I am in a Zen state as I reheat leftovers for dinner. We sit down, and the following conversation occurs:
Jack: I want to pee on the floor.
Nick [laughs hysterically]: He wants to pee on the floor!
George: I think he said he wants to be on the floor. What did you say, Jack?
Jack [slight impish grin]: I said, I want to pee on the floor.
Me: You would be in big trouble if you did.
George [teasing]: Yeah, we’ll treat you like a dog. We’ll rub your nose in it and throw you outside. [both boys laugh hysterically]
Me [Zen state compromised]: Let’s not talk about pee at the table.
At the end of the meal, my Zen state has been recovered by George’s brilliant chicken and dumplings. Hoover is begging, so I blow on his face. Dogs hate that, but in his beggarly intensity, Hoover barely reacts.
George: That was mean! Why did you do that to the dog?
Me [still Zen]: Because he’s an obnoxious beggar. [Look at dog, who is totally fixated on the table and more energized and alert than usual]. Are you going to jump on the bed all by yourself tonight, Hoover?
George: He looks like he could. He’s all full of piss and vinegar.
Nick [laughs hysterically]: That’s funny! Piss and vinegar! Piss and vinegar! Ha, ha.
Me: Do not repeat that, Nick.
George: Why not? It’s not bad.
Me: It’s not appropriate for school.
Nick: Piss and vinegar! Ha, ha. That’s funny!
Me: My Zen state is rapidly deteriorating.
George: You live in a house with three boys. Four if you count the dog. You’re lucky to have any Zen moments at all.