March 14, 2012 Edition

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Boys will be boys

My grandsons lead a hectic lifestyle. They are up by 6:30 every morning, on the bus by 7:20 and off to school. After a busy school day they have chores, homework and afterschool activities. Their chief complaint is that there is never enough time to play.

Since I ride to work with their mother every day c I often get solicited for support. On the days I am tempted to sympathize with them, I remember that for most of our history children worked as soon as they were old enough to perform menial tasks or help in fields or factories. When I mention this to my eldest grandson he just looks at me with an expression that clearly says he thinks I am pulling his leg.

I enjoy my time with my grandsons, but it's the conversations I have with them that I enjoy most of all. Unfortunately most of them consist of short exchanges usually beginning with "you need to" and answered by, "in a minute, I'm busy right now."

During the rare times we have a longer conversation we talk about such topics as animal science, space age technology, who would win in a battle between Charmander and Squirtle, or Darth Vader and Darth Maul or whether a T-Rex could actually live with a family of pteranodons.

They have strong opinions on such matters. If I give an answer to one of their questions that strikes them as thoroughly "stupid," they undiplomatically explain to me where all the holes in my theories are.

Sometimes after a lengthy quiz of who would win questions, I begin to respond with answers qualified by my own logic. I am then told that it's not really real and it doesn't matter if one has the "force" if the other one is really, really strong and mean.

Despite these wonderful conversations, most of the time both boys are completely able to tune me out. I know they can see my lips move, but for some reason their ears cannot receive the sound waves emitting from them.

They also at times have vision problems, both are unable to see the pair of shoes setting four feet away from them that should be on their feet.

"I can't find them," is the usual response I get when I tell them to put their shoes on.

One morning last week as we all struggled to get out of the house and into the car, a reading book could not to be found. The suggestion to check for it in the car brought the response that it might be there.

Once we were in the car both boys were immediately sidetracked by other things. When their mother asked if they had found the book the oldest said he couldn't see it anywhere. She reached back and picked up the book, which had been lying between the two of them and handed it to him.

"Wow!" he said, "How did you do that?"

Lest I give a false impression let me tell you that I am not totally unappreciated. This morning I got a rare compliment from the eldest when I explained the method for getting your shoes on the right feet. I told him shoes have to fit the curves of your foot and that the curve that goes in should be on the inside of the foot and the curve that goes out should be on the outside of the foot.

He laughed and said, "I don't get it."

The more I explained, the more confused he got. When I finally said just make sure the strap on your shoe always goes away from the area between your feet and fastens to the outside, he looked at me with a surprised expression and said, that's pretty good Grandma, you really know your geometry.

I could tell that I was suddenly a few IQ points higher in his estimation. There may be hope for me yet.

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