Yes, I have a son. His name is Nick. Jesse is not my only child, nor my most favored. She just makes me more grumpy than Nick, so she provides more fodder for this forum.
But Nick is annoying too, just in a less disastrous way. He keeps things in perspective. Today at the swimming pool, as Jesse ran off screaming about her french fries and dripping ice cream, Nick stood close to me as we watched her shrink away on the lawn. He sang a song made up on the spot. The tune sounded pretty cheerful, but the lyrics went like this:
Jesse messes up everything,
Jesse makes things not much fun,
It’s no fun doing things with Jesse,
But that is just my life…
A jaded, sardonic six-year-old with a sense of humor is a rare commodity. I do treasure mine.
Today was a pretty typical day for Nick. He walked into the bathroom shortly after breakfast and hollered out to me. “I GOING TO POOP, MOMMY.”
“OKAY, YOU DO THAT! I’LL BE THERE IN A MINUTE TO WIPE YOU!” I hollered back from my seat right here next to the computer.
But then just 10 or 15 seconds later he was standing beside me, cheerful and light-hearted.
“Did you go poop already?”
“Noooo. I was just kidding.” This is one of his things. He thinks it’s funny to tell me he’s going to poop when he doesn’t actually have to.
He smiled. “Only… I don’t know why, but when I sat down I got all wet.”
“Where did you sit down?”
“On the potty.”
“Was the seat cover down?”
Blank, innocent stare. Eyelashes batting.
“Did you forget to pull your pants down when you tried to poo??”
Now Nick was defensive. “No! I did not have to poo! I was only joking!”
“Did you sit down on the potty without pulling down your pants???”
Shoulder shrug and more eyelashes. “Maybe.”
Sigh. There was nothing for it. I investigated. Nick’s undies and shorts were soaked. There was a huge puddle of pee in front of the toilet and all over the seat and toilet itself. I deduce that Nick sat on the potty to pretend he was pooping, but then actually peed, emptying a bloated bladder in a powerful spray that exploded out of his pants.
An hour later, he walked into the bathroom again. We share the one functioning toilet in our house with our construction crews; I’d rather do that than have a port-a-potty. As the door opened, I heard Nick’s lilting little voice. “OOOOh, there is someone in here!” I looked over. He was standing in the doorway. There was a tone of true curiosity in his voice. “I think he is using the potty!” Nick started to walk into the bathroom. WTF?
I yelled in a panic, “GET OUT of the bathroom, Nick, and CLOSE THE DOOR! Give the poor man some privacy!!!”
“Oooooh.” Nick backed out slowly, grabbing his crotch in a familiar, urgent gesture. I sent him straight out back to pee on a tree. He trotted off cheerfully. I tried not to look over at the bathroom door for a long, long time, and whoever was in there eventually left without a word. Thankfully, I never saw who it was.
Meanwhile, Nick disappeared into the woods out back. Eventually he emerged from the trees covered in little prickly seed burrs, which I had to pick off his clothing one by one. He was perfectly content.
My little joker.
What a beautiful lightness he brings to my life, to offset Jesse’s dark soul. His glass is almost always full, no matter what’s actually in it. Sunshine to Jesse’s moonshine. Yin to her yang — or yang to her yin, depending on the day.
I don’t know if I would be making it, without him.