Broiler Man / by Susie Lubell

Every week we get closer to the ideal weekday afternoon. My issue lately is less about occupying my son and more about getting my daughter down to nap early enough so she wakes up early enough that she can then fall back asleep at 8:00. This is no small feat. This is also not what I'm writing about today.

My son is slowly coming to terms with my request that he engage in thirty minutes of unstructured free play while I get some work done. He is not that good at this when it's being asked of him. He is great at this when he should be getting ready for school. So we're working on a schedule that feels right to him. A few minutes for a snack together. Half an hour for a game or puzzle. Half an hour of free time. Hour project (cooking dinner or baking a dessert, gardening, art project, watching a movie...). By then my daughter is awake and they can entertain each other for the remainder of the day.

Yesterday we tried out free time and after playing with a toy for about thirty seconds he asked if he could use the phone. I have come to terms with his interest in phones so I allow him to call a few people. First he calls his dad and they have a lovely chat. Then he calls his grandma and tells her about school and this and that. Then he calls our friend Heidi. And finally my Aunt Marcia.

Among other things, my son is obsessed with Aunt Marcia. Now I would understand if he had spent any significant amount of time with her because she's terrific. But he has spent maybe seven hours total of his whole life with this woman (she lives in New York). At some point early on she let him use her red Motorola phone and that was it. He now only has eyes for Aunt Marcia and her phone (which is now a pink Samsung - even better).

So he calls her and I overhear this part of the conversation.

Guess what I'm going to be for Halloween.
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A broiler!
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A broiler!
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I said, a broiler! Like the bottom of the oven!
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Where you put the food that you want to burn because there's fire there? And you pull out the bottom part and put something in like a vegetable and then it gets burned and Aba peels off the skin? A broiler.
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Yes.
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Well, I don't know where I can buy a broiler costume, but my mommy can make it. She can sew.
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If she can't make it then I'm going to be a shark.

At some point last week he became interested in the broiler and has asked several times to watch when we turn it on so that he can see the flame light up. It has completely captured his imagination. And while I would love for him to just wave his crazy flag and stroll around the neighborhood as a broiler for Halloween, I really can't figure out how to make that come together. I mean, I'm taking a sewing class, not a welding class. It does sort of sound like a Batman rival. The Broiler! Mwah ha ha ha....I'm so trademarking that.