Several years ago when my youngest son was still in elementary school, I banned him from using glass containers for hydrating himself with fluids.
Robert, it seemed, had a drinking problem in that he couldn’t maintain his grip on his glass, and we were running out of glasses in the cabinet. Robert was relegated to only drinking from plastic cups.
I never lifted the ban, even after Robert got older and his grip got stronger.
We never replaced the glasses. Like so many other things, when kids break them I make a mental note that when my children are grown and out of the house I will replace those things.
On my list of things to buy when the last of my sons exits the house: Glassware, Hummel figurines (actually, I broke these, but I blamed it on the kids), numerous mixing bowls (including an extra-large popcorn bowl that Jean’s late father gave to her), dozens of Christmas ornaments, the door to the game room upstairs, light fixtures, glass and ceramic candle holders, and a car.
The day the last of my sons leaves the house I will be thoroughly broke, but I will have replaced a lot of items.
Today, I extended the glassware ban to my middle son.
Nathan, at 16-years-old, should be able to drink out of a glass, but after today, like his younger brother, he can only have plastic cups.
We used to have a really nice set of dinner glasses, but Robert broke most of those before I instituted the ban, but over the years we’ve replaced them with various and sundry pint glasses: We got a couple of pint glasses when we went to a restaurant for a soccer game promotion; we picked up a couple of other pint glasses at a restaurant when they were doing a beer promotion; we got a whole mess of pint glasses when we went to an event at Terrapin.
So for me and Jean, Harrison and Nathan, if we wanted a glass of tea or Kool-Aid or water, we poured it into one of the assorted collected pint glasses. If Robert wanted a glass of tea, he had to drink it from a plastic cup.
The pint glass situation was okay with me, because I’ve always favored pint glasses over traditional glassware that normal people use.
But today our assorted collection of pint glasses was diminished by two, and the culprit both times was Nathan.
This morning we were rushing to get out the door. Nate was in a hurry to get to school early for a club meeting. Robert, because he is Nathan’s younger brother, was not in a hurry to get to school, but he was in a hurry to stall and delay and remember stuff he’d purposely forgotten because it was the perfect opportunity for him to aggravate his brother.
When we finally got started out the door, Nathan was fully aggravated. So rather than take his lunchbox off the counter like a normal person, he angrily snatched it from the counter. And when he did, the strap of the lunchbox was caught on the handle of a frying pan sitting on the stove.
The frying pan spun like a top, moving across the stove as it spun, until it hit one of my prized pint glasses.
The glass crashed to the floor and broke into a thousand pieces.
“Robert!” I yelled. “You’re not supposed to be touching glasses!”
“It wasn’t me,” Robert pleaded his innocence. “Nathan did it!”
There was no time to chastise Nathan because Robert had done so much stalling that we had to rush out the door to get to school, so I left Jean to clean up the broken glass.
I’m not an unreasonable person, and one pint glass isn’t enough of a transgression to make me enforce a plastic-cups-only order on one of my sons, and besides, it was pretty cool the way the frying pan spun – almost in slow motion – until crashing into the glass and sending it off the counter.
But then this evening we were doing a free-for-all for dinner. Everyone ate at different times and in different places, and Nathan took his dinner upstairs so that he could eat it in his bedroom to be away from his aggravating little brother.
But when Nate was bringing his dirty dishes back downstairs, he missed a step and stumbled.
As he stumbled, he reached out with the hand holding the glass to catch himself on the rail. But instead of catching himself, Nate smashed the glass against the railing.
Of course he was holding the glass when it smashed, so he also cut his hand pretty good. Immediately there was free flowing blood dripping all over the landing. The smashed pieces of glass flew all over the living room.
“Are you all right?” Jean shouted, jumping up from the couch.
“Not another glass!” I yelled, jumping up from my chair.
Harrison’s new puppy immediately ran for the blood and the glass, because puppies love excitement. Jean was barefooted, and she immediately ran for her bleeding son because mothers love to take care of their sons. I immediately ran to see if the glass could be glued back together because dads hate it when kids break all their stuff.
Robert just laughed, so I yelled at him.
“Get the dog out of the blood and glass,” I told Robert.
I determined the glass was done for, so I got some wet paper towel for Nathan to apply pressure to his wound. Jean, in her bare feet, led Nathan to the kitchen to try to clean up the wound and I tried to clean up the glass.
Jean makes stained glass art, so every day she’s out in her studio purposefully scoring and breaking glass, and frequently she cuts herself. As a result, we have no bandages left in the house. So Nathan got a makeshift bandage – the same kind his mother uses on her fingers when she cuts herself – a wet paper towel wrapped around the wounded and then taped in place. The duct tape was out in Jean’s studio, so we used some painter’s tape that was handy.
So in one day we were down two more glasses, but that’s okay because now there are two of us who are relegated to only plastic cups.
Rob Peecher is author of the book “Four Things My Wife Hates About Mornings” and he’s taking donations of pint glasses.