Supper David

Supper David

From Chicken Soup for the Preteen Soul

Supper David

David is the baby. Ginny is the oldest, then Johnny, and then me. Sometimes, we have to help watch David. He plays quietly for Ginny and Johnny but not for me, even when I try to get him to watch cartoons. He will sit still for a little while, but then he’ll drag out a book and ask me to read it to him.

David always smells like mustard. His favorite sandwich is mustard on plain hard bread. The smell makes it hard for me to concentrate on reading a book to him. And David sucks his thumb. His thumb is in his mouth for so long that it stays wrinkled, shriveled and wet all the time. It sticks to the paper when he tries to help me turn the pages of a book. When I can’t read the words, I make up stories to match the pictures. David doesn’t know because he is too little to read.

David loves costumes—he will wear anything. Ginny and Johnny dressed him up in Ginny’s fancy green flower-girl dress. They put a yellow dust mop on his head to make him look like a princess. David became “Davaleena” as he twirled around the kitchen and sang in a squeaky voice.

My mother made a costume for David out of a pair of blue long underwear, a blue undershirt, a red dishtowel and red underpants. With his arms straight out in front and the dishtowel flapping behind, David becomes Superman. I made a sign for his chest that reads “Supper David.” Johnny told me that I spelled “super” wrong, but I don’t care. David can’t spell either.

David never keeps his clothes on. He runs around the house naked. My mother says that David is going through a stage and that children have to learn how to take their clothes off before they can learn how to put their clothes back on. I don’t remember that I learned to get dressed that way.

David likes to show off. In the middle of one of my parents’ dinner parties, David took off his clothes and ran out the back door. When we caught up with his naked little self, David was busy jumping up and down on top of the car, waving good-bye to the company. My father laughed so hard that he snorted and tears streamed down his face. When the grown-ups were done laughing they went inside. I stayed outside to watch David.

My mom yelled, “Grandma’s on the phone!”

“Vroom, vrroom!” said David.

“Mo-om! David is jumping up and down on the front seat of the car!”

“Barbara, please! Not now! Yes, Grandma, the children eat their vegetables.”

“Honk, honk,” said David.

“Mom, David is pretending to honk the horn in the car.”

“Barbara, I’ve told you that I’m talking to Grandma. I can’t talk to you right now. Yes, Grandma, the children are always in bed by eight.”

“Wrr, wrr,” said David.

“Mom, David is turning the steering wheel in the car!”

“Barbara! Yes, Grandma, the children are always polite.”

“Ert, ert,” said David.

“Mom, David is moving the handles next to the steering wheel!”

“BARBARA! Yes, Grandma, the children are healthy. Thank you.”

Then I noticed that our car was moving. David was backing the car down the hill of our driveway!

“MO-OM, DAVID IS DRIVING THE CAR!”

I have never seen my mother run so quickly. She leaned into the car as it was moving down the hill—picking up speed as it went—pulled David out through the car window, smacked his bottom, and then hugged him tightly. The car hit a tree and stopped half way down the hill. They both started to cry. So did I.

My mother turned toward me, and gave me a hug, too. We all stood like that for awhile, and I thought how much I really loved David even though he is a pain sometimes, and how I would have missed him if anything had happened to him. I made up my mind that Mom was a hero.

I decided to go to my room and pull out my construction paper and crayons. Then I made another sign. It said, “Supper Mom.” Somehow, I didn’t think my mother would care if I didn’t spell it right.

Barbara Lage

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