In summer of 2010 we packed up all three boys and took them to visit my family in (deep south) Arkansas – land of heat and humidity so thick you need gills to breathe. I was born and raised there and while I was disinclined to do anything terribly active, my skin? Was SO VERY happy. TheKid has spent more years in humid climates than not and he moves as little as possible anyway so he was fine. My husband and the two youngest, well, they’re born and raised Idahoians. High desert boys. You introduce high humidity to their systems and it ain’t pretty.
Kids adapt well though. And boys are boys. And my parents have turned their back “yard” into a veritable country playland paradise. (There were 3, now 4, grandchildren living nearby) We’re talking a tree house, horse shoes, a tree swing, various and random toys, a battery operated jeep, and – best of all – a gigantic dirt pile complete with assorted shovels and buckets. In short, the boys happily braved the heat and humidity. Whenever an inevitable emotional meltdown occurred, usually courtesy of LilBit, we took that as a heat alarm and made them come inside to rest and cool off.
Much to my dismay, Lilbit’s absolute favorite toy while we were there was a rubber snake. Why? I have NO IDEA. But that stupid thing was with him CONSTANTLY. Clutched in his grimy little hand, dangling out his pocket, draped around his neck. I drew the line at it coming inside. I really hate snakes, rubber or not.
One afternoon the kids were happily playing outside when a blood curdling scream ripped up the back porch and through the house. Somehow I made it out the door first, fully expecting to find a blood soaked child and bones protruding at odd angles. Instead I found Lilbit standing on the bottom step, sobbing hysterically over his rubber snake. Upon questioning he angrily pointed at TheKid and screamed “HE SHOT MY SNAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
TheKid? Was standing there dumbfounded, plastic pistol in hand.
I turned to LilBit. And incredulously said “Wait. You screamed. Because he PRETENDED to shoot your PRETEND snake with a PRETEND gun?!!? GO INSIDE. NOW.”
And that will stand out as one of the most absurd moments I’ve ever had in parenting.