I do not have children for many reasons, the most obvious being that despite my increasing age, I am still, for all intents and purposes, a child myself. Other child-aged children recognise this in me immediately and will always look around for something in a responsible adult when I suggest something that sounds like it might be fun but also has a fair bit of threat and danger lurking at its edges.
This is why people do not arrive at the door and ask me to entertain or babysit or whatever it’s called these days their own children. Because it’s liable to lead to something like running with knives and scissors, or throwing water on stuff to see how fast it freezes without first getting dressed properly. There are certain children who, at the threat of an afternoon spent in my care, will rise to the occasion, offering to bring over things they are not allowed to play with at home (things like plastic toys with no volume control, or toys that repeat an annoying catch-phrase), or even better, providing their own additions to my ill-fated suggestions of how we might fill the afternoon.
The Mom however apparently screams trust worthy adult from fifty paces because people keep bringing children to the door and asking her to look out for them. Part of me suspects this is because The Mom is currently engaged in a light bit of dog-minding and really, what’s the difference if you throw a small child into the mix? The only tricky bit is remembering who goes to the bathroom where, but the reality remains that at some point everyone will need to go pee and have a snack so you know, children, dogs, whatever. Just toss them into The Mom’s house and come pick them up later.
If I had children or dogs I would totally do the same.
But The Mom, being a good suburban hostess, cannot possibly just accept the child – or dog for that matter – from its rightful owner and provide only the bare basics. No, the Mom must provide a long list of enriching activities that at no point in time includes watching everything David Attenborough has even done. I don’t know how she does it to be perfectly honest.
It’s a weird sort of MacGuyver-like skill she has, this ability to craft at a moment’s notice and using things one might find in the average kitchen or gas station. She’ll happily chirp away, ushering the child or dog into the kitchen before settling down to ‘help’ them with the task at hand. And by help of course, I mean pretty much do the thing for the child (dogs fare somewhat better on their own) or at least do the child’s bidding. When I observed that The Mom was in fact doing most of the heavy-lifting as far as the craft was concerned, she looked at me with more shock than I had anticipated.
“She’s six years old. She doesn’t use scissors yet.”
“Ridiculous,” I said. “She speaks three languages. Surely scissors ought to be a doodle.”
“Three languages will not likely result in a trip to the emergency room.”
“You are assuming your scissors are sharp enough to actually cut this felt,” I countered.
“I got them from L’il Sis’ sewing room.”
My jaw dropped. “Oh you are going to be in so much trouble when she gets home.”
“She’ll never know,” The Mom said.
“You keep telling yourself that, Skippy.”
In the end, the craft was a success and everyone went home happy and there was nothing said about the scissors. The only consequence to the afternoon – and this is saying something for our house particularly during the holidays – was that a repeat performance was requested. It would appear that The Mom will be doing quite a lot of crafting come the new year.