Otter Pops

by jkatejohnston

21 August 2013

Dear Max,

Yesterday we had Enzo’s first grade potluck. On the way there he was talking a mile a minute about how he was going to tell his friends how to catch a whopper and how he prefers game fishing (Teresa thought he said gang fishing). It was hot and, unusual for Sacramento, humid. Grownups drooped. Enzo ran off with his friends and soon his short hair was soaked with sweat. Just seeing them cluster together and run around made me think that if this is the only thing he gets out of school it’s probably worth it. He was wound up, turned on, glowing with excitement. He ate nothing but otter pops. I watched him weave alertly through the crowd of grownups and little kids and big kids, in his element, sure-footed—he’s in the world.

This morning I asked him what he thought of the potluck.

“It was good.”

“What was good about it?”

“Seeing everyone eat my otter pops.”

“Did kids know that we brought them?”

“Yeah. I said, ‘Let’s check and see what’s in the cooler.’ So, you know…”


“We need to go to IKEA and get gravlax for a small barbecue roast.” I asked him how we would keep the gravlax from falling through the barbecue grill. “Shish kebabs!” Then he went on to explain that we would have a stand and sell the gravlax for $40 and steak for $30 and mushrooms for $20. I said that cooking is all about sharing with friends and family, not making money. This bit of preachiness left him unconvinced, and of course I don’t believe it either. I should have told him cooking is about eating—the best thing in the world. 

On the subject of unconvinced, he’s learned to roll his eyes—a gesture that seems to apply to so many situations.