I have made passing mention of my fiance a few times in passing in previous posts, but I haven’t formally introduced you all to her. That’s a glaring oversight on my part. After all, she’s part of my life, so she should be part of yours.
In actuality, many of you have met her before. Her name is Savannah, and she is the owner/curator/writer/HBIC of the Savvy Pants blog. (Look at that picture in the sidebar. Are’t I just the luckiest Manny around?) She also guest posted for me a few weeks back. It’s all coming together now, isn’t it?
Savannah and I are getting married in May (WHEEEE!!!), and since we’re doing the whole “planning the rest of our lives together” thing, we speculate as to what our children will be like, how we’ll perform as parents and what we’ll eventually be like as grandparents. We agree that while she will be the sweet and nice granny who plays with the kids and generally spoils them — think something like Glinda, the Good Witch of the North — I will be a curmudgeonly old coot whose brain is on the fritz.
”But we don’t wanna go visit Grandpa Manny,” the grandkids will cry out. “Grandma Savvy is nice, but Grandpa always makes us get him whiskey and his beard smells like cheese!”
This is my lot in life, and I’ve accepted it as an eventuality. But something happened yesterday to make me concerned that the future is coming faster than I ever suspected. Let me tell you the story.
It was a day like any other weekday. I picked up Yoshi from kindergarten, and from there we hopped on the subway to go meet Salvador at his elementary school. The trip is something like a dozen stops, so it takes 25-30 minutes. During this time, Yoshi either naps — meaning I get to read — or we talk and play. Yesterday was the latter; he was wide awake.
So, we chatted about school, he showed me all the toys in his backpack, we talked about the plan for the rest of the evening — you know, the usual. His conversation skills are getting quite good, so I like to engage him as much as possible.
As we neared our stop, our talking hit a lull as I made ready to leave. I helped Yoshi put his toys away, and then I went to put something or other in my own back, when I realized my arm was wet. I looked over to my left, where the moisture had come from, and saw that Yoshi WAS LICKING ME!
Yep, in that 30 seconds he had gotten bored, and started lapping at my triceps like a kitten at a saucer of milk. It was a pretty funny scene, so I laughed, which was obviously a mistake, but whatever. When kids do funny things, I laugh, behaviorism be damned. As long as a joke is funny, all I can really say by way of chastising is, “Work on your timing.”
So, we laughed about it, and Yoshi licked me again, because obviously my laughter made it more fun and made it seem OK to do. I told him that was enough, that it was funny, but it was time to stop.
As anyone who has ever interacted with a 4-year-old knows, of course that had no effect. He licked again.
To let Yoshi know I was serious, I hunkered down a bit and drew my face close to his. I lowered my voice to almost a whisper. I call this my “anti-yell” — it lets the kids know I mean business, but in the calmest way possible. It’s chilling how effective it can be.
“Yoshi, it’s time to stop that now,” I told him. “It was funny, but it’s really not nice to lick people, because you have germs in your mouth that are yucky and people don’t want those on them. That’s why they’re in your mouth. Do you understand?”
I always ask for acknowledgment at the end of a little speech like that, because Yoshi and Salvador both tend to look away when they feel scolded, so I want to make sure they are listening. This time, Yoshi maintained eye contact, but he also grimaced and held his nose.
“I don’t like when you talk to me like that,” he complained, “because I can smell your beard.”
The future is now, apparently. And all I could do was laugh. And tell him to work on his timing.
(Image credit: Hey Paul’s flickr. Used under Creative Commons license.)