My Kids Say the Darndest Things

Dispatches from a camping trip and its aftermath.

I woke up Sunday morning to the sound of heavy raindrops spattering on our tent. I had been up just a few hours before for repeated mad dashes to the campground bathroom with my 3-year-old son Seth, who had been throwing up. The day didn’t look to be getting any better.

I busied myself packing up our supplies as Seth — seemingly no worse for the last night’s wear — and 5-year-old Tom happily ran around in the rain and occasionally used their umbrellas. While I hauled another round of air mattresses and sleeping bags to the car, skin-soaked Tom paused mid-dash to ask what I was doing.

His face, beneath his nylon jacket hood that was soaked and plastered to his head, looked genuinely crestfallen when I explained it was time to go home.

“Why?” he asked.

The next night, I again found myself roused from slumber around 5:30 a.m. by Seth. When my wife heard him wailing, I leaped out of bed then stumbled down the stairs from our bedroom to find him splayed on the floor.

I scooped him up and held him, then quickly discerned he hadn’t thrown up, hadn’t fallen out of bed, hadn’t had a bad dream. He just wanted me to get him a graham cracker.

Still half-asleep, I staggered down to the kitchen and rooted through the pantries until I finally located the graham crackers in about the fourth place I looked. Anticipating a plea for a cup of cold water to accompany the snack, I scoured the kitchen again for a lidded cup, then filled it and shambled back up to his bedroom.

He sat down in a chair, and I handed him the snack. I was turning to leave and making plans to be unconscious again before sunrise when I heard his little voice again.

He was turning the graham cracker over and over in his hands. “Where’s the cinnamon?” he asked.

Article © 2010 by Michael Duck