Evil Kin

Younger has a convenient excuse to visit his grandparents several nights a week — internet.

“I need to use the internet, Mom,” he will tell me.

But it is often an excuse. Because the library has internet.

The library doesn’t have grandma and grandpa. And the library doesn’t spoil him rotten.

The library doesn’t  “feed him against his will.”

“I’ll just tell Grandpa I’d like pizza,” he told me one day as we sped along the highway.

“You leave your grandpa alone,” I warned him, shooting him a glance, shaking my head at his mischievous grin. “Younger . . .”

A few minutes after I arrived home from delivering him to his grandparents I received a text —

“I swear on my life, first thing he said when he came in was, ‘younger, you want to order a pizza.’ ”

Yeah, he’s fed against his will.

These grandparents are evil, evil folk.

Manly Utterance of Surprise

With my husband in Colorado and Elder at Mizzou, Younger and I were left with only each other to entertain us. So, when we were delivered pizza to our booth and he immediately bit into a slice only to exclaim, “Haaaaa,” while simultaneously bending over his plate to expel the burning cheese, I burst into giggles.

He glared at me. “Not funny.”

“Well, a little funny,” I managed between smothered snorts. “You made a pretty loud noise for my child who likes to fade into the background.”

“I did not squeal,” he objected.

“I never said squeal.” I tried and failed to swallow my continuing laughter. I was exhausted and giggles always win during exhaustion. “I said ‘loud noise.’ ”

Still insulted, he repeated, “I didn’t squeal. I emitted a manly utterance of surprise.”

“Sure,” I gulped. “Manly utterance of surprise.”

Eventually, I settled into mere random chuckles, and we continued with the pizza — him with a little more caution than he had displayed previously.

“I don’t think I told you,” he mentioned towards the end of the meal, “that I scared a lady with Grandpa last week.”

“With Grandpa?” I questioned his sentence structure. “Grandpa  helped you scare a lady?”

“Sure,” he responded without even a pause. “Grandpa hid in the bushes and jumped out at her and she released a not-so-manly squeal.”

And I was in giggles and tears again.

We entertain each other pretty well, I guess. Not sure that’s a bragging point. Especially as he tells me I’m broken.

But I still hear that manly squeak now and then. And when Younger recognizes my quiet giggling, he hollers, “It wasn’t that funny, Mom.”

Then why am I still laughing?

The Logic of Children

So, we moved Elder to Mizzou last week, but I’m not ready to talk about that yet. So, here is a story from 2000 when Elder would have been four years old and Younger one…

Sunday, after church, my husband and I and the boys drove to town in search of nourishment. On the drive, Elder announced, “I want to eat at King Burger.”

Not being a fan of fast food hamburgers, I responded, “No, Elder, I think we’re going to do pizza today.”

“But I like King Burger. They have ketchup…and hamburgers…and mustard.” At this point, his voice trailed off a little and I missed a good portion of restaurant’s praises due to the sportscast on the radio and the wailing from Younger. Within a few minutes, though, Elder had raised his voice again. “They have pickles, too, but you can open your hamburger and pick those off. Okay, Mommy?”

“Okay, Elder.”

Big blue eyes shining, Elder changed the focus of his attention to my husband. “Daddy, do you want to go to King Burger? Me and Mommy do.”

So, for all those future parents, never, ever concede even one point to your four-year-old or he will assume he has won the whole argument. Remain absolutely silent, if you must, but avoid at all costs agreeing to taking pickles off a hamburger or you might find yourself eating at a restaurant not of your choosing.