"This is the best thing that ever happened," he beamed.
After chewing-gum-gate, otherwise known as his sixth birthday, the allure of chewing gum sort of wore off, but bubblegum was still veiled in a glittering shroud of mystery. He'd accidentally swallowed two pieces of gum - almost three, but then it turned out he'd never put that one in his mouth to begin with, so he hadn't swallowed it after all - and we said maybe he should wait a while before having any more. His green pack of Eclipse is still sitting in the kitchen, mostly untouched, until he feels like coming back to it.
So he'd been campaigning, now and then, for some bubblegum, and I'd been saying no mostly because I thought it was probably much sugarier than the stuff that's ostensibly meant to make your teeth cleaner. But this morning, there was a lovely pink pack of Orbit sugarfree bubble gum, and without even considering what Mabel would get to keep the tally even - the sibling tally of who got what when I didn't get anything, you know the one - I took it off the shelf beside the register and put it on the conveyer belt.
Since then, he's unwrapped the cellophane and carefully thrown it away, opened the pack, and been shown the cunning slot that enables the owner to reclose it neatly. He's counted the sticks and calculated (with fingers, he admitted) that three rows of five sticks makes fifteen sticks. He's unwrapped a stick to see what it looks like, causing the delicious scent of fake pink to permeate the whole car. Then he carefully wrapped it up again, put it back in its row of five, and slid the tab into the slot to close the box.
Every now and then he takes the pack out of his pocket to admire it, and then puts it tenderly back.
I don't think I need to worry about him swallowing any for a while yet.