H is holding up a roll of orange tape to his ear. I can hear only his side of the conversation.
“I’m with mama,” he says.
There’s a long pause.
“Yeah. It’s not so entirely sane.”
He pauses again.
And that pretty much sums things up in our house.
“Are you the butcher?” H asks me, a mischievous happiness spreading across his face. His crinkled eyes sparkle.
He has nestled himself between two open cabinet doors, closing them as far as his little body will allow. This is a game we play, the doors a stand in for the squeeze chute he knows cows go through before they are stunned and slaughtered.
“Are you Mathilda?” I smile at him.
Our eyes meet, and for a second we are silent. I do not know what he needs or gets from this play, but the frequency with which he initiates it signals its importance. I trust he knows what he needs, and although it is not a game I would choose, I play along.
“I’m the butcher,” I tell him, picking up the beat.
“Yeah, but I’m not a butchering cow. I’m an information cow.”
I smile. I’m spared, at least this time, from playing at butchering my child in the guise of Mathilda the cow. And I am amused at how much a child of his times he is. An information cow, indeed.
“I’m going to fight, fight, fight.”
He’s sitting in a cooler waving a roasting fork at me.
“You are?” I ask.
“Yes. Fight, fight, fight. I’m fighting you.”
“I’m a lover, not a fighter,” I tell him.
“What does that mean?”
“It means I love people, I don’t fight them.”
“Well, I’m a fighter. I fight people. And animals. I fight all animals.”
He keeps waving the roasting fork.
This isn’t the first time my 80s pop culture references have been lost on him.