Everybody conga!!!

J recognizes the joys of Thursday evening.  True to form, the ice cream truck showed up shortly after seven.  Dada and I looked like overeager bunnies running out to greet it…we were faster than the neighborhood kids and didn’t have to stand in line.  No, we didn’t say neener-neener or stick our tongues out at them…no need…by the time they arrived with their dollar bills in hand, we had the first two things we’d ordered and I was walking back home to where J and TGG were waiting.

These are the moments that we remember long after summer is over.  J sitting on the deck eating his cup of ice cream while listening to music and giggling.  TGG squatting near his brother, looking all of five years old in spite of the facial hair, tattoo and earrings…all because he got a chocolate soft-serve cone.  Nothing rewinds the clock momentarily like something we loved in our childhood welcomed with the same enthusiasm.  Anton Ego’s sudden childhood memory while tasting the meal Remy has cooked for him in Ratatouille comes to mind…

Thursday also means no school on Friday, and J sat outside until past nine o’clock.  He was very happy out there…and “sat” is merely a way of saying he stayed outside because we could see him dancing from one side of the deck to the other.  At one point, we couldn’t stop laughing because, with the door closed, we couldn’t hear music, but J seemed to be channeling Betty Garrett’s conga line -when the whole Brazilian Navy follows her home- from My Sister Eileen.  That J’s dancing and leaping were punctuated with giggles and squeals of joy was quite enjoyable.  Of course, we had to pretend like we couldn’t see him, or -at least- like we were not paying close attention…otherwise, he would have stopped out of sheer self-consciousness.

It was already eleven P.M. when J called it a night, and he didn’t rise until after 7 this morning.  It’s been go-go-go since then.  We have worked on a small pile of laundry, cleaned the kitchen, taken out the trash and, when the sun was not yet biting too hard, we went outside and watered our plants.  While we were on the deck, a neighbor walked by with her basset hound puppy, and J seemed to be paying close attention to the less-threatening looking dog he’s seen around the neighborhood in a while.

A little before eleven this morning, we re-arranged his patio furniture.  J loves seeing furniture placed in different manner from time to time.  This seems to have worked quite well.  From where he is sitting, we can see each other and this has lessened the instances of him coming up to the sliding glass door, pressing his nose against it and, with a loud giggle, instructing me to remain seated.

Tomorrow temperatures are supposed to soar, so we’re thinking of leaving for Farmers’ Market much earlier than usual and being home by nine so we can take J for his swim.  Perhaps TGG will want to take him to see The Amazing Spiderman or, heaven help us, the Katy Perry concert movie.  Today while we were running, we had Katy singing Firework, and J was so happy and so into it that I was glad I’d turned off the ceiling fans.  His arms enthusiastically up in the air as he jumped up and down to the music would have been too close to the blades.  Granted, the harm these things can cause is minimal because the blades are made of compressed sawdust; I do worry that he might bump his hand and then be forevermore scared of ceiling fans, but I also worry that -with his large, powerful hands- J will accidentally tear off the fan and we’ll (to quote Ricky Ricardo) “some ‘splainin’ to do” at the office.

Speaking of which…

Since Wednesday was a holiday, the management office for the complex opened yesterday morning and closed at noon.  J went to school, came home, and then -at around three- wanted to go check the mail.  Once down there, he wanted to visit the office for the same thing he goes every day (to paraphrase The Brain) CANDY!  Well, THAT was an interesting bout of negotiation between us.  J was absolutely refusing to budge, even though I showed him that the manager’s car wasn’t there, and I told him -quite clearly- that the office was closed.

And that’s when things got testy…

I have never owned a mule, but I know how stubborn they can be.  I know this, mainly, because my great-grandfather often told me I reminded him a mule he’d owned sometime around 1910.  He was very descriptive about this animal, and even though none of my aunts recalled the existence of this animal, he would refer to this mule whenever one of us seemed to be disinclined to listen “to reason.”  Yesterday, as I tried to negotiate walking home with uncooperative J (look for the new Mattel inaction figure coming soon to a toy department near you,) I could hear my great-grandfather saying “just wait ’til you’re trying to get someone to do what you want them to do…just wait!”  Ah…another ancestral curse takes effect…woo hoo!

It got ugly.  And by “it got ugly” I mean that I put my foot down, firmly, and took away J’s hats and Slinky because -surprise, surprise- he was trying to intimidate me with head-banging and Slinky-swinging.  Yeah…really.  I maneuvered him to the side of the road (where no cars could get to him) and said -in a low, even and very patient tone, mind you- “you cannot get candy because the office is closed.  You are walking home now, quietly, and without your hats or Slinky.  Period.”  I think he was tempted to stick his tongue out or flip me the bird, but he controlled himself.  Halfway home he said, quite humbly, I WANT MY HAT AND SLINKY PLEASE, and I slowed down to tell him “we do NOT throw tantrums when we don’t get what we want.”  I handed him the hats and Slinky back.  End of story.

After forty-five minutes of mild sulking on his part, and reinforcement of the lesson on mine, I gave J the same amount of candy he would have retrieved from the office.  He seemed a little sad that he’d been so stubborn, but I told him all he has to do is listen more carefully…

It’s quite obvious that he recovered from our little spat.  That’s what the conga means, after all…

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