leverage / by Christina Rosalie

It started out beautifully. Bean + Sprout + sandbox = happy boys + happy mama. Despite the softly falling rain they were content as clams, pushing yellow metal dump trucks over dunes of damp sand. So I went to work stacking wood not twenty yards away. And the next thing I knew...

Sprout was covered head to toe in mud. I don't mean that metaphorically. I mean that very, very literally. He was so covered in fact, that it became immediately evident that he was not the one who had covered himself. His cheeks were painted with mud. His pants, his boots, his knees, elbows, hands, arms, neck. And he was screaming furiously. Indignantly.

Bean looked way too pleased.

See? He thought it was hilarious.

Until, out of nowhere I said, "I'm documenting this to send to Santa, you know."

And then, without looking at him again, I set the camera down and proceeded to strip Sprout down to his diaper. When I was finished I looked up to discover Bean was rooted to the spot. A look of utter abject horror on his face.

Then he dashed inside, removed his muddy clothes, and frantically started hugging Sprout.

I ran Sprout a bath. Bean came up and sat at the edge of the tub, urgently offering toys to Sprout who was delighted by the sudden change of events.

I asked Bean if he wanted to get in too. He said, "I'd be delighted." (Really, he talks like that.)

And then he got in and hugged Sprout and let him have all the toys. And after quite a while he said, "You know mama, you really don't need to send those pictures to Santa."

He was perfectly behaved all afternoon, too. Thank you, Santa.