Sunday, June 10, 2007

A Name by Any Other Name Still Means One of Us

The neighbor down the street has three grandkids visiting her this week. We have a pool. And Game Cube. And five kids of our own. We are seeing a lot of the grandkids.

Grandkid One and Two have "Yes, ma'am" down to a tee, excellent manners and immediate obedience. Grandkid Three? Not real strong in the obedience department...or the manners...or the honesty department. I have learned something about dealing with kids who spend a good amount of time at my house. I make them toe the line from day one. This kid is learning that he can't pull the wool over my eyes and I won't cut him any slack. He does not know who he's messing with, buddy!

He also doesn't know my name or any of the kids' names or Stuart's. He came to the door at 8:30 yesterday morning. "I want to play Game Cube with that big kid. What have you got to drink?"

"The big kid's name is John and he's still asleep. If you are thirsty you can get a glass out of the cupboard and get some water."

"Don't you have tea or soda or anything?"

"I have water."

"What are you drinking?"

"This is coffee. You cannot have coffee. You can have water. Then it's probably time for you to go home. None of the kids are up yet. We'll come get you this afternoon when we go swimming."

He left. I wished for a stiffer drink than coffee.

The Grandkids Three joined us later that day for a few hours in the pool.

"Miss Squirrel!....Miss Squirrel!....Miss Squirrel!"

It dawned on me that Grandkid Three was speaking to me. There was, after all, a Miss prefacing Squirrel.

"My name is Miss Kate. What do you need, Grandkid Three?"

"Watch this!" Two sommersaults in a row without coming up for a breath.

Grandkid One and Claire were hanging out beneath the slide. Grandkid One asked Claire, "What's your name again?"

"Claire."

"That's a long name. I can't remember long names."

"My mama calls me Claire or Rosie. Can you remember Rosie?"

"I might be able to remember that."

Grandkid Three bellowed from the far end of the pool, "Mom! Mom! Your little kid needs you!"

"I'm Miss Kate, Grandkid Three and that's Charlie."

After a few hours of this, the Grandkids Three dried off and headed for home. We reminded Grandkid Three to get the orange golf ball that he left the first time he came over, the bottle of bubbles from his second visit, and his shirt. He did not remember. We added his towel to the collection.

In a few hours, after The Little Kid and The Kid With the Long Name and The Big Boy and the other two go to bed, maybe Mr. Squirrel and I will go out for a swim. Alone.


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