The other day I had to go to a lawyer’s office to sign some papers, and the lawyer called in her assistant to be a witness. I had the girls with me, and The Assistant and Gal Smiley got to talking. When Gal Smiley told The Assistant that she has an older brother, age 6, The Assistant said that she has a little boy, age 8.
Then she turned to me, totally unprompted, and said, “Their behaviour gets a lot better when they turn 8.”
Oh man, did I ever need to hear that. It was like a small beacon of hope shining in the middle of a terrible storm of silliness.
When my nephew AvidReader was about the same age as the Captain, we went to visit him and his family. My sister in law warned us before we came that AvidReader might be annoying. “Why?” we asked. “He just tries to do things that he thinks are funny all the time, but they aren’t,” she said.
I must admit, we didn’t see what she was talking about at the time. Sure, AvidReader was maybe a bit more spirited than usual, but we had fun with him and it was a good visit.
But boy, do we EVER understand what she meant now that we have one of our own. A six year old boy that we live with, day in and day out, who CANNOT. STOP. THE. SILLY.
The crazy faces when you’re trying to discipline him. The shouting out of, “Where’s my dinner? Where’s my dinner?” when it’s sitting right in front of him. The repeating of everything you say, but with the word “poop” thrown in. The random tackling of family members. The frequent sudden declarations that, “YOU’RE BLUE! YOU’RE BLUE!” followed by insane laughter.
And the worst part is that he’s totally corrupted Gal Smiley to his cult of silly. Now all day long all I hear is them attempting to one-up each other in the most ridiculous conversation ever.
Witness this exchange that took place in the van on the way home from The Nutcracker, because there’s nothing like ballet to put you in the mood for a little crass talk:
Gal Smiley: The sun is setting!
Captain Jelly Belly: Bed bed bed wetting!
GS: The sun is having a poop.
CJB: My eyeballs are bleeding!
GS: Blah blah blah dancing queen!!
CJB: Why don’t you pick your nose and eat it?
GS: You’re going to step in nose poo!
CJB: Sid! YOUR NAME IS SID!
GS: DOOBY DOOBY DOOBY DOO!
CJB: Sid, why are you driving me crazy?
And then my head exploded.
A blog post cannot remotely capture how annoying this is. One time, vaguely amusing, maybe. Sixteen hours a day of this nonsense, non-stop — OH. MY. GOD.
And it’s such a grey area when it comes to discipline, too. On the surface of it, they’re having fun. They’re happy, they’re playing well together, they’re making each other crack up. The only real danger is busting a gut from laughing, or perhaps future overuse of the word “poop” in business meetings.
And yet, there’s only so much we can take, before one of us blows up and tells them to KNOCK. IT. OFF.
Half of me says, they’re just kids, they’ll outgrow it.
The other half says, what if the only reason anyone else ever outgrew it is because their parents cracked down on that crap every single time? And if I give up and just try to ignore it, they’ll grow up to be Carrot Top and Joan Rivers?
Eight years old better hurry up and get here!