He asked for it so often, it became a theme.
“Can I have some cotton candy?”
“I’m sorry, no.”
“Because we don’t have any cotton candy and, even if we did, it’s just a big puffball of sugar that never tastes as good as you think it will.”
“But can I have some?”
I mean, this went on for weeks.
“What would you guys like for dinner tonight?”
I spied it one day in the grocery store, but I couldn’t bring myself to buy it. What is the difference between a ball of cotton candy and a big bowl of sugar? Nothing, except the artificial color and flavor, right?
“Can I have cotton candy today?”
I bought cotton candy flavored yogurt, which felt like a big compromise to me and a big letdown to him.
“I want real cotton candy.”
Finally, I caved.
“Listen, if you have a really good day and work very hard in school and breathe like a bear when you get mad at something and keep your hands to yourself, I will give you some cotton candy.”
So, that took a while because those are a lot of things to remember for a whole day. But, finally, happily, we had a real cotton candy day.
We were all pretty excited when I pulled the bag out after dinner. He took a big wad of blue cotton candy and popped a little pinch in his mouth.
His expression moved quickly from joy and triumph to puzzlement as he swished that blue goo around in his mouth and tried to figure out why it didn’t taste as good as he remembered.
“I think I’ll keep the rest for tomorrow.”
I told him that I think kids like cotton candy because of where they get to eat it more than how it tastes.
He asked me what I meant by that and I said, “Well, you eat cotton candy at parades or baseball games or county fairs or parties. I think it looks cool and tastes better when you eat it in a really fun place. Where is the last place you remember eating cotton candy before today?
“Well, see there? Bay Beach is a really fun place. I think anything would taste extra special at Bay Beach!”
I was feeling pretty confident that we had found a solution to the daily requests for cotton candy. And then…
“Can we go to Bay Beach?”
“Because it’s closed for the winter.”
“Can we go tomorrow?”