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Stuttering, bento and deep fried Oreos

I like to overdo it.

"It" can be anything. When my former roommate and I held parties in our bachelor days, I'd set up a full bar and make pitchers of exotic drinks. I'd watch the Food Network and write down recipes for little hors d'oeuvres, and select the evening's music days in advance.

All so a bunch of twenty-somethings could drink until they fell over.

When my wife told me that Grace would be taking lunch to school this year, I felt the blood rush to my head. Having attended my old parties, she recognized the look on my face. "Just put a sandwich in a bag," she said, but she knew it was too late. My mind was thousands of miles away.

In Japan.

Bento is a single-portion takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cooking. It's also so darn cute when prepared for kids that you want to explode. I found a store on Ebay that sells all sorts of cute bento boxes, little containers and the like. I bought a whole pile of it, which arrived last week.

William came rushing over as I spread everything on the table. "W-w-w-w-w-what do you have?" he asked. "This is Gracie's lunch box," I said.

"Can I see it?" He asked. "Sure," I said, and put him in a chair. "D-d-d-d-d-do you like that?" he asked.

William has started stuttering. It's most pronounced when "W" or "D" is the first letter of the first word of a sentence. A week ago, I went crazy. I hounded my wife with questions. I read articles on WebMD. I found books in the library.

I'm already seeing him as a frustrated teenager with a stutter, afraid to talk and endure more ridicule from his "friends." I'm pacing the house with worry.

I like to overdo it.

I read that 80% of all toddlers who stutter stop on their own. I noticed that William is most likey to stutter when he's playing with Grace. Maybe he feels rushed to get a word in with her, and it's generalized to all of his conversations. I don't know.

So, I've decided to simply wait quietly while he gets his words out and answer him slowly and clearly. I hope that's right. When he and I are talking alone, his stutter almost disappears completely.

On Saturday, we went to the local seaside fair. It was ungodly hot, and William's hair was plastered to his head. He and his sister had been running all over the place, bouncing on the rides and playing midway games. I bought him a bottled water and we sat in the grass while mom and Grace ran off to see what else they could find.

deep fried oreos

I sat next to him with two waters and a bowl of deep fried Oreos. "W-w-what are those?" he said.

"They're cookies," I said. "Do you want one?"

"I will love to," he said. We sat in the grass, the midway rides flashing and whirring around us. I kissed his sweaty head, and thought of the rinky-dink carnival that would visit my hometown when I was young. It was fun to be on the other side, the adult, and watch my own kids enjoy the experience. Someday, they'll bring their kids, and I'll be the toddering old man in the background, taking photos and telling everyone about how my son over there used to stutter when he was a kid. I know that's a long way away, but that's how I think.

I like to overdo it.


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