Friday, November 25, 2011

The Day After Thanksgiving, a (humorous) essay

It’s the day after Thanksgiving—“Black Friday,” as the media calls it. We are taking care of our three grandchildren—Natalie, age 8 (in 3 months), Zach, age 9 (in 2 months), and Dylan, age 11 (in 20 days).

Natalie and I have pie for breakfast. I have pumpkin with huge clouds of whipped cream—the kind that squirts from a can. Natalie has Marie Callender razzleberry, a family favorite, without whipped cream. She had four slices yesterday. She will undoubtedly bargain for another piece after lunch. Good thing I baked two.

The boys have not had pie, but I've found silver wrappers and ribbons from Hershey’s kisses lying around. That was the dessert for non-pie lovers, and they have been sneaking candy from the freezer.

Nathan, our autistic adult son, is foraging for food—his favorite pastime. He loves pie, both kinds.

Mollie, our Lhasa-poo, is harassing Mikey, the kids’ tiger cat, and Mikey is inviting the harassment. Occasionally, they stop to sniff each other—curiosity overcoming the natural dog-cat animosity.

Dylan runs through the house periodically, talking baby talk to Mikey and Molly (“M & M”). He wavers between pre-teen cynicism and innocent joy. Zach, as usual, is entranced by a computer game, but makes a kitchen stop for grapes and a brief spat with Natalie. (Who hit who first?) Zach is getting along with Dylan today. He wavers between hero worship of and bitter disputes with Dylan, often about the Wii or other electronic games.

Natalie plunks the Christmas suggestion box on my half-solved crossword puzzle, insisting that I might want to read the contents. She has put in a lot of suggestions. The boys haven’t put in any. They are too busy with computer games.

Natalie is watching a show about women shopping for wedding dresses. (I worry that her interest in this program means that she will do something rash like get married at age 16.) She discusses the dresses with her grandpa. I smile when I hear him give his opinion that one is too ruffled and frilly. He walks into the kitchen and says, “I had planned to go to my office this morning—and here I am watching a show about dresses.” I am relieved when Natalie abandons the show and demands a turn on the computer.

My husband takes Nathan for a walk, and then escapes to his office, leaving me as referee among opposing forces and unreliable guardian of candy and pie.

At lunch, Dylan tells me a joke:

Dylan: Grandma, you need to call a doctor for me.

Me: Why is that?

Dylan: My butt has a crack in it, and I need a new one.

Tell me this isn’t better than venturing out into the shopping hordes where crazy ladies might assault you with pepper spray.