Early Sunday morning
Coffee on my mind
I wander into the kitchen
Ignoring the buzzing child.
"Mama, I need dirty undies,
Dirty socks, dirty shirt, and lots of paper.
Oh, some soap and towel too.
I'm going to first look in the hamper."
Before the words come together
To explain my quizzical look,
A confident voice assures me,
"Don't worry, it's for an experiment."
The hot decaf barely nudges
The tired old muscles and senses
I catch snatches of precise instructions
Punctuated by eerie silences.
An hour goes by in this fashion
My torpor rarely disturbed
Four cups of perfect decaf
Followed by ritual morning ablutions.
As I emerge fresh and dewy
With stomach grumbling testily
The Guilt Police inside me
Jumps up to tut-tut my laxity.
I go about the breakfast-making
When a thought in the background bursts forth:
It's been awfully quiet for a long time
And, did I hear the word "experiment"?
With breakfast set on the table
I gingerly knock on the closed door
It flies open readily revealing
A beaming five year old.
"Look, Mama, I made cellophane!
I also made swim shorts!
I made some plastic paper
that you can compost later. See?!"
My smiling face barely conceals
The searching look I cast
Scouring the room for the mess left behind
From all the experiments.
I manage to say, Tell me all about it!
Is it done? Can I touch it and feel it?
While quite unsuccessfully my mind inquires
How and When did he learn about cellophane?
"I put a towel on the floor, and a place mat too;
I used a lot of hand soap, some toothpaste, and glue.
I poured some water from the mug
On bits of banana peel and shampoo."
"I'll set these outside to dry soon
Can you help me clean up the room?
I'm done with this experiment now, Mama.
I'll be doing some more this afternoon."