Thursday, December 4, 2008

I Am So Evolved

So remember earlier in the fall when I was talking about our car pool situation, with the terrible A? I haven't posted about it much since, simply because things quieted down. This is not to say they got better--Jack and A didn't suddenly become friends. They just stopped talking at all. It was weird at first, but after awhile I got used to it.

So on Monday, A gets in the car, turns to Jack, and says, "I'm tired of this feud. Let's call a truce, okay?" Jack said okay, and that was that.

I have mixed feelings about this truce. On the one hand, it's probably a good thing in general, nicer to be friends and what have you. On the other hand, as long as A and Jack weren't talking, A couldn't be a terrible influence on Jack's behavior.

But now they're talking. And today, when I picked them up for school, they asked if they could have a play date. At our house. Well, what's a girl supposed to do?

It's been a long time since A has been to our house, and it wasn't until he padded down the stairs halfway through the playdate that I remembered: When it comes to snacks, A is a self-helper.

I have discussed this with friends, and we've all agreed: There is nothing more annoying than the playdate guest who walks into your kitchen, opens the fridge or the pantry door without so much as a how-do-you-do (and you can be standing right there, it doesn't matter) and helps himself. Or herself. Could be cheese, could be chocolate. Could be the leftover chicken you're planning on reheating for dinner.

Or in the case of A, it's peppermints. He knows I've got 'em, and he wants 'em. So he takes them. Doesn't ask. Doesn't tell. Just grabs.

The thing is, I don't care about the peppermints--or the cookies or the crackers or what have you (it's never bananas or carrot sticks, have you noticed?). It's the principle of the thing. It's the horrible, terrible bad manners of it all.

In the past, I used to fume whenever A stuck his greedy paws into the Brach's Starlite Mint bag and grabbed a fistful. But today, for reasons I can't explain, I was so chill. Maybe today I finally realized it doesn't matter. The food doesn't matter. The etiquette violation doesn't matter.

All that matters is that A is not my kid.

I don't have to raise him, teach him manners or respect. I don't have to worry about whether or not he grows up to be a thief or a drug addict, a college student who cheats on take home exams, an adult who cheats on his wife and his taxes. My only job with A is to do whatever I can to make sure he doesn't break his leg while playing in my backyard. Easy enough.

So I didn't fuss or fume or feel the least bit resentful as I watched this child eat all of my peppermints (I'm pretty sure I saw him stuffing some into his pocket, too). Have as much as you'd like, I said, and smiled a big, benevolent smile. I have transcended. I am Buddha Mom.

At least for today.


Victoria said...

I have to say I havn't even encountered among my kids friends (some who are ratty) a "self-helper" in the realms of food yet. It's remarkable concept. Please please keep us updated with the events surrounding A!

Victoria said...

p.s. loved - All that matters is that A is not my kid.

Tracy said...

A is lucky he was helping himself at your place....he'd get a very swift reproof at mine! Heck, I don't even let the kid who brings his own snack to graze all day. It drives me nuts. Last time he came to visit without Mum I told him "You need to finish your lunch and eat all your apple cos once it's finished I won't feed you until the kids come home from school". It was a two hour window...but I don't do grazing. Funnily enough, his mother thinks this is the most marvelous of ideas and has begun to do the same!

Well done for being so gracious!

Heather said...

Well done. I also beam transcendentally when my 3 year old insists his two friends should "stop fussing and share". But, it fades pretty fast when he decides whacking them with a plastic golf club works better than diplomacy.