Ancient History

Follow Me?



Something funny happens to the kids when guests come over, like last night. Close to the designated guest-arrival time, the kids begin to huddle around the front door, ready to spring on the unsuspecting guests with their own brand of shock and awe. Like runners lined up for a sprint, they are poised to blast off when the gun (or in our case, the doorbell) sounds.

The first thing on the agenda, before the guests can remove their coats, put down their bags, hand over the goodies they brought with them, or breathe, is the “grand tour.” It includes all the important historical details good guided tours include:

Who died there? A mouse! In the middle of the kitchen floor while daddy was at work one day. Mommy screamed! And screamed!

Who slept there? Here is mommy and daddy’s room. Joel sleeps in here too. And sometimes when we get scared, we do too. Or when we get up too early. Or when we are out of water or need to go potty or we are bored in the middle of the night. We come in here to sleep. Mommy and daddy don’t mind–see their big bed? We all fit. Except for mommy and daddy.

Is it haunted? It is haunted with the ghosts of dead mice that squeak in the night and there are a couple of monsters. And we don’t like the downstairs bathroom because spiders live in there. One might bite your butt! So don’t go in there.

Other typical tour high-points are hit: the location of Major Battles and Minor Skirmishes, the Dirty-Laundry Room (I hear this is one of the highlights of the guided tour you can take at Bill Clinton’s new Presidential Library), and where the dog threw up on the couch (hey, it’s right where you are sitting!!)

Once the kids are satisfied that all details of family life have been sufficiently shared, “show and tell” time occurs. This is different from the grand tour. Sammy is particularly good at this part of having guests: He likes to bring them every toy he has ever played with and he explains the toy in depth—where it came from, the occasion it was given or bought, the commercial jingle used to advertise the item, and the pros and cons of the toy. Then he leaves them in the guests’ laps. When my aunt, uncle, grandma, and cousin came to visit us after the birth of Joel about a year ago, they were literally buried in toys. I couldn’t see them, so I simply directed my side of the conversation to the big piles of plastic, stuffed animal googly eyes, and dumptruck wheels mounded on the couch.

Another phenomenon that happens when guests are over: the sudden embarrassingly rampant need to talk about bodily functions. Just last night:

“Somebody wipe me! Somebody wipe me! Somebody wipe me!” The repetitive rapid-fire shouting broke through the dinner conversation with our guests. One of the boys had abandoned the table five minutes prior to go potty and apparently he wanted all to know that his mission was accomplished.

The kids also become overwhelmed with the need to show off in other ways–especially dancing. With guests in the house, the living room suddenly turns into the set of “American Bandstand”. All that is missing is the disco ball. And Dick Clark.

I suppose this all means that the kids are friendly, eager, and proud to share their home and their family with others. I hope the guests we have realize that it is a compliment to be welcomed into the world of the kids with such enthusiasm. I hope they aren’t irritated, or expecting a night full of witty adult conversation and children that are seen but not heard. If so, they came to the wrong house.

1 comment to Guests

  • hamster

    Our dog is like your kids. She sleeps until she hears someone at the door, then she grabs her favorite toy, runs to the door, jumping and licking everyone in sight. Guests always look ar me like “what an unruly animal.” I guess your kids don’t like the guests. . .

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