When you think about it, Otto’s got a pretty tough row to hoe when it comes to our family. Despite my efforts, sometimes I’m sure it just can’t help but feel like three against one. The kids and I were a unit for a long time before Otto joined us, and no matter how much they all love each other (“Awww, honey, if she’s being an insufferable brat to you that means she’s BONDED!”), the fact remains that sometimes I’m sure he still feels a little bit picked on.
Of course, this might just be because the kids and I are jerks, and not have anything to do with our blended family status. It’s hard to know, really.
This is a necessary preface so that you understand what happened last night at dinner. Actually, I guess there’s one more piece I have to explain.
I? Have some junk in the trunk. My hips don’t lie, but they do try to expand at every possible opportunity. After a young adulthood spent being a lovely hourglass shape, I am now on the middle-aged slide into peardom.
My genetics = ample assitude, is my point.
While we are not going to discuss my children’s hindquarters in detail—because that is too weird even for me—suffice it to say that all rumps related to mine are present and accounted for.
Otto, on the other hand… shall we say… lacks padding. If he doesn’t wear a belt, his pants fall off. And let’s just say that those of us who have NEVER HAD THAT PROBLEM find this an endless source of amusement. It’s possible that any discussion that ever even-so-remotely touches (ha!) on backsides tends to result in snickering children offering to save their allowance to buy Otto a prosthetic butt.
They’re all heart, my kids.
Anyway. Last night at dinner, it was Monkey’s turn to say grace. Otto had grilled, and Chickadee had cut up veggies, and a perfect end-of-summer meal lay spread across the table, waiting for us.
“Dear God, thank you for my family and my friends and the dog and hotdogs and hamburgers and peppers. Amen!” We all echoed “amen” and fell to putting food on our plates.
“AND BUTTOCKS!” Monkey burst out, unexpectedly. Otto and I both turned to him and made the universal “what the hell?” gesture (that would be: puzzled expression, arms bent at the elbow, palms facing upward as if to receive whatever explanation could possibly be offered) at him. Monkey giggled and Chickadee immediately put her head down to hide her face.
“Dude,” I said, finally, “this is a new record. We JUST STARTED dinner. We do not discuss buttocks at the dinner table.” He continued giggling, but nodded.
“Sorry, Mom,” he managed.
To my right, there was a strangled sort of snorting. Chickadee had raised her head but was now sort of holding her hands to the right side of her face, effectively shielding her expression (and mouth) from Otto’s view. “Maybe…” she started, then dissolved into giggling again. “Maybe,” she restarted, “he’s just very GRATEFUL for his buttocks. Not everyone HAS buttocks.”
This, of course, was enough to set Monkey off again, and he sprawled backwards in his chair, wracked with laughter. Chickadee left her right hand up, shielding her face from Otto—who was alternately glaring at her and giving me the “are you going to do something about this?” look—and used her left hand to bring her glass of milk up to stifle her giggles with a swig.
“OTTO HAS NO BUTT!” Monkey crowed, before collapsing back again, while Chickadee held her glass steady against her lips, trying so hard not to laugh. Otto’s pointed stare grew even more pointed, while I sat across from him, head inclined partially downward, trying not to meet his gaze, needing every ounce of willpower not to join in the laughter.
“That’s not nice, Monkey,” chided Chickadee, playing the moral superiority card, which was impressive considering that she’d basically instigated this entire exchange.
Otto continued waiting for me to handle this mayhem. Finally I had to step up.
“That’s true, Monkey,” I finally managed, hitting just the right note of consternation. “It’s really not nice to mock the assless.”
At this I could hold in the laughter no longer, and as Chickadee choked on her milk and Monkey roared (I’d not only joined in, I’d SAID A BAD WORD!), Otto gave ME the “what the hell” gesture while exclaiming “WIFE!”
“I love you,” I gasped, trying to compose myself. This was met with fresh guffaws by the children, and a head shake by Otto.
“Whatever,” he finally said.
“Aww, it’s okay, Otto,” Monkey said, patting his arm. “We love you even though you don’t have buttocks.”
“STOP TALKING,” said Otto. “I AM TRYING TO EAT MY DINNER.”
Some say he was a saint to sign up for two kids, but the truth is that he was a saint to sign up for ME. The kids are really the least of his problems. I mean, when it was just me and the kids, I had to be the adult all the time. But now I have Otto, so… Honey? Sweetie? Where are you going?? I LOVE YOU!