Telling time and getting to bed
This morning’s news is full of big questions.
Will the President ask for the Attorney General’s resignation? Will Sean Spicer replacement fill the bill? Will O.J. Simpson make a successful transition from prison to private life? Will we be able to broker a peace in Syria? How will the ACA be modified?
But last night, there were other questions.
We were privileged to listen in on an exchange that raised, at least for the conversants, questions of equal importance.
The conversation began in the back seat of my car as we drove our grandsons home from an evening of grilled chicken sandwiches and trivia to a “half hour with your friend Lucas and then to bed.”
I have to put that in quotes because it underscores that I was attempting to be the responsible grandparent rather than the one who spoils them rotten.
The response to my grandmother statement of bed time limits was a rather loud dual whine followed by an attempt to convince me that their mother, my daughter, allowed them to stay up much later followed by an exploration of what seemed to be the ultimate fantasy bedtimes.
“I stay up passed 10 sometimes,” the oldest one said.
“No you don’t,” countered the younger.
“Yes. You were asleep while I was awake”
Well, I am asking Mommy if I can stay up all night,” the younger was jockeying for position.
A bravado laced, “I stayed up to 12 o’clock”, was a statement by the older brother to check mate his sibling’s all night wishes.
This went back and forth until we reached camp when the neighbor, a young man of about 7 entered into the conversation at the point when I told the boys that they could play together for 15 minutes.
After that we would have some ice cream and get ready for bed.
The neighbor boy was incredulous.
“You have to go to bed now? I’m staying up until 10,” he said.
Before this discussion got out of hand, I interposed some adult reasoning about getting to bed at a reasonable hour because both grandsons were going to day camp in the morning.
For one of them, the next day was designated as “swamp day” when the campers apparently roll around in mud, much to their delight. Adults picking these children up after “swamp day” are advised to cover their cars seats with towels or tarps. Fun?!
The neighbor provided us with a long list of seductive things he would be doing while the grandkids were in bed.
It did seem like they were missing out of a lot…a campfire and s’mores and popsicles and glow sticks. On our side, our boys would have a dish of ice cream, get into their summer jammies and climb into their bunks. No contest here.
Off they went for the designated 15 minutes together.
Fifteen minutes later, grandma was calling her charges back emphasizing that there would be whipped cream out of a can and sprinkles too. You have to pull out all the stops when enticements of campfires and s’mores are the comparison.
They sat on the porch, enjoying their black raspberry ice cream with an assortment of toppings. I always have chocolate and caramel sauces at the ready. There was also the promised Reddi Whip and lots of multicolored and chocolate sprinkles.
The central question of the night continued.
“I think that I’ll stay up until 12 o’clock tonight”, boasted the neighbor.
“You are going to stay up to midnight?” asked the six year old. With great certainty, the 7 year old said, “No, 12 o’clock.”
“Twelve o’clock is midnight”, explained the 6 year old. The neighbor was sure that was not true.
“Midnight is ten o’clock”, he insisted.
“Grandma! When is midnight?”
Using all of my diplomatic abilities, I answered.
“In this house, 12 O’clock is midnight. It may thought to be another time in another house.”
OK, so that was lame, but it was the best I could do.
Little boys need to feel confident in some things.
I quickly asked if anyone wanted more ice cream, which seems to divert attention from the midnight question and its fall out.
It took another half hour to get them into their bunks. They fell asleep immediately while Lucas enjoyed his march to a 10 o’clock midnight.
And those seeking peace in the Middle East have more difficult questions?