Vinnie sits at the breakfast bar staring at a bowl of oatmeal with banana slices, a cup of strawberry yogurt, and a piece of toast covered with peanut butter. He takes a spoonful of the oatmeal and spreads the oatmeal over his peanut butter toast. He carefully scoops one banana slice at a time and places them on his toast. One slice for each eye, and three slices for the mouth. Vinnie scoops out half of the yogurt and covers the peanut butter carefully avoiding the banana slices. He drops the yogurt container on the floor.
“Oops, Mom. I dropped the yogurt container on the floor. It’s okay, Dexter’s is already cleaning it up. Good dog.”
Dexter’s beagle nose is inside the yogurt container, his tongue wiping any trace of yogurt.
Vinnie is laughing.
“What’s so funny, Vinnie? No stalling, you are going to read your two paragraphs to me before you go to the bus stop. If you don’t, I will drive you to school and kiss you good bye in front of the school.”
“No, mom. That’s worse than dying. I promise I won’t stall. Look at Dexter, his nose is stuck inside the yogurt cup, he can’t get it off. Where’s your phone so I can take a photo. Joey will put it on instagram for me. How come I can’t have an instagram account and Joey can?”
“Take the yogurt cup off Dexter’s face. He looks terrible. How many times do I have to explain to you that you are too young to be on social media?”
“About twelve times, Mom. You only explained it seven times. LOL, Mom.”
Vinnie’s mom glances at Vinnie’s plate. “That’s disgusting.”
“It’s my new breakfast invention, Mom. Can I send the recipe in to Quaker Oats? Maybe they’ll put me on the box when I’m elected President of the 4th grade. It’s delicious this way, Mom. You should try it. You can eat faster because you mix all the stuff together.”
Vinnie jumps off the breakfast bar stool and takes the yogurt cup off Dexter’s nose. Dexter sits on his haunches and holds his paw out. Dexter thinks Vinnie is going to ask him to shake and reward him. Dexter wants to skip the first step. Vinnie says, “Good one, Dexter.”
Vinnie turns and breaks off a piece of his toast, “Here, Dexter, you can have Mrs. Mavis’s eye.”
Vinnie cuts up the remaining toast into seven pieces. “Watch me, Mom. I’m going to close my eyes and put the piece of my toast into my mouth without hitting my nose. Can you do it?”
Vinnie picks up a piece of his toast, he closes his eyes, and he swirls the toast through the air as if it is an airplane circling a major airport. “Perfect landing, Mom. Come on, try it.”
“No, Vincent. Hurry on. I’m going to get my phone, when I come back, I want your breakfast gone and I want to hear the first two paragraphs.”
“No problem, Mom,” says Vinnie picking up a second piece of the toast and repeating the circling airplane motion. “Perfect landing, Mom,” Vinnie hollers.
Vinnie takes his plate, he slides off the stool and kneels besides Dexter, “Hurry up, Dexter. You need to finish before Mom gets back.”
Dexter understands his role. He consumes the remaining five small squares in two swipes of his tongue. Vinnie climbs on the stool, puts the empty plate in front of him and opens his notebook. “I’m ready to read, Mom.”
Vinnie’s mom walks into the kitchen and stands opposite Vinnie. “I’m ready.”
Vinnie begins reading. “Many years ago kids were much smarter than adults.” He pauses, “How’s that, Mom for the first sentence?”
“Go on,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“Most of the adults were nice and let the kids run the country. There was one, very mean, and bad adult who didn’t like kids, her name was …”
“Vincent, stop. I told you not to say anything about Mrs. Mavis.”
“I didn’t, Mom.”
“What was this mean woman’s name?” asks Vinnie’s mom.
Vinnie looks down at his notebook and reads, “Her name was Mrs. Cave Us.”
“I got to go, Mom. I’ll miss the bus. Bye.”
Vinnie’ mom walks around the corner, gives Vinnie a hug and kiss on the top of head, “We’re going to talk about this tonight.”
Vinnie turns and glances at his mom. She’s holding onto her purse and her hair is in a ponytail. He says, “You going somewhere, Mom?”
W”I thought I might go to mass this morning.”