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The Green Thing

The Green Thing

“Are you sure you don’t mind watching the kids?” I asked a bleary-eyed Hubs last night after dinner.

“You have to go write,” he answered dully. “This is the only night this week we can do this. Go.” He waved his hand weakly in the air. “Go.”

I ran upstairs, brushed my hair, and put on some lip-gloss. When I came back down to the kitchen, Bruiser was rooting through our food pantry … the food pantry that was supposed to be off-limits to one-year-olds, particularly one-year-olds who put every single stinking thing they find on the ground into their mouths.

“Bruiser!” I said sharply from the other side of the kitchen gate. “Get out of there!” He looked at me and grinned a bright green grin. “What the hell?!” I said. “Hubs? What has he been eating?!”

“Huh?” he asked. I climbed over the gate and grabbed Bruiser, quickly running a well-practiced finger through his mouth. Along with his lips, his tongue and teeth were also bright green. And his mouth was empty.

“He’s eaten it!” I said. “Whatever it is, he’s eaten it. I can’t believe this!” I muttered, standing. “I leave him with you for one minute … ”

“Look, I’ve been watching him,” Hubs said. “Whatever he ate, it happened while we were all in here eating dinner.”

“Oh no,” I laughed incredulously. “Uh uh. Because I was watching him while we ate dinner and I would have noticed if he’d put something in his mouth.” I sniffed Bruiser’s face. “Well, it doesn’t smell like Pine-Sol,” I announced. “So I guess we can rule that out.” Hubs and I shuffled around our kitchen and hunted through the pantry, looking for stray green … things. I held up a plastic tree left over from Punky’s birthday cake.

“These!” I said. “The dye comes right off them when they get wet!”


“Oh come on,” Hubs said. “He didn’t eat a plastic tree.”

“Well, they do all appear to still be here,” I said dubiously after inspecting a small pile of plastic trees on the kitchen counter.

“It was probably an M&M.”

“Maybe,” I said. “Or maybe it was that green cough syrup we have. Wal-Tussin!” I was starting to get shrill.

“That’s upstairs,” Hubs said. “That’s not even down here.”

“I’m just saying.”

“It may have been one of those candy coated sunflower seeds,” Hubs offered.

“Or it may have been one of those leaves on our peace plant,” I shrieked. “That thing’s toxic, you know! I read about it!”

“And that’s why he’s never been in the sunroom,” Hubs replied. “He’s going to be fine, okay? Will you go?”

“Check the prescription medication!” I squealed. “Doesn’t one of these things have green pills?” I said, rummaging through a few bottles we had on the kitchen counter. No green pills here. I thought for a minute.

“Soylent green … ” I muttered. “It’s people, you know.” I shot Hubs an angry glare. “People!”

“He did not. Eat. Soylent. Green.” Hubs sighed. “He’s going to be fine, okay? Go write.”

And that’s what I did, with many a backward glance at Bruiser as I left. He did seem to be okay, stumbling merrily across the kitchen with a plastic water bottle in one hand and Hubs’s cell phone in the other. But I couldn’t stop thinking about my poor, green-faced baby as I sat at Starbucks. How was I supposed to write when my son was sitting at home with a mystery item in his digestive tract? What could I possibly, possibly write about?

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