There is a nine year old boy in the Den right now. Just him and me, right now. That’s right. Just the two of us. His daddy and my husband are out of the house, the Denizens are all off to school, and here we are. The two of us.
If I ever said Boo Bug was bad about talking non-stop…I knew not of what I spoke. This kid has cornered the market on the non-stop talking thing.
“You know what? You know what else? And then? I was playing this video game? And I was like RRRROAM! And he was like WHOA! And I was like YEAH THAT’S RIGHT and then he was like BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM and I was like DUDE! and he was like DUDE! and then? I shot his arms off and there was blood and it was gross and he said, DUDE! And I said DUDE! and then? My dad? He said…”
Supposedly, he is doing his homework. But in reality, he is asking me for help with his homework. Which is a euphemism for Attempting to Con Me Into Doing It For Him.
“I hafta write spelling sentences. I hafta use the word ‘decimal’. What’s a decimal? I can’t find it in the dictionary. Oh. There it is. You know what my dad says? Blah blah blah…Aunt Tama? What does pah…pah…oh. Pertisk…Pertask…(Tama gets up from her desk [again], says the word) ‘Pertaining’ mean? Oh. Ha ha. You’re funny. I know it’s a dictionary! But can’t you just tell me? This is haaaaaaaaard. I don’t get it, because pertaining means…Aunt Tama? What’s a decimal? Sooooooo…if I write a sentence about a decimal…how would I do that? Oh! This one time? I wrote this sentence…?”
Whew. Eldest has spoiled me on this front. Set that girl down with a list of ten spelling words and instructions to write a ten word sentence for each of them, and five minutes later she’s handing you the eight year old equivalent of War and Peace with a bored yawn and one word: “Finished.” She’s not only a fast homework-doer, but one of those kids who has to ask what the maximum sentence length is. Because this one time? She wrote this sentence? And it was, like, DUDE!
It isn’t like I can drop him in front of a video game and get rid of him distract him for a while. Oh no. He’s one of those “interactive” game players (or cartoon watchers, or book readers, or artists, or anything else-er I’ve tried thus far) (not that I would do such a thing, being as how I’m not the kind of person who would attempt to plug a kid into a fantasy non-reality in an attempt to get five minutes of @*^&@ing peace and quiet around here) (if you do not see the big fat fib in the preceding digression…read it again. It is plain as the nose on your face). He wants to make me a part of every single thing he does, all day.
Fortunately (OK, not sure that’s the right word, really), I worked until rather late last night, and started very early morning this morning – so I’m ahead on hours and ahead on tasks and am pretty sure I’ll get through today without locking him out in the backyard with a bottle of water and a box of graham crackers.
All kidding aside, it isn’t half as annoying as I’m making it out to be – mostly because this is it. This is it, people! The last houseguests of the holiday season. The last of the Mohicans is currently in my Den: After he and his dad depart, the Den will be back to its usual covey of six.
The holiday season is something of a whirlwind season around the Den. Lots of coming and going, plans changing, expecting twenty dinner guests and ending up with three, or expecting three and finding ourselves with twelve. People calling at the last second to see if they can crash with us, because they left San Diego five hours later than they expected and aren’t going to be making Redding tonight…The washing machine constantly going…the dishwasher constantly chugging…the coffee maker constantly dripping.
It’s a lot of fun, in a crazy kind of way. It’s a very good time of year for me to practice my zen-like acceptance that Things Change, usually when you least expect it, and to just go with whatever happens.
And then, as suddenly as it began, almost always right around the time I’m starting to wonder if we will ever, and I mean ever, have a weekend to ourselves again…silence begins to fall. The doorbell stops ringing daily. The living room stays picked up. Children return to school. Glory be, there may be a work day or two where there is nobody else in the Den attempting to pretend they aren’t here while we work. Nobody arriving that afternoon, two hours early and dragging exhausted children behind them.
And then suddenly…I’ll realize that the person currently curling up on my sleeper-sofa is the last person who’ll be there for a while. That when they’re gone, I’ll be able to wash those sheets and put them away.
That this is it.
The last of the holiday houseguests.
…is it utterly evil of me to add a “…thank goodness” to that?
10 hours ago