To a six-year-old, a loaded Easter basket is like a gold mine. To six-year-old twins, loaded Easter baskets are a means of eating too much sugar and getting on each other’s nerves.
“Stop it!” cried Mara irritably.
“What?” asked Max.
“Stop running your Hot Wheel over my jelly beans. Use your own,” she snapped.
“No, I’m saving mine. Besides, I’m just running over the black ones,” replied Max, as though that made it alright.
“Leave them alone, I need them,” said Mara as she swiped Max’s car, sending it careening off the coffee table.
Max scowled at his sister. “Now see what you did? Now my car needs to go to the pit to get fixed,” he said as he got up to retrieve his car.
“Good, it’s a stupid car anyway,” said Mara as she reached into her basket for another piece of candy.
“You’re stupid,” replied Max in a huff.
“Oh yeah?” Mara unwrapped the foil off her chocolate and, pointing it at her brother, she goaded him with it. “Well, if you were a chocolate bunny, I’d bite your ears off!” And as if to prove she meant it, she dramatically bit off the ears.
“Oh yeah?? Well, if you were a chocolate bunny, I’d take you outside and melt you in the sun!” Max gleefully retorted.
Mara wasn’t about to be outdone. “Well, if you were a chocolate bunny, I’d lay you on the driveway and drive dad’s truck all over you and squish you all over the tires.”
Max folded his arms across his chest. “That’s stupid. Dad’s truck doesn’t even run.”
“So?” Mara stood up and defiantly folded her arms across her chest, mimicking her brother’s stance.
“So? So? So that doesn’t even make sense. In fact, it’s even stupider than you saying ‘if I was a chocolate bunny’,” argued Max.
“Yeah? It’s not any more stupider than you saying ‘if I was a chocolate bunny’ after you thought it was stupid that I said you were a chocolate bunny” countered Mara.
“Oh yeah? Well – ” Max’s retort was abruptly cut off as he glanced up and saw their mother standing in the doorway with her arms crossed and that look on her face that meant she heard more than they would have liked.
“What are you two arguing about now?” she asked.
“Max said that I was stupid,” Mara cried.
“Did not! Mara said that I was stupid!” countered Max.
“Did – ”
“Stop!” cut off their mother. “I don’t know what’s gotten into you two lately, but you’re going to learn to get along.” And with that, she grabbed each of her kids by their arm and led them into the kitchen, where two stools sat ominously in the corner. Guiding each of them onto a stool, she laid down the law.
“Neither of you are to get up from your stools until you can talk nicely to each other,” she ordered. “And there will be no cartoons today.” She looked at the two stricken faces before her.
“We’ll be nice!” they protested in unison.
“I’m sure you will. But you know the rules: If I have to put you in these chairs, that means no cartoons for the rest of the day,” she scolded as she left the room.
Max and Mara watched her until she was gone. Then they glared at each other.
“Well, this is a fine pickle you got us into,” whispered Max fiercely.
“That’s stupid. Pickles are vegables. How can you get in a pickle? We’re in the corner,” Mara whispered back.
“It’s just a ‘spression. You’re stupid. Don’t you know anything?”
“You’re stupid. And if you were one of those marshmallow chicks, I’d roll you in a ball and try to bounce you!” said Mara.
“Oh yeah? Well, if you were a —”
Listening in from behind the kitchen door, their mother just sighed. She knew it was going to be a long afternoon.
(c) Dahlia Ramone: April 2, 2008