Thursday, November 12, 2015

The piercing eyes of children.

My nephew is staying with us for a couple of days. Teacher’s are on strike, part of a unified front on the part of social service workers. My nephew is the oldest of two nephews, my brother's kids. He’s in the second grade now. His little brother is in kindergarten, and he's with the other grandparents. My brother often separates them for long-stay babysitting since together they're a cloud of kicks and farts. 

Last night my nephew read to me a little, which was really sweet. He also asked me 101 questions at one point while I was watching a video. The film, Instababy, is about two young women who want to have a baby, and are able to negotiate adoption through Instagram. While watching it, my nephew asked if the video I was watching was "making me sad," I said it wasn't, but that the people in the video were trying to have a baby and sometimes when people can't have a baby, it can be really sad. He asked why they couldn't, and I explained that they weren't able to make one together since they were two girls. He asked why two girls couldn't make a baby, and I tried to explain but I told him it’s a little complicated and gave up. He got distracted and moved on for a minute or two, and then asked me if I was sad that I didn't have a baby, and that I wasn't married, and that I lived with my mother.

He asked it pretty nonchalantly, and I was a little floored by how quickly and easily he asked such loaded questions. I told him I didn't want to get married, and that I was living “at home” so I could save up some money to buy my own place. I told him I didn't want a baby, but I wanted a dog. He said his dog Jack is as good as mine, and I said it wasn't since I don’t see him often. This answer annoyed him.

He then quickly asked why anybody would want a baby, “they’re messy and cry and smell.” I told him he was a baby once, and that he should ask his parents what made them want babies, and that maybe that would help him understand. He then went on to tell me about a boy in his class who has no siblings, and how boring that sounded. I told him to be grateful for his little brother, and he told me to be grateful for mine.

"You're lucky, your brother is only two years younger than you. My brother is eight years older than me. When I was your age he was already in high school, so he was too old to play with me."

"What? Why didn't he play with you?"

"Because he was so much older than me."

"But why wouldn't he play with you?"

"Because I was a kid, and he was a teenager."

"But why?"

"Well we never went to the same schools. He was in high school."

"Am I in high school?"

"No, you're in grade school. There's grade school, until grade 6, then high school, then other types of school depending on what you'd like to learn."

"I like art and gym."

"Well, when you're older you can choose to learn all about art. I did a lot of school. I went for a very long time. I went to a school where you do art on computers."

"WHAT!? That's crazy."

"Yah, it's fun but I don't make any money."

"Money?"

Our conversation went on like that for a little while. Getting him to bed was a real hoot. We read through some of my National Geographic books and then he insisted he take a shower, and when I laughed at his entrenched need to delay going to bed, he got annoyed and yelled: "I played outside today! I'm very dirty!"

I'm on my way back home now, he's with us until Saturday. 

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