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Betsy Block

Stories without recipes

The Reprieve

Scene: the living room, Saturday evening, 7:45 p.m.

I announce that everyone needs to be upstairs in five minutes, not including parents.

Zack asks petulantly, "Why so early? We go to bed later than this on school nights."

Andy: "Because Mom and I need time together. You don't have to go to sleep. We just want you upstairs."

Me, saying as I nod vigorously, "You don't have turn the light out until midnight if you don't want."

Thinking: Just. Go. Upstairs.

Zack: "Why, what are you doing, writing a will or something?"

Me, thinking fast about what will sound boring enough to convince Zack to leave the room: "Yeah, we're writing our will."

Zack: "No you're not. Don't lie."

Me, not minding lying at all, but not wanting Zack to catch me at it: "You're right, we're not writing our will tonight."

Andy: "But you said writing a will or something. This is or something."

Zack, knowingly: "Don't worry, I watch enough TV to know what you're really doing."

Andy and I look at each other from across the living room. Uh-oh, here we go. Clearly we haven't been attentive enough to what the kids are watching, and Zack turns 12 in just a couple weeks. It's time to have a talk –

Zack, oblivious to our growing panic, goes on,  "You probably are writing a will."

He turns to us with a grin. "I get the drum set."

Coming in July 2008 from Algonquin Books:
The Dinner Diaries: Raising Whole Wheat Kids in a White Bread World

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