“So, how come you’re over there?” I asked my grandson. He was sitting in a corner quietly mumbling to himself. He was the picture of a hangdog eight year old.
“Mom told me to come sit here by myself.” he said with puppy dog eyes.
“Oh yeah, how come she did that?”
“Well, it’s really, really funny. I was just getting a pudding from the ‘fridge and putting it in the cooler and mom must have thought I was trying to have a pudding because she just told me I had to come over here.”
“It seems to me that some of this story might be missing.” said Jason, my daughter’s partner. “What do you say, Liam? Did you leave anything out?”
“Well, mom said to me not to have pudding, but you know, I was just moving the pudding. I wasn’t eating it.”
“Why were you moving the pudding?” I asked.
“Because I wanted to make sure that it got put in there. Gosh, we sure wouldn’t want to forget it.”
“Hmmmm.” said Jason. “That one pudding needed to be put into the cooler when all of the puddings were going to be put in the cooler? Sorry, dude. Your story’s looking a little thin.”
My daughter strolled into the living room and saw the clot of people and asked what was up. I explained that Liam was just explaining how she had sent him to the corner for moving a pudding. “Wow, Liam. Did we leave a little of this out? Maybe the part where you asked for a pudding and I said no. And you asked again and I said no. And you kept asking and I kept saying no? And when I stepped out of the kitchen and then back in, there you were in mid-grab, getting a pudding. Oh! I know, it was when you got snippy with me about how it was just a simple pudding that you got sent to the corner. ”
My grandson looked crushed. “Well, it was a little like that, maybe. I mean, I was really trying to put the pudding in a better place.”
“Yes, and we all know what that place is, too. Right in the old belly button.” said my daughter. “But it’s okay. You can go now. I just wanted you out from underfoot.” The boy shot up and disappeared around the corner. A second later, he came back licking the pudding off of a spoon.
“Uh oh.” said Jason.
“Oh, boy.” I said.
“Liam!” shouted my daughter.
“What?” he said with the innocence of a gathering of angels.
“What are you doing with that pudding?” barked the irked mother.
“Eating it.” he said as matter of factly as if he was telling time. “You just told me it was okay and to go get a pudding.”
“No, I told you punishment was over and that you could go. I didn’t say okay go get a pudding.”
“Well, I thought that’s what you meant.” he said as my daughter snatched it from his hands. She carried it to the kitchen trash and tossed in the disposable cup.”
“I think you knew exactly what I meant, so now we’re just going to store the pudding away for another day.”
“But we’re driving in the car all the way home. That’s a million miles. A man gets mighty hungry on a trek like that.” I looked at Jason, he looked at my daughter and we all burst out laughing. “What?” the boy asked.
“A man gets hungry?” I asked, smiling widely. “That was spectacular.”
“You know what I say if someone, and intruder, breaks into the house? I hide in the shadows and when he comes by, I jump out behind him and yell ‘freeze, pinhead.’ Pretty cool, huh?”
“Not bad, but then what? What if he comes at you with murder and mayhem in his eyes?” I asked him.
“I haven’t got that plan fully completed. It may require some modifications.”
“My God, who talks that way at eight?” I asked.
Liam beamed and pushed out his chest. “Me!” he said triumphantly.
“Give the kid a pudding.” I said. I looked at my daughter and found her holding one out.
“Wow, family parenting is great.” said Jason. “When mom is a pushover.”
“Well,” I sniffed. “I’m a grandfather. It’s my job to spoil him, give him tons of sugar and little sleep, and return him in a psychotic fugue.”
“And you’re really good at it.” beamed my daughter.
We all meandered off, doing the things we were doing as they prepared to leave. I waited for my daughter to send the boy to a pre-trip bathroom stop. Right after he came out I’d give him a glass of lemonaid and a popcicle, guaranteeing that the trip would include a midway stop.