day 27 by Vanessa Fiola

**The next 3 days I'll be posting 500 words a day here as part of a creative writing challenge. Join the FB group.”

This is not what I planned on writing about tonight. Tonight I was set to write about how my little guy had finally earned his At-At Walker toy by sleeping alone in his bed for 7 consecutive nights. When he woke up this morning we told him what lie ahead: after school we’d drive to the toy store and he could pick out his very own Star Wars toy because he earned it.

It was so cute. I got home from work tonight and he was beaming and adorable and reminded me that he earned an At-At Walker so could we please go to Kids R’ Us now. He’s not the best with names.

We drove to the giant soulsucking store, and he picked out his toy. Do you know those are $108 with tax? No 3 year old should have a $108 toy. I might have gently suggested that he didn’t have a furry Chewbacca and wouldn’t that be better, but he had held up his end of the bargain. Twenty minutes later he sat in the back seat delighted at his own resolve. The three of us buzzed all the way home.

The evening was really looking up. We’ve spent the last two years with him on a hunger strike. His intake has consisted of peanut butter sandwiches—no crust, sometimes mac and cheese, sometimes beans and rice, shredded cheese, sometimes pizza, any sweets ever, spirulina pills, green smoothies and kombucha. I’ve only felt partially good about the green smoothies loaded with leafy greens because he refuses to chew them for at least 20 seconds before swallowing and I’m not sure smoothies really count if you don’t activate your gastro enzymes first.

When we got home from the toy store, Ryan set out to make some curried butternut squash soup in our Instapot. In the meantime Jonah had grabbed the ground sage, brought it over to me and asked me what it was.

“Sage. You won’t like it.”   

“I want to try it.”

I poured about a teaspoon into a small heap on the table.

My feral child stuck out his tongue and licked the pile off the table. Of ground sage.

“Yum,” he said.

I poured more and he did it again. Normally I’d take issue with him eating like an actual animal, but I make exceptions for party tricks.

By the time it was brush-your-teeth-o’clock, he had eaten a paleo coconut tortilla with Mexican crema (both firsts), ample sage and half of an apple. He begged for soup, but it was still cooking.

This is the part though where things turned south.

Sometimes he gets wild just as we’re going to bed. Tonight he played a not-one-bit-funny-game where he refused to go pee after brushing his teeth. It came down to a stand off and I threatened to take his At-At Walker away. He jumped up and down on his bed, taunting me, but he's also three. I forged a conversation about if he was making good choices; he kept jumping. I snapped.

Easy come, easy go. (By go, I mean to the top of my closet.)

When he gets mad at me he cries for his daddy, which makes me feel horrible, but also I’m not backing down. It was a low moment. I need better negotiating tactics, or, at the very least, coping mechanisms. Was that too harsh? I told him he could earn it back, but now I'm feeling like that mean orphanage lady from Annie.  

Tonight I had planned on writing about all of the tattoos I would have by now if it weren’t for my abject fear of commitment. My forearm would read like an inked diary of the spiritual phases I’ve passed through—temporary in hindsight—so it’s probably a good thing. I’ll save that for another time.