This is one of my favorite pictures of my grandson Christian, now six. Looking for trouble and loving it. We sort of knew what to expect when he was still a baby. Before he could walk he was tearing around in his walker, flailing the stick from his sister’s Easy Bake Oven. The kid always liked sticks. You had to move fast.
When he was one and walking, but you still couldn’t understand what he was saying, he’d get mad and let loose a torrent of abuse – gibberish really, but you knew by the tone and the finger-pointing it wasn’t good. His mother was left to say things like, “Don’t you take that tone with me, young man!” Which was complete nonsense, of course, but must have given her the illusion of control.
When he was two, he broke my nose. My fault actually. I was pushing him in their backyard swing when his little sister Grace came toddling by. It looked like the swing was going to clobber her, so I bent over to grab it and, momentum being what it is, Christian’s head met my nose. Crushed it. Lots of little bone pieces in there. When I looked up, the two of them were staring at me, innocent and clueless, as is the nature of grandchildren. I figure I saved Grace’s life, and she’ll give me some money one day.
When Christian was old enough for preschool, his mother signed him right up, hoping he would learn to get along with other little boys like him. There were no other little boys like him. And he didn’t like any of them. After yet another bad report, she said despairingly, “My God! My son is the bully!”
He got over it though. He has friends now and everything. In fact, I worry that he may be a little too sensitive and someone will hurt his feelings. You can’t win at this grandparent thing.