Frederick the Snuggler

My son asked:

"Daddy, can I get an alligator?"

- "Well,"
I said.
"What's wrong with crocodiles? And also, where would the alligator live?"

"Because I like alligators. It could live up in our tree so it doesn't bite me."

- "Okay,"
I thought reflectively.
"But what would you DO with a pet alligator?"

He answered honestly. "I would like for it to eat Sissy, and Mommy, and you."


"Because it's a baby alligator and I would hold it and it would get big and it could sleep with me."

- "That didn't really answer my question. But okay. Umm...it would be a much quieter house with just you and...what would would you name your alligator?"

(Whispered conference with his older, idea-flowing older sister. Reconvene.)

"Frederick. I would name him Frederick."

- "Okay,"
I said not unkindly.
"I've thought about it, and I've decided: we are not getting an alligator. Sorry."

"But Daddy!!...WHY?!"

- "I can't really think of a good reason, but we are just not getting one right now."

(Beat. Wheels spin.)


- "Yes?"

"Can I get a crocodile or dinosaur?"

- "I'll think about it,"
I said honestly.

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