My father phoned the other day to report on a report about my son that he’d gotten from his town’s librarian.
Every Wednesday, you see, our babysitter takes The Champ to the library for story time.
"He used to be so quiet. So shy," the librarian laughed as my dad probably sniggered silently (and uncontrollably) before emitting the short blast of "HA!" It is a laugh trait I never really noticed before my son inherited it.
I also happen to know that my son likes to sit as close to the librarian as physically possible without actually sitting in her lap. (I’m certain he didn’t get this from my dad). I get reports, too.
But I digress.
"Now it is pretty clear he has an opinion about everything and he’s not afraid to share it," the librarian continues.
He’s been known to storm clear across the room so he can lay his random* thoughts on some unsuspecting kid, who was just patiently waiting for the craft table to open up, and bellow in his big-boy voice: "MY MOM IS WORKING!" or "MY SCHOOL BUS ISN’T COMING."
He gets his randomness* from me I’m afraid. But I submit there’s a reason why I’m suddenly talking about the cat while discussing the disappearance of The Champ’s hand-me-down yellow and blue winter coat.
"Oh, glad you found it. Yes, yes. I was wondering what happened to his coat. … That STUPID cat!" (*It’s not really random. I blame the animal for its vanishing.)
My son’s communicative skills are blossoming with such speed I think it’s forcing him to stutter:
"My-my-my-my dad is working," he says with a smile, pointing as we pass the garbage hauler. "He-He-He-He drives that truck."
I try not to worry about the repetition. Ittybit did the same thing. And the glint in his eye with his devilish grin leads me to believe all is well.
Not to mention the slight tinge of Eddie Haskellism he shares with his sister.
"He was so cute, today," the librarian tells my dad. "A little girl started crying and he went over and put his arm around her. ‘It’s ok, It’s OK’ he said."
I could hear my dad’s pride swell.
"Yeah, but what she doesn’t know is that he spent the morning trying to balance things on her head while she screamed for him to stop."
Sweet, adorable, amenable Champ, who quietly goes about doing whatever it is he wants to as the rest of the world spins on three feet above his head.
He’s already figured out we’ll blame the cat.
"MOM! RAT!!!" screamed Ittybit one morning as we were ready to leave the house.
"Wha ….?" I stammer as I tug my attention away from trying to pull both of the boy’s lower limbs out of his left pant leg.
I hulk over to the place from which she’s jumped three feet. The place where she found what appeared to be (from my viewing of it) the headless, tailless torso of a squirrel wedged between the cushions of a chair.
I jump back four feet.
"That's no rat."
My mind races with squirrel-like precision: Wha? Oh my g… I don’t want to touch … How am I … Cat. Outside. Call husband … double bag my hands? What kind of sick, twisted pet hides their kills in a chair? What do I do … the body? Uh .... CAAAAAAAAAAAAT!
After pacing back and forth, I find plastic bags and make my approach. I peel away the cushion and the thing flops lightly onto the seat.
Weightless and airy -- like bread gone stale overnight. ... Just as if it were the last crust of olive bread the boy begged for the previous night.
… When he was sitting in that chair.
I turn around to see The Champ all squinty-eyed and silly, looking right at me: