"So, we're going to swimming now, right?"
"No! Your teacher texted me and said he'd see us next week."
"Why? Was there poop in the pool?"
"No, he has athlete's foot."
"Oh. What's...Af-leaf's foot again?"
"A foot fungus."
"Oh, right. And he doesn't want other people to get it?"
"Right. So we have the WHOLE AFTERNOON ahead of us! We could finish our book, we could make that fruit tart thing you wanted to make, or we could make jam. What do you want to do?" [UNNATURALLY LONG PAUSE]
"Wyatt. What do you think?"
"I'm sitting here in the back of the car with my mouth open trying to trick you that I had a heart attack. Honestly, I can't decide. I want to do everything."
We opted to make a Summer Fruit Galette and dinner (we could eat mostly galette for dinner, but we couldn't eat only galette), and because the beans I was cooking for dinner took way longer than I had thought they would, we had extra-extra time to read more of Catherine Newman's new book, One Mixed-Up Night. In very broad strokes, the book is a story of two twelve-year old best friends who share a deep love of IKEA and plot to spend the night there. You know, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler-style.
It's possible I should have saved One Mixed-Up Night until Wyatt was older, but I doubt it. I can guarantee he will read it again because on at least six separate occasions, he laughed so hard he fell off the sofa and breathlessly declared, "THIS is the FUNNIEST book I have EVER read. I am SO GLAD YOU GOT IT, MOM." I am also glad I got it. It's funny, heartwarming, sad, and somehow, as only Catherine Newman can, entirely irreverent and yet totally respectful at the same time.
Wyatt's totally on to me, too. He knows when he can wheedle another chapter (or three, or seven) out of me. I have no discipline when it comes to chapter books like this one. As I confessed to him, it was all I could do not to sneak into his room after he was asleep and gobble it up on my own, without him. He gave me the side-eye. "But you DIDN'T do that, right?" I didn't. It took all my willpower, but I didn't.
Speaking of willpower, it's all I can do right now not to eat the rest of our Summer Fruit Galette. I have watched a few seasons of The Great British Baking Show, where they're always baking frangipane this and frangipane that, and I was very much of the WHO EVEN CARES because what-is-it-anyway-I'm-guessing-some-almond-paste-thing attitude. But I was intrigued. Imagine my delight to see that in the galette recipe I chose to use up our too many plums and weirdly ripening nectarines, we'd have to make frangipane! Let me just say, frangipane is marvelous, and I regret that I have spent so much of my life frangipane-free. We used Gluten Free Girl's pie crust for our galette, and while it basically worked, it was awfully crumbly. It was delicious, but not at all sturdy. I guess what I'm saying is that Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood would have low-key forever shamed me for the crust, but it was more than fine by us. (Do any of you have a terrific gluten-free pie crust to share? I'm struggling, and my sensible child who lacks baking pride asked me this week why I didn't just buy the frozen ones from Whole Foods because it would have been so much easier...)
While we made the galette, we listened to X-Ray Spex's Germfree Adolescents. We've been checking out all the musical artists featured in Rad Women Worldwide, and so far, Wyatt loves Poly Styrene the best. Imagine my surprise when the first track started playing, and Wyatt was like, "I KNOW this one! They played it at Rock Band Land this summer while we were coming in at the beginning of the day."
Frangipane, a good book, and gratitude for other peoples' thoughtful influence on your child: Some days, you feel like you're winning because you actually are.