A Fan Letter To My Son, Who Ate His Own Toenail.
Remember that scene in the movie Parenthood, when Steve Martin’s youngest, Justin, runs around the house with a bowl on his head, happy as a clam, dumb as a rock? It’s every parent’s biggest fear. No one wants to have given birth to the kid with the bowl on his head. So I’ll admit, as you’ve developed through various milestones into your own little guy, I’ve kept my eye on you, looking for signs that you just might be missing a link. We’ve kept you far from bowls, hoping to keep you on the right path, without a bowl on your head or an online university in your future.
Truth be told, your Dad and I have thought you were special from birth. We’ve known, by the genius with which you throw a temper tantrum or the focus with which you repeat the word, “Penis” forty to fifty thousand times, that you’ve got greatness in you. Maybe you’ll be a great athlete, an inventor of something, a great President, or…a toe nail swallower, the mother-lode of the parent-pride lottery.
You see the other night, when you were sleeping in your bed, and you awoke screaming, “I have a nail in my throat” I had no idea that you were in that moment, being literal. You really had a nail in your throat. A toe nail, which up until moments before, had been attached to you.
Ever the raconteur, you then when on to (hysterically) recount the tale of what had occurred. With the precision of a stealth bomber, you (how, I still have yet to figure out) bit a part of (in your sleep or were you meditating?) your own big toe nail, with your very own mouth. You then swallowed it so that it would potentially puncture your very own stomach lining, there by potentially ending your very own life. As you told the story, which I deciphered through your snot-cry, it became clear to me that you are not any 4-year-old boy, you are the new definition of genius. Any kid can say, “Mommy, my nails are too long, can you please cut them,” only a prodigy would contort himself, to self mutilate his own body and have it for dinner.
You are to toe nail biters what Bobby Fisher was to chess, what Steve Jobs was to technology, what the Dalia Lama is to world peace and what George Clooney is to awesomeness. You are the toe nail biter’s toe nail biter. No one can do it better. Because no one else would do it at all.
If you worried that you’d grow up to have that Mom who can’t stop bragging about you, you have ensured that won’t be the case. We’ll keep this one between you and me. Or until you turn into a cocky teenager, at which time, I’ll kindly remember to bring it up. In front of a lot of people. One of whom you hope to take to prom. Or to Lake Havasu. Or the movies. But otherwise, your secret’s safe with me.
One Proud Mother