Thursday, January 15, 2009

Fake Plastic Smiles

So, there's this kid that Tommy plays with.

I'll call him Blake.

Basically Blake irritates me. He's shown up at ten in the morning on weekends. And he doesn't ring the doorbell just once. He rings it over. And over. And over. Again.

One time I hoped Blake would get the message and go home. It was too early to deal with other people's children after all. But no. He kept ringing the doorbell and even started shouting, "Tommy? TOMMY?"

Blake also showed up on Thanksgiving. And Christmas. Wanting to play.

"No," I told him firmly.

"Please?" he begged.

What is with children talking back to adults? I find that a lot of them try to argue if I tell them no. In my day if an adult told me no, I dropped it. But not the kids of 2009. Oh no. If you give them a response that they're not happy with, well, they yak your ear off.

Blake always asks if Tommy can play when he sees me waiting at the bus stop after school.

"It's too cold," I explain to him.

"It isn't too cold for me," he'll answer brightly.

"Well, it is for Tommy," I respond sharply.

Sometimes he'll show up at the house anyway.

"I told you before. It's too cold," I'll say firmly.

Sometimes he likes to invite himself in. "Can I come in?" And then he'll start to reach for the handle of the screen door.

"No," I'll snap.

Sometimes I do allow him to come in. But then I always regret it. Because the boys will be playing in Tommy's room and then Blake will always come down the stairs.

"Excuse me? Tommy's Mom?"

And that's another thing. I've told him to call me Miss Amber. More than once. Actually, I wouldn't mind if kids just called me Amber. But I know parents can have issues with that. The whole respect thing. Which doesn't even matter because as I said before, most of the kids of today don't even HAVE respect. What I would HATE to be called is Ma'am. Yikes. I am not a ma'am. I am only 26 thankyouverymuch.

"Yes?" I'll say tightly.

"Tommy keeps bouncing on his bed. I don't like that," he'll tell me seriously.

I'll alert the media. Heaven forbid that Tommy JUMPS ON HIS OWN BED!

Of course I can't say that.

So I force a smile and shout out, "Tommy. Please don't jump on your bed. Your friend doesn't like it."

But then five minutes later Blake will be back downstairs.

"Tommy's Mom?"



"Yes?" At this point I have a scary smile plastered on my face because I just want to be LEFT ALONE.

"Tommy is playing with Transformers. I don't want to play with Transformers. Tell him to stop playing with Transformers."

For the love of--

So I'll go upstairs and remind Tommy that he has a guest and could he please play something that his guest wants to play?

Sometimes Tommy gets annoyed. "But why?" he'll ask.

And I'll have to re-explain the concept of a guest.

One time they started to play hide and seek. Blake couldn't find Tommy. So he came downstairs and was all, "Tommy's Mom? I can't find Tommy. Tell him to come out now. I'm mad."

You know what, Blake? I'm mad too. This is my quiet time. From 4 until 5 I allow the kids to watch irritating children's TV and that's the time that I like to dedicate to writing my novel. But I can't write my novel because you keep BUGGING me.

I don't say this.

Instead I force the scary smile on my face and try to use my nurturing voice. "Let's go see about finding that silly Tommy!" I try to be cheerful. I really do.

More often than not I end up sending Blake home after a half hour of him coming inside.

I make up some excuse.

"Tommy is helping me with dinner," I'll usually say. "So it's time for you to go home."

"But why?" Blake will always ask.

Are you DEAF? I just SAID why!

"Because he's helping me make dinner," I'll repeat gently.

Then Blake will usually screw his face up and be all, "Fine. I'm mad at Tommy anyway. He played Transformers and I didn't want to do that. I'm NEVER coming back to Tommy's house AGAIN!"

I have to chew my lower lip to keep from laughing.

Fine by me, kid.

Instead I say solemnly, "I'm sorry to hear that, Blake."

Sometimes Blake will say, "Well, I like YOU. But not TOMMY!" and he'll gesture wildly at Tommy.

In the past Tommy would get upset over this. He'd be all, "But why, Blake?"

Now Tommy knows that Blake uses empty threats and doesn't mean half of what he says. So Tommy will just shrug and go, "Well, I like you Blake."

Blake will look offended that Tommy no longer pouts and gets upset and will more often than not, stomp out of the house.

"GoodBYE!" he'll screech over his shoulder.

But sometimes he doesn't bother going home. Two seconds later he's at the door.

"Tommy's Mom? I don't want to walk home by myself. Can you walk me home?"

I'll have to explain that it's too cold and that I don't want to bring the baby out.

"Please?" he'll say.

"I can't bring the baby out. You'll be fine. It's not dark out. Bye bye now." And then I'll shut the door.

But then he'll ring the doorbell AGAIN.

"Please? I'm really scared," he'll continue.

Kid. Your home is like FOUR houses away.

Eventually I'll have to send Tommy out to walk him home. Sometimes Blake doesn't like this.

"I didn't ask for Tommy. I asked for YOU."

"Well sorry. I can't go outside with the baby."

So really, can you blame me for being annoyed?


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