What’s A Little Finger Paint Among Friends?

After a few years being childbirth free,  Somerville finally had a run at the hospital about a year or so ago and now there are a whole new batch  of offspring to care for.   You can imagine the relief when a new child care center opened in town. The old one at the church was unused and in disrepair, but I managed to convince Lex to convert the Sunflower Realty office into a proper day care center, and we advertised for someone to run it.

My grandmother was delighted that we were giving new life to the old place, and tremendously enjoyed decorating it.  After six weeks of looking, we found a director to run the place and an elementary school teacher to handle the educational aspects.

The mothers volunteered for a day of playground duty, diaper changing, and taking care of meals and snacks in the kitchen that we added on so as not to diminish the space that was going to serve as the main room where most activities would be carried out.

We had a fantastic time fixing the place up and getting it ready for the first day of pre-school.  Kay, the director, and Judy, the new teacher, took to their new jobs like fish to water.

Our fifteen month old, Eddie, was going to attend.  The girls were too old, and we were going to follow the same routine with them as usual on school days, but Lex and I thought it would be nice if I could have a day off at least once a week and spend the day with my family in town and then pick the girls up after school.

“All packed up and ready to go?” Lex opened the front door and took Eddie’s diaper bag from my arm while I jostled our boy into a more comfortable position.

“All set.  Promise you’ll miss me?”  I gave Lex a coy look and a saucy wink.

She responded by putting the bag in the back seat of the Expedition, taking Eddie from my arms and buckling him into his car seat, and closing rear passenger door.  Then she turned to me and pulled me into her arms and held me tightly against her while she plied my face with soft kisses that took my libido from zero to sixty in less than a second.  I started to moan and reach under her duster to run my hands over her back. Just as I thought I was getting somewhere, she pulled back and patted me on the behind. “Promise you’ll miss me?”

I swear I would have gotten even with her if I could have done more than deal with my racing hormones which were playing my favorite scenes from our years of loving each other.

Eddie began to fuss, so I reluctantly got into the SUV and shook my finger at my wife, who seemed to be having her own difficulties, if those darkened eyes of hers meant what they usually do.

Once at the day care center, Eddie toddled to some brightly colored toys that had caught his eyes.  There were already a half dozen children, and we had worked things out so that with the proper help, we could manage a dozen or more and keep the state and federal agencies happy.

The kids loved it. Eddie barely noticed me leaving.  When I said I’d be back soon, he actually waived me off and resumed his spot of the floor to push a big green truck back and forth.

The hours passed, and my grandma decided to come with me to pick Eddie up.  Martha had taken the lunch shift, lucky kids, and afternoon snacks were being handed out.

The children sat around a long, low table, just their size, to wait as the teacher addressed each one by name and gave them their snack.

Kay came over while Judy and a teenage helper passed out the treats. “Thanks for bringing a change of clothes for Eddie.”

“You’re welcome. After all, he is a Walters, and he’s bound to need them for one reason or another. So, what did Master Disaster find to get into?”

Kay handed me his diaper bag. Inside, there was a plastic bag that had the clothes he had worn to school. “Paint?”

Kay looked at my grandmother and me apologetically.  “Finger paint. The five year olds were finger painting and Eddie took exception to the age discrimination.”

“Oh no, “ Grandma said. She’d had Eddie over enough times to understand what a strong willed little boy he could be. “Was it bad?”

“Well, we had been intending to decide on a color for that planter near the back door.”

I walked back to the back door that let out into the play yard and saw red, yellow, and blue finger paint all over the planter, the plants, the dirt in the planter, and just about every surface his little fingers could reach.

“Eddie! What did you do?”

“Puck!”

My eyebrows flew into my hairline.  “Did my son say what I thought he just said?”

Eddie looked innocently at me and then back at the mess he’d made.  “Puck!”  Kay just looked at me, obviously confused.

Judy came to his rescue. “I had the privilege of cleaning Jason up after Eddie tried to stick his hands in each paint cup on Jason’s easel.  Jason was none too happy and decided he didn’t want to finger paint anymore. He said, “Paint! UCK!”

Eddie beamed at hearing the words he thought he was saying, “Puck!”

I gathered Eddie into my arms and set his diaper bag’s shoulder strap in place.  As soon as I got into the SUV, I called Lex who immediately called the cleaning service we’d hired and asked them to make an early trip to the school instead of waiting until the evening.

My grandmother went on home, and I decided to pick up the girls and head on home for a nap. Eddie was starting to smell like he was in need of a diaper change. Unfortunately though, before we’d even pulled away from the school,  Mel asked her brother if he liked school.

He nodded.

“What did you do in school today, little man?” Lorrie asked.

I will never forget the look of horror on his sisters’ faces when he plunged his hand down the back of his pants and retrieved something god-awful smelly and proceeded to paint his car seat with it.

“Puck!”

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