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Warp Speed

During the drive to Oktoberfest the other day, Quinn started kicking John's seat and demanding something between crunches of whatever crackers or chips he had probably stored in his carseat for just such occasions. This is completely normal behavior for him, and so John and I continued our conversation , raising our own volume to drown out his, you know, like healthy families around the world do. Always on his quest to perfect the art of Breaking Our Spirits, though, Quinn pulled out the big guns and started pressing every button and pulling every lever he could reach, because he'd be damned if we were going to ignore him and not go careening off the road to our deaths as a result. (I can only assume he believes the door and window locks are parental eject buttons or remote backseat automotive explosive devices.) Luckily, for once, we had anticipated this move and had activated the child locks on all the doors and windows rendering his furious pressing and banging beautifully obsolete - but this only served to feed his (now humorous) rage, and so despite our best efforts to pretend we were on a leisurely drive to a book club meeting or some other placid gathering, we were forced to find out what he wanted.

He was yelling, "I want you to get my picture!" and pointing at the floor board of the car, the area behind my seat, located in the exact spot that would require the person sitting in the passenger front seat to be double jointed if they'd have any chance of reaching it. I'm not double jointed, but I am highly motivated to STOP THE MADNESS FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, so I performed a minor miracle involving the use of the surrounding debris in the floor of the car as primitive scraping tools, and I retrieved the picture Quinn wanted so desperately. It was a piece of purple construction paper with his name written in a teacher's handwriting across the bottom. It appeared to be an attempt at a collage made out of magazine clippings. There were four images: George Clooney, Amanda Peet, a random six- to nine-month-old Caucasian baby boy, and another movie / TV actress that looked a lot like Amanda Peet, but wasn't.

"What the HELL is this?! This is Quinn's? Did you see this? This is what they're doing in school? Cutting out celebrity photos? This is a church pre-school! This is what we're paying them to do? 'Oh, no, let's not talk about numbers or letters because that's TOO HARD! Let's cut out pictures of these PRETTY FAMOUS PEOPLE! We all want to look just like them. Quinn, you've never seen these people before because your ugly mom doesn't want you to know what the REST of the world looks like!'" I sputtered as I shoved the "art work" in John's face, thus eliminating his view of the road and endangering all of our lives in the process. John did what anyone would do in a similar situation and after he re-gained control of the car, said, "now. What?" in a real ix-nay on the eaction-ray so the id-kay doesn't ink-thay that he id-day something ong-wray tone. I held the collage up, this time out to his side to increase the chance that we would all make it to our destination with our blood and bones still on the correct sides of our muscular tissue, and he glanced over at it. "Well," he said, loudly enough for Quinn to hear and begin to offset the My Mom Is Warping Me effect with that of At Least My Dad Is Still Sane, "Quinn has been talking about FAMILIES at school. Right, Quinn? Is this supposed to be a collage about FAMILIES?"

Still looking at me wide-eyed and suspicious, and maybe wondering if he was about to be in trouble for something, Quinn nodded slowly, then started to smile, though still cautiously: "Yeah, it's a family. There's the mom, the dad, the baby, and the sister."

Shut up. Just shut up, all of you. And yeah, I know "where the kids get it," so nobody needs to bring it up. Just be grateful John is the primary caregiver. And that our insurance covers therapy.