As the kids bounded into the car, stir crazy from captivity within the halls of knowledge, my husband, a novice at the after school duties, innocently asked, "How was your day?"
When I ask it, this inquiry inflames the kids to carping about the controversy of who has the right to speak first, tossing accusations of rude interruptions, and casting complaints of, "He said what I was going to say." And I have discovered, personally, that the slogan silence means security is the carpool mom's best mantra.
But, on this day, my husband had the wheel. And all his questions were answered, when the six year old replied, from the backseat, "Pretty good, Daddy, but I think I got some kids in trouble today."
"How?" asked the naive captain of the car.
"Son, we don't talk that way! But, I'm curious, how did that unmentionable thing get someone else in trouble?"
With a giggle, the kindergartner replied, "My gas smelled really bad."
"Really, really, really, really bad, Daddy. Worst ever in the whole world."
"It floated away."
"It still smelled really, really, really bad. It stunk to me, that's how bad."
"It floated over to the teacher's desk."
My husband has the patience of an animal trainer trying to teach a turtle to turn a back flip. "And?"
"I think it quit floating when it got to her desk."
"Because she started crying and made a face like this," and he crinkled his nose, rolled his eyes back in their sockets, and stretched his cheeks north and south with his fingers.
"Crying?" asked his perplexed father.
"Yes, sir. Her eyes got all red and watery and then tears ran down her face."
"I see," he chortled. "And?"
"And she asked what that smell was."
"What did you say?"
"I didn't know what that smell was. And she looked scary and mad."
"Oh. I still don't understand how you got someone in trouble," my husband coaxed, hoping to speed the turtle along.
"The teacher fussed at the kids sitting at the table in front of her desk."
"Then another little one slipped out. But Daddy, I promise I did it quiet like Mama says."
Daddy chuckled, which the child interpreted as, "Please continue."
"It floated, too."
"Where did it go?"
"To the teacher's desk."
"Yeah. She cried again. And she got up and started smelling the kids at the table in front of her desk."
Surprised, my child's father said, "She did?"
"Yes, sir. She said she wanted to know who messed in his pants."
Tentatively, my groom asked, "What happened next?"
"I let another one out. But I tried to stop it, Daddy. I couldn't help it. And it made some noise."
"Let me guess," said the more than amused man in the front seat, "your teacher cried."
"Yes, sir. And she got really mad. I think she's a lot like Mama."
"I see," said my husband, unwilling to commit one way or the other.
"Anyway, she kept asking kids about their pants, until she got to me."
"What happened then?"
"I sort of let it slip that it was me."
"That's why I have this note for you. But you don't have to read it, because it says what I just told you."
The child's last statement hit a wall of silence from the front seat. Then, whipping out the secret weapon, he brightly said, "I love you, Daddy."
But, the only reply my teary eyed husband could choke out was, "What is that smell?"