If you haven't guessed this about me, I love farms. Actually, I love the idea of farms. Ask Kurt and he will tell you that at least once every few months I bring up the idea of living on a farm.
"Ahhh, wouldn't it be nice to live on a farm?! Just get back to the basics: wake early, send the dozen kids out to do their chores, milk the cow and feed the chickens, maybe chase a rooster off the fence..."
And of course, in his very rational and collected way Kurt asks, "And who would work the farm?"
Well duh, we'd hire people....don't they come with the farm anyway?
Speaking of farms, I had the pleasure of chaperoning Aidan's class on their first field trip of the year: a visit to Tanaka Farm's Pumpkin Patch.
I was pretty excited because it isn't often I get to do things with just Aidan and I knew he would really appreciate it. So, we get to school and his teacher, Ms. Ann, starts to tell each of us who we'd be driving. We were given Aidan's desk mate: let's call him Eddie.
Now, my first run in with Eddie was on the first day of school when I was dropping Aidan off and Eddie ran up, long, straggly hair flowing behind him and he just started talking. On and on and on, dude this and dude that, awesome this and cool that and I seriously don't even know what he was talking about. All I know is that I said a little, silent prayer that THIS WOULD NOT BE THE KID AIDAN WANTED FOR A PLAY DATE! EVER!
Well, sometimes God just sucks. Not only did Aidan start wanting play dates with Eddie but he was assigned a seat RIGHT NEXT TO HIM; a seat that is not going to be changed for HALF THE YEAR unless they absolutely have to for behavioral reasons; a seat that allows Aidan to pick up every inflection of every last stupid thing this kid says. And of course we have heard Eddie in our home by way of Aidan far too frequently (Aidan can almost mimic the very sound of this kids voice!) And it makes me wonder if having the "good" kid in the classroom is actually a bad thing. They most likely put Aidan next to Eddie because, much unlike Eddie's reputation, they had heard how good he was in his preschool room and how he behaved even when the others were egging him on to do bad things. This isn't to say we have a perfect kid because he does live with us so we do know...but, he is very good at school, respectful to his teachers and nice to the other kids. He walks into the classroom and all the kids run up to him like he was some sort of lord and he just brushes them off as if they were paupers and of course, they just want more of him because of his aloof nature.
Anyway, back to my story. So, I put the boys in the car, they buckle their seat belts and I turn the car on. I had not even begun driving yet when Eddie announces that the music I have playing is not cool and that he only listens to cool music. My heart sank because the tape (yes, I said tape, remember those?) we have in is one of Aidan's very favorites. (In case you are wondering it is Pooh's Halloween Music. And honestly, we only listen to it one month of the year but it rocks!) So, I asked him, trying to hide my annoyance, "What do you think is cool then, Eddie?"
"Well, I only listen to The Jonas Brothers. That's the only cool music," he said. "They're AWESOME!" At this point, visions of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure started reeling through my brain. I switch the music to The Beatles and ask him if he had ever heard of them.
"Yeah, they're pretty cool. They're all beet beet beetles," Eddie said. The boys laughed and my jaw clenched as I realized Aidan hails this kid as if he were king. Argh!
So, Eddie kept talking nonsense which made Aidan laugh and at some point I started noticing that Eddie was poking Aidan in the head. Sometimes he poked his face, other times his hair until finally I said, "Eddie, keep your hands to yourself."
Eddie gave me that "what did I do" look and I told him to just stop. A few minutes went by and Eddie started poking at Aidan again. I repeated my earlier command as Aidan kind of chuckled nervously. Please keep in mind, we were driving on the highway at this point in 75 mph traffic that was coming to a quick standstill.
By the time we arrived at the farm, I had already turned to Eddie and warned him that I would have to tie up his hands behind him on the way back if he touched Aidan one more time.
"And by the way, sit up straight and get that belt put back over your shoulder because the way you have it right now is not safe," I said, obviously irritated and kicking myself for showing it.
"But this is how I usually wear it," he argued.
"Well, if I were to get in a crash right now, and your seat belt was like that, under both armpits, YOU'D DIE!" I said. He followed directions and then started questioning whether that was accurate information. I kept quiet.
Thankfully, upon meeting up with the rest of the class, Eddie went off with another boy in the class and Aidan was stuck with just me and some other "Aidan groupies."
One of the dads there, trying to strike up some conversation, asked who I had driven and, upon my answering, he said, "Oh. He has quite a reputation but I wonder if he is really as bad as they say."
"He is," I said. "Trust me, whatever you have heard, it's probably true." It was either that or explaining about Eddie's fallen status as an angel of God and how kids like him have been roaming the earth for thousands of years in order to contaminate our good kids in hopes of multiplying in numbers and taking over the world. And he is only 6!
But, I was happy to put up with the questionable child because I know that it will be much too soon that Aidan will no longer want to walk next to me, holding my hand in front of his friends or ask me to pick his veggies because he doesn't want to get his hands dirty. It won't be long before he will no longer delight in the big, orange pumpkin he got to pick out with the cool, twisted stem (which was clearly awesome because Eddie tried to claim that he was going to pick that one but Aidan stole it from him...and of course, Eddie had been about a hundred yards away, goofing around, by the time Aidan had picked it.) Aidan won't always wish that his sisters could be with him or that we could go back to the farm as a family to pick out the biggest pumpkin ever.
On the ride home, Aidan shared his water bottle with Eddie (by share I mean Eddie took it from him and Aidan didn't want it back because: "I don't want his germs," Aidan said.) and I tried to start again in hopes of building a soft spot in my heart for this boy who for all I know has lead a tragically messed up life.
"So Eddie, what do you like to do," I asked politely.
"Nothing. All I do is go home and sit on the couch and turn the TV on. I am lazy," he said. Well, if nothing else, at least he can be honest?
"Really? You don't have any chores or anything?" I asked, not at all shocked.
"Nope. I just watch TV," he said while doing something to make Aidan giggle.
"You don't make your bed or brush your teeth or put the dishes away? Nothing?" I questioned.
"Well, I brush my teeth," he said.
"What shows do you like to watch?" I asked.
"Spongebob," he said casually.
"Oh, I saw that one time," Aidan chimed in, happy to be a part of the conversation.
"Well, I watch it everyday," Eddie bragged. "Because it's totally AWESOME!"
There was a lovely little silence before Eddie started telling us that his dad was Vietnamese. "And I can speak Vietnamese," Eddie bragged.
"Cool. Say something in Vietnamese," I said. He didn't say anything.
"Well, Aidan is part Italian and he can speak some Italian," I bragged on Aidan's behalf.
"Really?" Eddie asked, half-way interested. Aidan and I went through the little Italian he knows, for which I am sure I must have won some points from Aidan because Eddie gave it a "totally cool."
Still no soft spot....but at least I didn't have to tie the kid's hands up....