It is a well-known fact that I am not a huge fan of kids. I could delve into the reasons again or you could just watch “Children of the Corn” and figure it out for yourself. Despite this wish to steer clear of any person who cannot manage to wipe themselves, I constantly find myself in the company of these tiny 1:4 ratio models of people.
I found myself in this situation again this weekend, spending time with my wife’s… uh…is he her second-cousin? First cousin once removed? Great-half-cousin 3 times removed on her father’s side? Clearly I am not a genealogist. Point being, he is one of those needy creatures.
Having rarely been around this lad, I expected to lay low and make it out unscathed. Maybe I would, when he looked away, steal a couple of his Goldfish crackers, but aside from that, our contact would be at a minimum.
Immediately, I realized I was wrong.
“Read this,” he said, thrusting a book into my lap. Little known fact: kids do not have great manners. You never hear a child say “Please, could you do me a favor and read this narration of the movie “Cars” to me? Oh, you say you would prefer to watch TV? That’s no problem.” It is usually more along the lines of thrusting and demanding.
As a person who has never raised a child, my ability to tell children “no” is very low. I mean, I would probably say “no” if they were about to take a weed-whacker to their brother or sister or if they were about to stick a fork in an electrical socket. When they want me to read, though, I am just happy that neither of these things are happening that I forget that I do not have to follow the orders of the toddler.
I began to read the story of Humpty Dumpty. For those who have never heard the story, it involves an egg-shaped man who falls and cracks himself. For some reason, Humpty does not go to a hospital, but instead has horses and the king’s servants try to put him back together. Surprisingly, they cannot.
I finished the book and sat it down. The child laughed and picked it up.
“Read it again,” he said.
I was flattered. I mean, I have always fancied myself a story-teller. I was pretty sure I could spin a good yarn if need be. My rendition of “The Idiot Eggman Who Was Sitting In a Place He Shouldn’t Have Been” was so great, though, that I had been called on for an encore.
I began to read again. The details became more embellished. The horses were using glue to put the man back together (ironically, that glue was probably made from their relatives). Humpty Dumpty grew more emotional and the panic of the king’s men was evident in my voice.
I closed the book. Once more, he laughed.
“Again,” he said.
For those who have never read the story of Humpty Dumpty three times in a row, it can become very boring. There are not a lot of cliffhangers in that story, so once you know whether the horses’ glue will work or not, the story is a bit dull. Nevertheless, I powered through.
“Again,” he said.
Three more times I read this story. The look in the eyes of Humpty said, “Seriously. They won’t be able to put me together. Shouldn’t you be watching ESPN or something? Stop wasting your time.” The embellished details became simpler and simpler until I was reading a story in monotone.
“Again,” he said.
“What about another book?” I asked, gesturing to the stack of books he had next to him. “Why don’t we read one of these books?”
He thought carefully about my proposal. I was not saying that reading time had to be over. I just did not care to read about Humpty again. He crawled off of the couch and went to the pile of books. After a few seconds, he picked one up and brought it back.
It was another book about Humpty Dumpty.
I sighed and glanced at the kitchen. There, adults sat enjoying food and adult conversation. They were not speaking about the odds that a man could be glued together. They were having BLT’s. As a big fan of B and T, I was very jealous.
That is when I made the decision. I would tell the fastest version of Humpty Dumpty in human history, then escape to the table.
“Humpty fell, horses, glue, guys. NOPE! The end.” And with that, I was gone.
He followed me to the table and we sat down, eating our sandwiches. Clearly his feelings were not hurt as he was willing to bestow the greatest honor a kid can give.
“We are the best good boys,” he said. “We are.”
I do not know what that means, but I take it as a compliment. I might even add it to my résumé. Probably under special achievements.
Comparing him to any sort of murderous, horror movie children is not fair. He is a good kid. In fact, and I feel a bit strange saying this, I did not mind spending time with him. I would do it again.
You know, as long as he wipes his own butt. I did not sign up for that.
- Make Your Own Humpty Dumpty: A New Online Workshop on Craftsy! (whileshenaps.typepad.com)