t beautiful, you can change the way you see her so she IS beautiful?
Dad: …
Charlie: did you know that?
Dad: thank you for reminding me.
Charlie: your welcome.
Dad: how about we get you some Timbits and a hot chocolate too?
Charlie: OK. Can I come in with you?
Dad: absolutely.

There you go,
Team Human in development.
This is the day…

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