The other morning, in addition to Jackson’s regular breakfast of — oh, let’s say oat bran and prune juice, since no matter what I say someone will judge me for it so I might as well pretend I give him one of those gerontological diets whose entire point is to pass through your body and out your colon completely unnoticed. So, the other morning in addition to all the foods he normally eats without the slightest reaction, I gave Jackson a nice, ripe pear. He ate it. And ten minutes later he had itchy red splotches on his legs, elbows, armpits, face cheeks, and butt cheeks.
“God is punishing you for touching yourself,” I said calmly. No, I didn’t. Ha ha! I took a wild guess and told him he might be having a reaction to something he ate, quite possibly the pear. I went and got him a Benadryl.
“What am I supposed to do with this?” he asked, looking at the little pink pill in his hand.
“Swallow it,” I said.
He swallowed it. “That was easy,” he said.
“You have a great career in corporate catchphrases ahead of you,” I said.
I didn’t want to take him to school looking like he’d suffered through some sort of inscrutable beating, so since I didn’t have to be at work for another two hours, we just sat around and waited to see whether Team Rocket would defeat Pokemon for once. (Spoiler alert: Team Rocket’s victory was once again foiled by ineptitude and ego, and bizarre voice acting, and atrocious fashion sense.)
An hour later Jackson’s rashes, or hives, or whatever they were, were all gone.
“Great!” I said, rubbing my hands together gleefully. “Let’s get you dressed and get you to school.”
“I’m sleepy,” he said, burrowing into his bed. He began to weep softly. “Sooo sleeeeepy.”
Oh, Benadryl, you are so magical, with your healing properties and the way you make my son flop from side to side when I shake him.
I don’t endorse substance abuse in the under-twelve set, but desperate times. “I’ll get you a Coke.”
Just saying the word Coke perked him up. “Really?”
“Yes. Put your pants on.” I sprinted to the refrigerator: nothing but milk, beer, and an old Vitamin Water. I sprinted to the laundry closet: Cherry 7-Up with Antioxidants? Who the hell bought that? Back to the refrigerator, I dug deeper, pushing past a giant container of olives, and gasped.
“Okay,” I said, walking back into Jackson’s room, “I know I gave your father a speech about going to BevMo and buying this horrible crap, but it seems the time has come.” I held out a bottle of Jolt. Blue Jolt, to be exact. All the sugar and twice the caffeine.
In Jackson’s excitement to be chugging a Jolt at 9:30 in the morning, he managed to knock the bottle over and spill half of it, thank GOD. He drank the rest up, got dressed, and ran to the car. Once we got on the road, however, he was sort of unnervingly quiet.
“Are you feeling alright?” I asked.
“I feel kind of nervous,” he said, grinding his teeth into nubs.
When we got to school, Jackson zipped off to class and I went into the office to confess to the school secretary what I’d done.
“His poor little body!” she cried, “He probably doesn’t know whether to fall asleep or run around in circles like his ass is on fire!” No, she didn’t say that, OF COURSE SHE DIDN’T SAY THAT, but she did hoot with laughter, and when she was done wiping the tears from her eyes she promised they’d keep an eye on him and call if he did, in fact, catch fire.