Monday, February 27, 2012
Trouble in Paradise Revisited
My sister Toni and her husband Tim celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary this weekend and took a trip to St. Augustine, Florida in celebration. It brought to mind a few years ago when they still had a young son at home (who I now in college) and needed a babysitter for the weekend. I have Toni to thank for saving this piece I wrote about that delightful experience. So, here goes.
It has been a long time I have cohabited with an 8 year old boy. Even when I did my boys did not talk to me all that much. Figuring that this was why they had friends, there was only parental communication between us. You know the drill, I gave orders they patently ignored. I would find myself giving the same order over a short period of time until it was ultimately obeyed. It was a war of wills between us, a war I usually won.
My sister Toni and brother in law Tim had a business meeting to attend in Boone. NC this particular weekend (or at least that was what I was told) and they figured my father would benefit from the company of his grandson for several days. He arrived on Saturday. It is now Monday and he is not with his grandfather, he is with us. My father, who likes the pleasant buzz of familial activity, likes it from behind his closed bedroom door. He was worried that Alex would fall in the pool and drown, that one of the dogs would bite him in his over exuberance or that he could not escape the endless chatter of said child. It turns out he didn't need to be the one worrying about any of those things. He simply took to his bed and called for back up.
So here I am with a very precocious 8 year old boy whose favorite activity is talking. He talks very well. If I could find one thing in common with a small boy this would be an outstanding situation. I like to talk, too. But as I have mentioned, my boys did not do much talking to me. I had no interest in Batman then and I find I have even less interest in him now. I am perfectly content on my day off to play in my garden until it gets to hot and then move my playtime to the computer. I have enough competition for computer time with Mac, and now I find this little person staying with us also likes the computer.
I also learned this little person is a picky eater. He doesn't much like vegetables of any color. He explained to me that his parental units were teaching him to eat vegetables, a lesson he should have learned in infancy, but he is a slow starter in that area. (I have to remember to tell the parental units they may have procrastinated to long on this one.) I found that the one vegetable he will eat is corn and then only on the cob or creamed. He likes chicken. I of course fixed Roast beef. He likes yellow rice, not white. Two guesses what color the rice was and the first one doesn't count. He will eat tomatoes if they're in spaghetti.
I had them sliced. Raw. When he saw the okra he very politely turned up his nose. This was after he had very cleverly asked what that green slimy stuff I was slicing was and if it was a vegetable. I should have told him it was a fruit and maybe he would have at least tried it.
Supper being a dismal failure, he continued his pursuit of the cat children. They, being of sound mind and good sense, hid from him. Duffy had long since pleaded guilty to a charge of child endangerment and was sentenced to the back yard.
The phone rang while I was cooking. Joyce wanted to know if I wanted to come in and work third shift for an officer who had called in sick. The answer was a resounding yes...I did want to but I simply could not. Mac, who had had even less experience with 8 year old boys than I have, would never have understood. I feared he would run off to Daddy's and lock himself in with him.
Toni called a little bit ago. She asked how it was going. I lied. I told her all was going well...great in fact. I told her if I was a bit sharp it was because I was in pain. My shoulder and neck had been been giving me a fit for about three days. I told her it wasn't that I didn't want to talk to Alex, I didn't want to talk to Mac either. In fact I wished that everyone would leave me to my own devices and let me suffer in peace. Alex came to speak with his mother and wanted to know when they were coming to pick him up. He said he thought he was making Aunt Sandi nervous. I suspect Toni now knows all is not well in paradise.
And now our Alex has reached his majority...he his now 21...a college student with a bright future in front of him because he loves to talk... now I wonder which side of the family he gets that from...Happy Birthday darling boy...we love you...
Aunt Sandi and Uncle Mac