The Happy Homemaker: "The Discovery" and "Pierpont's Mouth"

posted Apr 6, 2014, 8:24 AM by Terrence Moss   [ updated Apr 6, 2014, 8:28 AM ]

I inadvertently started a new story series on my blog that began with a rather amusing but improbable imagining of me as a husband and father. So I’ve decided to start posting them here three (or in this case, two) at a time…

#29 – “The Discovery”

Bradley had a birthday over the weekend. He doesn't want me to tell you which one -- although I don't see why it matters to him because, while he's inching ever so much closer to 40, he's not 40. Yet. And even if he was, it's just a number. Of course, that's eas(ier) for me to say since I'm still five years from that "number".

Several months after we acquired Pierpont, Bradley started asking me to bake him a cake for his birthday instead of buying one. I didn't entirely understand why because, though I do know how to cook, my culinary skills aren't anything to open up a restaurant over.

"You can't pour love into a store-bought cake," Bradley told me then. He's ever the charmer. And I'm ever the sucker for it.

"But I can have a baker write all sorts of love all over a store-bought cake and it'll be the same thing," I joked.

Until that time I had only made box cakes, but since Bradley made such a special request, I decided to try my hand at making one from scratch. I wasn't confident in my first effort, so I made a second cake. That second effort came out better, but wasn't quite on par with what I was hoping to present to him. I made one last adjustment for my third go-round and served it to him before we went out to dinner.

He didn't indicate as such, but I got the feeling he wasn't as thrilled with the final result as I was. So I presented him with my second effort. He felt the same way about it as I had earlier, so I took a chance on that first effort -- which of course he loved.

That became my basic recipe for Bradley's birthday cake.

The following year, Pierpont sat in the kitchen and watched while I made the cake. The next year after that, he started asking me questions about what I was doing. I showed him how I measured the ingredients and mixed them together. Every year since then, he's helped me make Bradley's birthday cake -- even coming up with ideas for his own personal touches.

I might have known Pierpont had an agenda because this year he told me he wanted to MAKE Bradley's cake. I told him that I'd let him take the lead on the cake this year, but that I was going to watch and just as was the case every other year, he was not to go near the oven once he turned it on to preheat it.

I laid out all the bakeware and ingredients that he needed to make the cake. I watched him carefully measure out the ingredients and mix them together. I didn't want him to use the hand mixer just yet, so I took over mixing duties while he greased the circular pans with non-stick cooking spray.

"You made this all by yourself?" Bradley asked Pierpont when we presented him with this year's cake.

"Dad helped," he replied. Bradley looked at me. I nodded my head slightly and winked.

"He has the makings of a good little baker," I added, tousling Pierpont's hair.

"But he wouldn't let me use the hand mixer," Pierpont sadly informed him.

"Maybe next year," Bradley replied, giving Pierpont a hug and a kiss on the forehead. "Thank you for making my cake this year."

"I want to learn to cook more things," Pierpont stated.

Bradley sat Pierpont on his knee. "Well, we'll have to look into enrolling you into some classes."

I sat down in a nearby chair. "He brought this up to me earlier, but I wanted him to tell you as well. I didn't know this but there's a kid's cooking show on PBS. We can order him a few DVDs of it."

"What else would you like to make?" Bradley asked.

"Pies....cookies....cupcakes....and....brownies."

"So...anything with sugar," I teased.

"Are you telling me I'm not going to get a cake for my birthday next year?" Bradley asked Pierpont.

"No, you will. But you'll also get all that other stuff, too."

"You make it seem so easy."

"It is, Daddy. You just follow a recipe, measure the ingredients and mix them together. But you don't want to overcook any of it or it'll be dry."

Bradley was impressed. "Is that so? How did you find this out?"

"From Dad's cake last year."


#30 – “Pierpont’s Mouth” 

I was in a housecleaning mood yesterday. As I walked by Pierpont's room, I told him to clean it up. I don't ask this of him very often because I understand the need/desire to have your space be as you want it to be.

