A little known fact. It’s nearly impossible to write anything of substance when my 83 year old mother in law is reading Captain Underpants to my 6 year old in the other room. You should try it sometime. I gladly invite you into the chaos that is my home office. It can be downright entertaining at times…not so much to me but to the casual observer it’s quite a thrill.
I may have mentioned before that my home office is my computer on my lap in my bed. Fancy. I write here most days because the doors close and failing that I can hide in the bathroom with relative ease, jumping three steps from my bed and slamming the door behind me. I can even leave it plugged in by the bed as I dash off. Stealthy.
But when Grandma is here I don’t have to worry as much about interruption from my youngest. He’s content to make Grandma his personal assistant during her stay. She’s pretty much okay with that as well. She tells me he likes the attention but I suspect she likes the attention just as much.
Today, it’s Captain Underpants…not just one book either. They appear to be working their way through the entire series. Grandma reads fluently (and loudly) for many a paragraph and then stumbles a bit over the never ending parade of “underpants” “booger boy” “wedgie woman” and “Loogie Lad.” Her stumbling increases as I realize that she’s actually looking for a way to avoid the pothole words in every sentence. Alas, as one who’s “been there” that’s a losing proposition.
For the first 15 minutes I was annoyed. I really needed to write. It’s been too long since I wrote anything “serious.” No offense to the “serious” things I write for my many blogs, truly, I just had hoped to write something a little loftier…maybe hit on another poem for my “lover” series or a piece I can submit to “serious” scholarly journals….you remember, the ones to whom I send my jellybeans when in fact they are looking for Creme Brulee.
So I’m annoyed as I listen to this steady stream of snotty prose, this constant barrage of body fluid humor and then the ensuing push and pull of Grandma trying to steer Miles toward the book on American Presidents instead of Captain Underpants. I begin to hear things like “Wouldn’t it be fun to hear about the Presidents now?” or “This is a nice book, can we read a nice book now?” then “Grandma is tired of reading these, Miles. These are yucky. Let’s read something not yucky.”
This falls on deaf ears though. There’s no swaying that kid. He’s got what I like to call “staying power.” One day I’m sure this is going to be a GREAT trait, a STRONG and LIFEGIVING trait. It would be the kind of trait that will enable him to rescue entire colonies of kittens from evil alien invaders or maybe protest unjust laws being put into place by evil politicians. You never now. I’m not sure it’s going to be a great trait while he’s still living under my roof. I think that while I’m still responsible for his well being it’s just going to get on my last nerve.
Truth be told, I don’t mind reading Captain Underpants. I like it, actually. I think it’s clever and strangely enough, well written in it’s own way. What bothers me today as I write this is that I realize that no matter how I try I will never really get away from the fact that I am still the parent of smallish children. Even in moments when I ought to have some time “off” I’m still immersed in the chaos of it all. There’s simply no way around it. Perhaps the the “serious” stuff will come, I think I probably have it in me but not just now. This just happens to be the story of my life right now…and it is, in fact, beautiful…boogers and all.