The girls and I spend most Tuesday and Thursday mornings with Chrysanthemum and her kids. Chrysanthemum is lucky enough to have one of each, a girl and an alien being from the planet Jane, How does this work?
Rachel is the same age as my Susan (4) and Jacob is the same age as my Spot (2). Rachel is the most placid kid I’ve ever met. Even in the minivan, where she’s exiled to the lonely middle seat while the others ride in the back and watch the movie, Rachel is content.
But Jacob is another story. That boy is not quiet or incurious or eagerly agreeable, if you know what I’m saying.
Things are fine on Tuesdays and Thursday mornings though, when Sally is busy negotiating the social structures of the second grade.
On a fine Saturday morning, however, when we are babysitting while Chrysanthemum and her husband dress rehearse for the church Christmas program, it’s a whole new dynamic.
(And it’s almost enough to make me wish I were at bit more musically inclined.)
Sally is used to being the leader of the little people. She objects to being lumped in with “the kids,” but she condescends to being known as the leader of the little people, despite my sweet mother-in-law’s objection that this might be offensive to the persons in TLC’s Little People, Big World reality TV show.
(I think if you’re willing to be filmed for a reality TV show, you probably won’t get your knickers in a twist over a seven-year old calling her sisters “little people”). (Because reality show stars are big-hearted like that).
This morning Susan shared her paints with Jacob, who refreshed his muddy water at a rate consistent with his fascination for the water that comes out of the door of the fridge. Spot did some hard time in the laundry room after slapping Rachel for breathing on her dolly stroller, and Sally decided, after repeatedly expressing her gratitude, loudly, for not having any brothers, that the fort in the loft is now a Girls Club.
Dick is, after all, male. Also, his ears were being pierced by the screams emitting from the other male person in the room.
Sally said she would make a separate Boys Club for whenever Jacob is over to play.
This satisfied no one but Sally, Susan, Spot, Rachel, and me. Which is to say that it satisfied everyone but the two male persons who found that to be rather discriminatory. Or, in other words, the screaming from the short male person was not stopped by Sally’s campaign promises of equal facilities and equal opportunities for hiding from the grown-ups.
And I guess I can’t blame Jacob. It probably wouldn’t be any fun to hide out in a Boys Club by yourself. For one thing, one of the main components of a club is the other members, so how could a club of one be even remotely equal to a club of four?
I thought about taking Sally aside for a quick rundown on Civil Rights, beginning with the War Between the States and Brown v. Board of Education and continuing on to Rosa Parks and Caroline Kennedy, who deserves that senate seat even if her husband didn’t cheat on her because DANG she wears pearls well.
But by the time I had prepared to fight this threat to justice everywhere, Jacob had agreed to Sally’s suggestion that they go string bracelets from the plastic bead collection.
Because, you see, there are no girl toys and boy toys, no Girls Club and Boys Club. Only love and harmony and SHARING, at our house.