But when how he wants the space gets to the point where it was hard to differentiate him from the mess, then the space needs to be what I want it to be.

Pierpont generally understands this enough to cooperate -- which is why his pushback yesterday was so surprising.

"Excuse me?" I asked.

"I said 'NO'," he repeated emphatically.

I started laughing as if I thought he was joking or if I had just misheard.

"That's cute, Pierpont. Now clean up your room," I repeated as I started walking away.

"NO!" he said more loudly.

I tilted my head to the left, took a deep breath, turned around slowly and sat down.

"Pierpont, dear. Let me explain something to you," I began calmly -- determined to remain calm. "First off, I am one of your fathers. I told you to do something. And when I tell you to do something, you do it. You don't hem or haw or ask why. You just do it. Secondly, I am a product of the late 1970s who grew up in the 1980s and came of age in the 1990s. All of this took place long before you were born. This makes me an adult. And you don't speak in such a way to an adult -- especially one who loves you as I do. Third, when I was growing up, children who spoke in such a way to their parents or to any adult in general were typically knocked down face first onto the floor before they could even finish such the sentence. Now, assuming I'm making myself perfectly clear, I'm going to tell you one more time to clean this room."

"And I'm going to tell you one more time, 'NO'," Pierpont responded a bit less fervently, but with just as much defiance.

"Ok, little man. Don't worry about it. I'll just clean it up for you later. How does that sound?"

"Fine."

"Fine."

I got up, went downstairs and ran the vacuum.

***********************************

Bradley came home a few hours later to an angry child waiting for him by the door and a husband sitting at the kitchen table sipping on his third vodka cranberry.

He walked over to Pierpont, gave him a hug and kissed him on the forehead. "What's wrong, bud?"

"Dad took my stuff."

"Took it...where?"

"I don't know."

"Well, why don't you go to your room for a few minutes and calm down while I talk to Dad?"

"Ok, Daddy."

Pierpont gave Bradley a hug as an obvious last-second sympathy ploy before walking pitifully upstairs to his room. I couldn't help but shake my head and chuckle. Bradley walked over, sat down next to me and gave me a kiss.

"What happened?"

"I told the rugrat to clean his room. He repeatedly and emphatically told me no. So I cleaned it for him."

"So where's his stuff?"

"In the attic."

"How long is it going to stay up there?"

"I'm not sure. Has he been this mouthy with you lately?"

"Moreso than normal but nothing I'd take away his stuff for."

"You're a lot nicer than I am."

"Do you want me to talk to him?"

"Yes, because he and I are through."

*******************************

Bradley walked into Pierpont's room. Pierpont was lying face-down on his bed. That's how he pouts. Bradley sat down on Pierpont's bed and jostled his right foot. 

"Hey, bud."

"Hi, Daddy," Pierpont replied into his pillow. 

"Sit up. Let's talk. And don't tell me 'no'."

Pierpont sat up on his bed.

"Why do you think your dad took your stuff?"

Pierpont looked ruefully at Bradley. "Because I wouldn't clean my room."

"Why not?"

Pierpoint shrugged his shoulders. "I just didn't want to."

"Did he ask if you wanted to?"

"No."

"Well, unless we ask if you want to do something, you need to do what we tell you to do when we tell you to do it. Is that understood?"

"Yes, Daddy."

"Good. Now, I'm not going to ask where this mouthiness is coming from because it doesn't matter. But it's going to have to stop. Is that understood?"

"Yes, Daddy. Can I get my stuff back?"

"Well, your dad is pretty mad right now so he'll probably want to keep it up there forever, but I'm pretty certain I can negotiate a two-day hold instead as long as you uphold your end of the bargain. Deal?"

"Okay, Daddy."

Bradley grabbed Pierpont into a hug. Pierpont laid his head on Bradley's shoulder. "When you come downstairs for dinner later, you're going to have to make things right with your dad."

"I should apologize?"

"Nah. He likes homemade brownies more than apologies -- so we better get you started on that."