Jun 15, 2017 - By Clair McFarlandI keep wanting to write something adorable.
In fact, I have no shortage of adorable things about which to write. For example, today marked the boys' first sampling of a few unique types of seafood, including squid, octopus and mussel. I had found the "seafood medley" on sale at the store, and I cooked it for their lunch today, as an adventure.
I laid the platter out, hot and buttery and full of tiny deceased mermaid companions. Or at least, that's what the boys claimed they were - which lent the whole meal a spice of tragic drama.
After being told what animal each bit of meat had come from, my five-year-old popped an octopus tentacle into his mouth, chewed it once, and shrieked "AACK! It STUNG me!"
Yes, food is the road to many adventures when you're in a house-full of boys.
All four of my little boys are in what seems an endless growth spurt, and so they ask for food all day long. But that part's not adorable at all; it's kind of maddening.
They saunter into my kitchen when I'm elbow-deep in ground beef and breadcrumbs, and I'm fighting the urge to gobble up some of the raw meat like my inner, hereditary voice always tells me to - and they say "Mom, what can we eat?"
"Offer them some raw meat!" says the voice.
"No, you can't do that, are you insane?" is my reply.
"Why not? Your aunt used to race through the kitchen and steal some, every time your mom made meatloaf!"
"But these boys don't have to be compulsive eaters. They might have self-control," I answer, smugly.
"What's self-control? Mmmm that raw meat-and-egg-glop looks delicious!"
During this inner monologue, the boys open the fridge three or four times and scour the pantry, only to return to the woman who, for some reason, is kneading something that looks like it might one day turn into food. And then comes the audacious: "come on, Mom, make us a snack!"
A snack. I'm up to my elbows in "snack"!
But they can't see that, so they persist with their begging, and I persist with my kneading - and the whole thing is the most un-adorable scene Norman Rockwell never painted.
"You can NOT have a snack" I say, out loud. "I am fixing your dinner during this exact moment!"
And they sulk off, in the group simper that characterizes a gang of disappointed boy-tummies.
But here's where things get interesting, because these boys like to walk that fine line between obedience and disobedience that we adults call "resourcefulness."
Ah, yes, they are resourceful.
The oldest boy, feeling slighted, proclaims that they are all being starved and that they must act. He also feels a weight of responsibility toward the others, since he's the only one who can read survival manuals and revolutionary propaganda - and he knows that he must lead his brothers into a better state of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness! Er, something.
So he busts out his survival literature and turns to the pages on foraging for food.
It is awe-inspiring, the wealth of food within nature. There are roots, leaves, flowers, stems and needles to eat all around you - so long as you have a little education and discernment about them.
I'm no boy scout myself, but because of my oldest son's passion for nature, and wilderness, and, of course, food, we've spent much of this June learning how not to poison ourselves.
So far, we have not poisoned ourselves.
With the boys out of my kitchen at last, I mix up the meatloaf, pop it into the oven, and wash my hands of it without eating it. Another glorious success in the name of self-control!
But then I hear something. What is it?
It's mirth and activity in the back yard. But I thought they were too hungry to survive? How did this bustling come about?
There can only be one reason: food.
I go out back to find that the boys have stolen all of my Tupperware and some of my spoons, and that they have foraged my yard to smithereens.
"Look, Mom! We made dandelion salad! And spruce-needle tea!" (The hose-end still drips, incriminatingly, into the spruce-needle tea it helped create.) "And we tried to cook thistle and chives with a magnifying glass, and here, this is dessert!" With that, they hand me a handful of columbine petals and mint.
So I guess they have no self-control after all.
But, like everything else at this house, the columbine flowers and the herb garden and the spruce tree might as well work together to feed those boys and to brighten their eyes.
It's the most adorable thing they did today.
Get your copy of The Ranger online, every day! If you are a current print subscriber and want to also access dailyranger.com online (there is nothing more to purchase) including being able to download The Mining and Energy Edition, click here. Looking to start a new online subscription to dailyranger.com (even if it is for just one day)? Access our secure SSL encrypted server and start your subscription now by clicking here.