Over the holiday weekend, we had some friends over for a cookout. Their nearly three year old was the first fully-mobile (infant visitors don’t really count) child-sized person to visit our house, ever, and the pediatrician husband, ever cautious, made sure our TV, formerly perched precariously right at toddler height, was securely mounted to the wall before our small guest arrived. He was as delightfully behaved as any of our guests, and perhaps the kindest of any guest we’ve ever had when it comes to the treatment of our only children who happen to be two large dogs. He was patient with the fact that they kept trying to lick food off his face. He even threw a ball for them for longer than I ever have. At one point, noticing an unscooped pile of dog poo in the yard, he asked, “Who pooped there?” Because really, it might have been any of us.
And then, as he munched on a cookie for dessert, he asked me “Do you have any toys?” All I found was a stuffed monkey, which he deemed THE TICKLE MONKEY. It was still sitting on an ottoman when he and his parents left, and I let the dogs into the house. They rounded the corner, saw the furry intruder (who usually lives in a closet), and immediately started barking as if the TICKLE MONKEY were trying to kill us all and steal our tasty snacks.
Fast forward to a couple of days later. I agreed to babysit a friend‘s four year old because she was in a pinch (I’m very selective about my babysitting gigs, rather like an exclusive club). She’s often talking about how her son just wears her out with questions, and until today, I really had no idea what she means. It was like a police interrogation. The cutest police interrogation ever. He quizzed me about the names of vehicles from “Cars,” and about the backstories of obscure characters from Scooby Doo episodes I’ve never seen, about who my best friends are, and my thoughts on the motivations of the 5 little monkeys jumping on the bed. One more hour of that and I probably would have broken, just laid down on the floor and told him I’d tell him all my deepest darkest secrets, just to get five minutes without a question.
I sent my friend a text that read “I finally know what you mean about the questions.” She replied that she read my text to the women she was in a meeting with, and they all cried with laughter. I imagine this is similar to the reasons people with children laugh at me when I say I usually get 10 hours of sleep per night and require a lot of sleep to function properly.
Because my charge was asleep when I arrived, and he woke up to find me there instead of his mommy, he got the idea that I had spent the night.
“Did you sleep here?”
“No, I slept at my house, and I came here before you woke up and your mommy left for work.”
“Where do you sleep?”
“At my house.”
“Does your dad live there?”
“No, he lives at his house.”
“Is he dead?”
“No, uh, he’s very much alive, and I’m going to go see him tomorrow. I live in my own house with my husband.”
“Do you play there?”
“Um….I guess so?”
Clearly I need more toys and a lot more playing in my life. The pre-school set thinks I’m totally lame. I just hope said toys don’t scare the bejesus out of the dogs.