My friend Jill has a little boy named Matthew, who is exactly four weeks younger than Thing 2. She also has Andrew, who is a big kid, because he’s three. Jill and I are forever trying to engineer playdates to get our boys together, and this is how it goes:
“Can y’all play on Wednesday?”
“Wednesdays are my crazy days. I’m booked from the rooster’s first crow to the end of Duck Dynasty. What about Thursday?”
“We’re leaving for Canada on Thursday. A week from Tuesday, maybe?”
“Nope. I’m getting the tires on the Suburban rotated that morning. The following Thursday?”
“Well-baby check-up and shots at the doctor’s office. Next Monday?”
“I’m getting my fortune told over a crystal ball that morning, in a gypsy wagon.”
(Oh, I kid, people. I don’t believe in having your fortune told in a gypsy wagon. It’s a secret back room, with a beaded curtain on the door, off of an old Victorian house, or the fortunes never turn out right.)
And then, when Jill and I finally find a day that works for the both of us… when neither of us will be in Canada or sitting in a hardback chair at the tire shop… we rejoice.
And then one of our boys comes down with an ear infection and pukes, and we have to cancel the playdate. Either that or the hair stylists moves my cut and color appointment to the exact morning of our planned get-together. I will throw pretty much anyone beneath a bus so that I don’t have to miss my color!
(It’s because I’M WORTH IT.)
(Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.)
(I can bring home the bacon, and I can fry it up in a pan.)
(I usually don’t though, because it’s just easier to pour a bowl of cereal, and then your house doesn’t hold the bacon smell for six straight days.)
(Where were we?)
Last Thursday, something happened, and Jill and I both made it to the playground at the exact same time. I think Jill’s exact words were, “Is this for real? Are we both here together? Is this playdate happening?” It was kind of like hearing your string of numbers called out from the TV on the lottery reading.
(The fortune teller didn’t pick winning numbers for me, so I’m still broke and without a housekeeper.)
The thing you need to know about little Matthew and Andrew is this: They are THE SWEETEST BOYS around. They are quiet and well-mannered. They are polite and courteous and respectful. While Thing 2 is still waiting for his fruit of the Spirit to bloom and come in, Andrew and Matthew are already showing a genuine harvest from their fruit of the Spirit.
I told Jill on the phone, “Listen. Bringing Thing 2 to the park is exactly like bringing a young bull over to the slides. He will push and shove and climb over children. He will throw rocks and stomp and bite, if anyone is in his way. He will climb higher than 4th graders on the ladders, and he will jump with no warning. I’m really afraid that he’s going to corrupt your little angels and teach them bad things that will shock y’all.”
Jill has taught 4th grade before, and she wasn’t concerned. She announced that her Shock Factor couldn’t be shocked by children.
(Secretly, though, I’m pretty sure she prayed for her boys’ protection from the bull before she left her home last Thursday morning.)
We did have a fabulous time, because Jill is just one of those fabulous kinds of people. I think her boys were a bit overwhelmed with Thing 2 at first, so they sat quietly with their mama until they’d warmed up to our little bobcat.
(“Mommy? Is that boy supposed to be hanging upside down from that top bar that holds the swings like that? Isn’t that dangerous?”)
(“Yes, honey; that is very dangerous. Thing 2 is a risk-taker who makes parents gasp. It’s why his mommy has to have her hair colored at the salon; he causes gray hairs to sprout on the top of her head! Please don’t ever scare YOUR mama by climbing two stories high when you’re this small.”)
Just look at these little faces! Jill’s boy are ALMOST as cute as mine are!
Three-year-old Andrew is a fishing expert. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Discovery Channel picks him up next season for a reality show, where the preschooler out-fishes every backwoodsman in the lower 48, and Alaska, too.
I’m not even kidding on that one. Andrew asked me last week if I had seen the shovel nose sturgeon mounted at the Game and Fish Department. First of all, I had no idea what he was talking about, because my knowledge of the fish kingdom does not exceed Whale, Dolphin, Shark, Trout and Goldfish. Every fish I know can be classified into one of those phylum. Is it small enough to have in your aquarium at home? Goldfish. Does it have giant teeth? Shark. (Or… I could stretch things a bit and classify it as Piranha.) Is it huge? Did it swallow Jonah? Whale. Friendly? Dolphin. The end.
Then Andrew asked me if I knew what you should use as bait to catch a shovel nose sturgeon. Worms? Grasshoppers? Hamsters? I had no idea, but Andrew discussed sturgeon with me at length. He simply sighed at how HERE IS ANOTHER GROWNUP WHO HAS NO IDEA ABOUT FISH, and then he presented his lecture, exactly as a college professor would do. The boy is wicked smart, y’all.
Later, I told him that I’d seen his picture on Facebook with the giant fish. He wrinkled his brow, squinted his eyes, tipped his head to the side, and asked, “Was it the big perch? Or the big lake trout? Or was it a walleye?”
The boy is AMAZING, people. Amazing. He also told me that if I wanted to come out to his pond, he could teach me how to cast my fishing pole. I suspect he would also ask me to PLEASE STOP ALL THE TALKING BECAUSE I’M TRYING TO CATCH A FISH HERE.
Sister and Cousin H joined us at the playground last week, and the kids had a ball together.
Thing 2 looked at me and said, “Hey, Ma? I like this Jill gal! She makes me laugh, and I’m working very hard at not shoving one of her boys down or pinching one of them, just like you asked me to do!”
His mama was so proud!
(And Cousin H? Honestly… is there a prettier baby girl out there? No. No, there is not.)
This was a MAN HUG that happened between Thing 2 and Andrew. Thing 2 wants to join Andrew on a fishing expedition, but he asked, “Can we do a little more EXTREME FISHING? Like… do you have any harpoons? Can we use spears? Can we throw dynamite into your pond? Can we wear warpaint? I don’t think I’d be very good at sitting quietly on the side of the pond, waiting for a bite to happen on my line, but I like worms, and I enjoy getting myself VERY dirty!”
At the bottom of one of the slides was a puddle. The sprinklers had been on overnight, and that slide had a small pool at the end of it. Sister and Jill and I all said to the kids, “Please don’t get in the water!”
Three-fourths of the group did exactly what their mamas asked.
One lone soul plunged right into the water, without a second’s thought on consequences.
I’m pretty sure Thing 2 said to the crowd, “Did our mothers really tell us not to go into the puddle? Because surely they know that if we do stomp in it, we will have the time of our lives! I’ll go ahead and take one for the team here, by going first.”
Matthew was a very solemn swinger. I’m pretty sure he was sitting in that swing, thinking to himself, “Just look at that boy with the wet jeans. He didn’t mind his mommy. He tried to get me and Andrew to hop in the puddle, too, but I’m glad we didn’t. The Bible says we should be obedient to our parents.”
I’m pretty sure he sat in his swing, thinking to himself, “Whoa! Swinging in wet clothes creates a breeze, and I’m kind of chilly! Yeah… IT WAS TOTALLY WORTH IT, THOUGH, and I hope Andrew DOES have some dynamite for fishing with!”
Jill’s two boys and Cousin H couldn’t have been better behaved; they were all three delightful little cherubs. They are all just precious. And… other than the I’M GOING TO GIVE THIS PUDDLE A SHOT, REGARDLESS, Thing 2 did a pretty decent job at staying out of trouble for a couple of hours, too.
(His mama sure does love him. He makes that woman need hair color for her grays, with all of his crazy antics, but her heart rejoices over him! She thinks that Jesus did a fine, FINE job of blessing her with boys.)
Thanks, Sister and Jill, for a very fun morning.