The other day, a friend of mine was in town and stopped by for a visit. I was incredibly happy to see her given the fact that it had been a little over 5 months since our last get together. This time however, she had her 4-year-old with her. This was a problem for 2 reasons:
First, my house is not kid-friendly and, 2) neither am I. I don’t dislike all kids, you understand. Just the ones that are very self-absorbed. You know the type: always asking you for things and always wanting you to witness their latest “trick”.
This one was extra Mariah Carey that day. He started off by calling me Jem, very “I don’t know her” of him. But I actually liked that 80s cartoon so I didn’t correct him. It wouldn’t have mattered, though, because getting my name wrong wasn’t the problem. Saying it ad nauseam was.
“Jem. Jem. Jem. Hey Jem. Look Jem.” What could possibly be of that much importance, he’s only 4. It went like this for the next hour, each question and proclamation more nails on a chalkboard than the last.
He began by pointing out the Xbox controller on my coffee table. “Hey Jem, is that an Xbox controller? I like Xbox.” Me too, I replied. “Can I play your Xbox, Jem?” I’m sorry but no he could not. I’m currently playing Evil Within 2 and my score is logged online and I don’t need some overactive toddler making me appear to not know how to survive a zombie invasion.
Could I have switched out the games? Sure, but all of my games are zombie games and I don’t like to share and my husband just has Madden, which I know nothing about, and Grand Theft Auto, which I’m sure my friend wouldn’t have enjoyed watching her son murder a hooker because he doesn’t want to pay her. Even I know that.
The requests continued. “Hey Jem, let’s go look outside.” “Hey Jem, can I take the duck out of your pool?” “Hey Jem, what happens if I throw rocks in your pool?” “Hey Jem, is that your bedroom? I’m going to jump on your bed!” “Hey Jem, can I eat the pizza in your fridge?”
Oh. My. God. I genuinely can’t remember the conversation between my friend and I because he interrupted every 30 seconds like a goddamn egg timer. Not even cartoons kept him quiet. He was jumping on the couch, running around everywhere. One interruption after another.
Then he said, “hey Jem, check this out!” and did some weird leg shuffle. What did I just check out? The answer is nothing. You’ve shown me nothing and now I know why Simon Cowell is such a jerk on those talent shows.
It reminded me of the time my friend’s then 13-year-old was on an I-can-do-anything kick. One day she showed me a video of herself strumming a ukulele and proudly proclaimed “look, I can play the ukulele!” Can you play any songs, I asked. No. Do you know any chords? No. So I kindly explained to her that she, in fact, could not play the ukulele because strumming it was not playing it and she should stop telling people that she could. She has since quit (or never actually got started if we’re being technical) the ukulele.
I didn’t tell this 4-year-old that his little shuffle was garbage, I know you were wondering. Instead, I looked away so he would go do something else. And that, my friends, is how I know I’m maturing. I’m 37.