Notes From Deep Mid Winter

by jkatejohnston

21 December 2013

Dear Max,

Last night we were reading Captain Underpants and the Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo-Boxers and we came across the word ‘doppelgänger.’ Enzo was prepared to ride right over that one, but I stopped and explained that that’s when someone looks like you but it isn’t really you. Like an imposter. (Hope that was right.) “I guess Santa has a lot of doppelgängers,” he said.

We’re almost sure he knows that Santa isn’t real. Yesterday, as we drove by the governor’s mansion, he said, “That’s where we saw fake Santa.”

“Yeah, that was fun when you were little.”

“I think maybe you guys just get up really early, like when it’s totally dark, and take the cookies and put out the presents and stuff.” Teresa and I just glanced at each other and went, dum-dum-de-dum. And I think we’ve agreed that when he asks the direct question, we’ll fess up. But only then. We’re not falling for these distant surmises.

In the meantime, Enzo and I are working on our Christmas cookies. I’m about to descend into shameless Mommy Blog territory. Why do moms-who-write have such a bad reputation in my mind? Maybe it’s because they’re always writing about their horrible children. And their god damn projects. And their stupid recipes. And their idiot crafts. I don’t even read these things, but I know they’re out there, ruining it for the rest of us. So feel free to skip the following paragraph.

I got a recipe for stained glass cookies where make you make basic sugar cookies and cut out a simple shape in the middle of the cookie and then crush up Jolly Ranchers and sprinkle the Jolly Rancher gravel/powder into the cut out and bake, and the candy melts into a colored pane in the middle of the cookie. So we decided to ditch the cookie part and just crush up Jolly Ranchers and bake them. And they turned out super pretty! They bubbled a bit while they were baking so that the panes of clear candy ended up with a few small holes when they cooled. I put string through one of holes on each cookie, and Enzo hung them on the Christmas tree, positioned so that the light was shining through them. And last night he ate them all. (We only made four.) So today, we’re making more. We’re going to do combinations. Also, it works just as well with plain sugar and food coloring. And since we have a pack of twelve food coloring colors plus six vile vials of artificial flavorings (watermelon! very-cherry! etc!), we are going to go crazy.


I have to catch up on some inscrutable notes.

Teresa: “I think Putin’s gay. Why else would he be such an idiot?” (I think she was talking about all those strange semi-nude macho publicity stunts coupled with his anti-gay policies. Didn’t Putin wrestle a Siberian tiger while shirtless? I rest her case.)


Enzo: “I’ll be clumsy after I eat my ramen. You know me after ramen. Because I’m so full.”


Enzo (still on the subject of ramen): “It tastes like of the Legend.” I ask him what legend. “I think I made it up.”


Enzo: “Want to see me hit myself?”

Teresa: “Not during dinner.”

Enzo: “I do it every day in practice.” And then he punches himself in the jaw in slow motion.


When the Niners beat the Seahawks a few weekends ago Enzo was wearing 49ers pajama bottoms and a Kaepernick jersey. Teresa borrowed his 49ers hat, and that’s when they started doing really well, so she kept it on. After they won, Enzo said, “I was coated with 49ers.”