Parenting Through Subliminal Messages and Fruit Flafay


Monday night, Paul decided sleep was for the weak. He started singing around ten o’clock. Around half past midnight, Paul’s roommate and older brother had had enough. After asking several times and trying several methods to get him to stop, he introduced us to Paul. We put him on the sofa, said prayers and rubbed his feet. He closed his eyes and for the next thirty minutes all was quiet. I woke up to hear him walking up the stairs to his own bed.

Five minutes later, the song “Poor Unfortunate Soul” from The Little Mermaid could be heard. Paul came downstairs to chat. He gestured to their room and clutched his neck with both hands.

Her older brother had told her via Disney, “Shut up.”

The next morning, when I explained to Paul that he hadn’t been able to go to school after staying up after an hour, his brother backed me up with a tune from Tangled, “Mother Knows Best”. I’m pretty sure Paul got both messages loud and clear.


Every day, Paul comes home with an assortment of miscellaneous school snacks in his lunch box. We felt frankly baffled as to why it would net nine cups of applesauce. Today we missed the bus so I drove it to class. The teacher asked if we mind taking the extra food. She explained that at the end of the day, the students can take whatever they want, and Paul goes there every day and says, “It’s for mom…It’s for dad…It’s for Will. …It’s for Bon…” until he’s seen as everyone who’s home.

When I was a kid, I used to make my parents “fruit flafay” by cutting up bananas, apples, and oranges and putting them in a bowl. I poured milk into it and served mom and dad breakfast in bed. After two weekends of that, my mom taught me how to make coffee, and the fruit flafay became a memory of good hearts with bad cooking skills.

Paul was serving us, his version of Fruit Flafay.

Each of his siblings said, “Awwww. It’s so cute.” when they heard the truth behind the food. However, none of them want to eat the applesauce cups. Today he brought home about twenty-five nuggets of chicken. Maybe I should teach him how to make coffee.


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