THE SONIC BOOMER
My daughter and son-in-law had to go to a wedding, so the grandkids were at my house all weekend. I live for this.
The first thing we do is play chase. This is Skippy’s favorite game, and he begins every visit by asking, “You remember that game where you try to tickle me?” I take one menacing step toward him, and he’s off. We play this until I either a) drop dead or b) come up with a good enough excuse to stop. “Wait, wait,” I pant, heavily. “I have to stop and see if that candy is still in the cupboard.”
“What candy?” he says with wide eyes.
The next thing we do is paint the dinosaurs. Target had these papier-mâché animals for sale in their art-and-crafts section. I got Skippy (age 4) a tyrannosaurus and Tess (age 2) a rhinoceros (not technically a dinosaur but, to her, close enough). They started out as brown paper but are now veritable kaleidoscopes of color as each visit has them coated with more and more paint. I let the kids use my expensive tube acrylics because the colors are so bright, and one should always use the very best materials when one is doing their very best work — which the kids are, judging by the serious expressions on their faces.
When the dinosaurs are put up to dry, the kids go to their toy bin to extract everything I’ve ever bought them that their mother has forbidden by way of announcing, “That is not coming into my house!” This includes all sorts of whistles, drums, horns, games that require extreme vigilance due to tiny pieces, and an entire armory of water guns, pop guns, dart guns, toy rifles, six-shooters, rubber knives, swords, bayonets, light sabers and army men. (Let me offer this lame caveat: I do not encourage violence; I simply cannot say no to a pleading four-year-old.)
As soon as all the toys are spread throughout the house, their charm instantly dissipates. It is time for, yes, breakfast. Because it is 9 a.m. For breakfast, the kids get juice (not cut with water like at their house), bacon (my daughter is a vegetarian), and pancakes with smiley faces of whipped cream and maraschino cherries. (I have heard that these cherries are first bleached, then dyed but I maintain that a one-cherry nose is perfectly safe.)
After breakfast, we go for a walk. Last weekend, the walk was particularly fun because we were delivering party invitations to a few of our neighbors. Each kid got to hold a few and, when we got to a house, ring the doorbell and either hand it to the occupant or stick it in the mailbox. (I’m sure that’s a federal offense!)
Tess was at her absolutely most adorable. “When is your party?” a neighbor would ask and she would reply without hesitation, “tomorrow,” while I motioned frantically above her head that it was definitely not tomorrow, please do not come tomorrow, nothing will be ready tomorrow and, in fact, the house was littered with whistles, drums, horns, games that require extreme vigilance due to tiny pieces, and an entire armory of water guns, pop guns, dart guns, toy rifles, six-shooters, rubber knives, swords, bayonets, light sabers and army men.
Eventually, the kids and I made it through the day, but that only served to bring us to the fearsome bedtime. More about that next week.