What Part of Spaghetti Don’t You Understand?

by jkatejohnston

30 September 2013

Dear Max,

I never use my desk to work. It’s a charging station for my computer, and it has small four drawers stuffed with almost illegible notes which I’ve just now decided need to either get used or thrown out. Ha! Fall feels like the start of a new year, time for housecleaning. And you can bet I won’t be doing any actual housecleaning, so…


First waking up Enzo rubs his eyes in the too-bright light. “I hate my life. My eyes are getting old and weak.”


A dream: “I saved a butterfly from death. I scooped it up—it was floating down—and put it in a tree.”


“Can Magnus and I have magazines? Get it? Magnus? Magazines?”


Grating parmigiano-reggiano and tasting a small slice. “Now I know why it’s the king of cheeses.”


“Because it’s preferring to Burger King.”

“Does that mean even better than Burger King?”


“Just as good?”


(He has never been to Burger King. We’re a McDonald’s family. Happy Meals.)


While pooping—”Oh dear. Oh my!”


Teresa tells him it’s time for dinner. “I’m tired. I feel like spaghetti.” He flops on the couch, limp, helpless.

“Come on, it’s time for dinner.”

“What part of spaghetti don’t you understand?”

During dinner Teresa tells us about that NFL player who lost the tip of his finger during a game, and he didn’t realize it until he took off his glove and the fingertip stayed in the glove. We all relish this for a while and then Enzo says, “I do admit that would be a good Halloween prank,”

Then Enzo wants us to tell the story from one of his reptile books about a vet who thought the croc was totally out, but it wasn’t, and the croc bit off the vet’s arm and wouldn’t give it back. The book has these great photos of the croc with the arm in its mouth looking like, mine!

We all talk about that story for a minute and then Enzo adds, “He had to have, like, two hours—no like ten hours of medical treatment.”


When Enzo woke up on Saturday morning he climbed into my lap and sniffled loudly, showing off a stuffy nose. “This is what happens when you guys don’t take care of me. You have to let me not go to school.” I remind him that this is Saturday and we have the reptile show and then Jonah’s party. A pause for reassessment, then: “Trust me, I don’t think I can do both.” But he did.


Yesterday Enzo came up behind me as I was washing dishes and slipped something into the back pocket of my jeans.

Me: “What’s that, a bomb?”

Enzo: “Money.” He reached back into my pocket and showed me the two shiny pennies cupped in his palm. “Just in case.” And he put them back and moved on.