Hal came into the bedroom before school one morning. He was carrying his backpack and conspiratorially told his dad, “I have the Kindle Fire in my backpack. Don’t tell Sissy.”
This didn’t sound like a good idea and I said so. “It’s ok,” my husband replied. Then I remembered that the kids often play games on the Fire as they ride to school in the morning.
“Ok, we won’t say anything,” I said.
Hal then walked down the hall and yelled to his sister, “Sissy! I don’t have the Kindle Fire!”
“Well that took care of that,” my husband laughed. But apparently Jane was too busy to notice what Hal said or to understand the full implications. Indeed, the implications were lost on me until we got in the car and Hal revealed his plan.
As we pulled out of the driveway, Hal triumphantly pulled the Kindle out of his backpack. “Ha-ha, Sissy, look! I have the Kindle Fire and I’m going to play a game on it!”
As his sister protested that she should get to go first, everything fell into place for me and I began to laugh. See, the kids have a routine. They are always dropped off at the three different campuses from oldest to youngest. This means that Jane starts out with the Kindle Fire. She passes it on to Daryl when she gets out of the car and then Daryl does the same to Hal when he is dropped off. Hal is always last. Always.
Jane tried to explain why it wouldn’t work for her to play after him. Hal wasn’t listening. “Well, you can just sit back and drink your Chai Latte then.” (He pronounced it “chai yatte”).
Memories of my favorite scene from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s book “Farmer Boy” rushed back to me. In that book, everyone helped when it was time to shear the sheep. The youngest son had the least physically demanding job: carrying the bundles of wool into the barn. As a result, he was always the last one done and his older brothers teased him about it. One day, he’d had enough so he bundled a live sheep and stashed it in the barn. When his siblings claimed to be done, he announced that no, he was done but they were not because some of the bundled wool was still on a sheep.
With a chuckle, I told my indignant oldest child not to worry about it. “Just let him play, Jane. Just let him play. You’ll be OK.”