After looking around at the house, I settled on the couch for a delicious read. I knew this weekend stay with friends would be refreshing. The air was becoming fresher by the moment as the sun stretched its long arms across the valley. It was going to be a gorgeous autumn day; I could feel it.
When my neck stopped cramping from viewing the sunrise over the sofa back, I heard the bathroom door slam. A small boy hummed “How Great is Our God”. A few seconds later the toilet flushed and the wordless tune turned to a yodel. Bare feet padded slowly toward the living room making propeller sounds between choruses. I watched as the mighty ship battled the waves and I listened as the captain reassured the first mate that he had complete control over the boat in the awful storm. Mid-sentence, the captain broke out in song, “How gre-e-e-a-a-a-t-t-t is our God… Brrrrrr-vroomvroom-brrrrrrrrrrr-put-put-put-brrrrrrrr-put-jdjdjdjssshhh. Oh no! We’re out of gas, Captain! Quick, turn her around…Sing with me-e-e-e-e, how gre-e-e-a-a-a-t-t-t is our God…”
At this point, Gary was with in a few feet of my living room observatory and still did not know I was in the vicinity. So, not wanting to scare him, I quietly said his name. He jerked and looked at the door, puzzled. I repeated his name. This time he found me and ran over with a grin, “Wow. Hi there. I didn’t even know you were here; you’re pretty quiet. Why are you here? How long are you going to be here anyways? Can you sleep in my room? What are you reading? Is that a big-kid book? I can read SOME big-kid books but not the big-kid books that have really long words. Like this long (showing hands a foot apart). I bet I could read that book. Hey! Maybe you could read it to me!”
Thus, my weekend with a 7 year old, a 5 year old, and a 2 year old began. When I say 7, 5, and 2, don’t think of kids. Think of Einstein and Leonardo De Vinci mashed together, given red fruit punch, and told to stay inside an unsuspecting 7 year old boy. Think of Anne of Green Gables and Lucille Ball enslaved by Cinderella’s stepmother, given one room to share, and told to stay inside a theatrical 5 year old girl. Think of the Three Stooges and hurricane Katrina handcuffed side to side, given boxing gloves, and told to stay inside a brilliant 2 year old bundle of rosy cheeks, spring, and giggles.
After breakfast on the first day, they taught me how to write Egyptian hieroglyphics and we made secret letters to each other. I gave 5 year old Penny her letter and she asked me to read it to her. It said something along the lines of, “Dear Penny, How are you? I am fine. I like staying at your house. Love, D”. She strutted around the kitchen reading the letter to herself; a letter which was probably no longer from me but from some prince far away who was wholly devoted to her.
Gary and Penny sat resembling gargoyles while I read them “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”. Every nanosecond or so, little Paige would punch the book out of my fingers so I could see her face. Each time she was more thrilled with herself than the last.
Finally, I dodged her tiny fist, “Paige, it’s time for you to do something else now. Right now I am reading to Gary and Penny. Later on I will play with you.” She immediately raised her eyebrows to unbelievable heights and pointed at my lap, “Me?” “No, Paige. You can’t sit in my lap right now.” She bounced off the couch and proceeded to point at each item in the room that she could lift her saying, “Me? Me?” All the while raising her eyebrows and cocking her head. When she found that I said “No.” too many times, she sat down to shatter the hopes and dreams of the captain and first mate.
Later that afternoon, I had to go to work and went to the bathroom to get ready. I got dressed, put up my hair with one of those huge clips that looks like a claw and opened the door. Right outside was my little 5 year old friend looking starry eyed and wistful. She looked me up and down saying “Oh!” and making big motions with her hands. The inspection ended with her asking me to turn around and kneel. I did as she asked and was rewarded with a tiny shriek of excitement. “Oh,” she squealed for the 11th time, “I love your hair. It looks so professional! Can you do my hair like that?” I checked my watch, “Sure, but we’ll have to do it fast. I have to go soon.” “Ok.” She hurriedly searched through her mother’s hair-thing box trying to be as businesslike as possible. Finding what she wanted, she ran back to me. I did up her hair as fast as I could while she expressed how lovely it was and how her mom was going to be astonished by how professional she looked. Her mother was very impressed, so Penny marched through the house proclaiming that she was a professional now. She ended our hairdressing appointment with a request for me to let her help me work at the office. Unfortunately, that didn't work out.
After many different escapades with the three, I came to a conclusion; Gary builds a masterpiece, Penny writes its life story, and Paige owns it.