Don’t Play With Your Food


I already knew it, but I will say it again: taking care of a young child is hard work. I learned that first hand the past couple days while taking care of my daughter while my wife was sick. I have never felt such anticipation for Sesame Street as I did yesterday (well, maybe when I was 2 years old, but that was a while ago). It’s not like I turned on the television and just ran out of the room, but at least with Elmo on, I was able to sit on the couch without being the main entertainment for my daughter.

Still, we had a great time together, my daughter (21 months) and I. We played with blocks, played with Legos, and read Bob the Builder several times (“Can you fix it? Yes I can!”). We talked a bit about how Mommy is sick, but Daddy feels better. She seemed to get the concept, although as soon as Mommy came down stairs she would run over, if only to twirl my wife’s hair (her favorite past-time).

The cutest, though, was dinner last night.  My daughter has been showing off her imagination lately, and that includes her food.  As my wife ate, my daughter was lining up pieces of cooked ham, reenacting conversations we have had with her recently.  One piece of ham said, “I’m a little boy” and the other, obvious Mommy or Daddy ham said, “No, you’re a little girl” in a lower voice.  Then, the first ham said “OK”.  This is one of the talks we had with our daughter a month or so ago.  So funny!

Unrelated to all of this, my wife stumbled across one of my stories yesterday from one of the Clarity of Night contests, a story that I  forgot I had written.  This one has an “eerier”  feel than most of my other  stories.  I thought you might enjoy it.  It could use some cleanup, but what are you gonna do.

“Do Not Touch”

“Do not touch” were the words Mark and Elizabeth heard repeatedly regarding the painting that now hung illuminated in the hallway between their bedrooms. Much to Mark’s chagrin, the artwork had accompanied them to their new house. Though Mark took great care to hide it in the back yard while they packed, his parents had somehow found the painting. Something about the picture made Mark feel uneasy, as though its composition was more than mere canvas and paint. One night in their previous house Mark was on his way to get a glass of water and was sure he heard a girl laugh inside the painting. He now runs past the painting, not willing to chance even a glance at it.

It was Elizabeth who made sure the painting hung in their new house, fishing it out of the bushes out back before they moved.

To a six year old like Elizabeth, “Do not touch” meant “Touch, but make sure Mom and Dad don’t see you.” The sight of Elizabeth mere inches from the painting, softly clutching Winnie the Pooh’s worn hand, startled Mark.

“Elizabeth, you know we’re not supposed to touch that,” Mark whispered forcefully as he approached his sister.

“It’s ok,” answered Elizabeth. “I touched it before.”

Mark ran toward his sister, hoping to stop her from touching the painting. Unfortunately, he was too late. All that remained of his sister was a lonely teddy bear and a giggle from inside the painting.


12 thoughts on “Don’t Play With Your Food

  1. Oh, I LOVE stories like this!!

    The only thing was that at first it was not quite clear just exactly how old Mark was. I mean it does not come accross that he’s still a young boy. The reference to ‘his parents’ might mean ‘grandparents’ as well, if Mark was a husban, you know.
    But besides this little unclear thing, it is an absolutely loveable piece.

  2. Fun story! I’d like to see the painting a bit more as well as the setting. I’m a visualist:-)

    Ah, the days of Bob the Builder! My son, now nine, won’t let me get rid of his B the B stuff, though he doesn’t look at he videos or books any longer….

  3. Thanks writinggb. There is much I would like to change about the story. I’m glad you liked it though. If you click on the link in the post, you can see a picture of the painting (although maybe you did and just want to see more).

    I’m not minding Bob the Builder too much. We have a Christmas video given to us by my wife’s father that features Elton John, which is pretty cool.

  4. I flatter only if I have anything to praise about.
    (But if I’m silent, that does not necessarily mean I don’t like it.
    Perhaps I did not have time to read it.)

  5. That was a brilliant story – I loved it! I can just imagine that painting, it’s a wonder it didn’t burp!

    I hope you’re gearing yourself up for the Terrible Twos when nothing is safe or sacred – then the last few months will seem like a doddle! 😉

  6. Great story, Paul! Like Szelsofa, I was a bit confused at first about their age; in fact my first image was that they were husband and wife…
    A very interesting idea, very much to my liking! Will Mark follow her into the painting, I wonder?

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