Young nephew was to stay over tonight. He was originally supposed to stay over at Grandma's place up the road, but chucked a sooky wobbly at his mother who had to work out of town for the weekend - you know, the nine year old guilt making big quivering teary eyed kind of wobbly that doesn't involve actual crying, just the welling hint of unhappiness.
We collected him from the bus as planned, and invited Grandma down for dinner so she could spend maximum time with him, but then suddenly the plan changed with Grandma asking if we could we eat at 5 pm, because 'their' favourite TV program was on at six and 'they' wanted to get back in time for it (us not having TV). So, the roast chicken that would have landed on the table out of the oven to the table here was carved up and taken with trimmings to her place.
I am not entirely insensitive - she was staking her claim on her very own grandson and it didn't really put me out at all, but when I remembered that G-Man was going to be at a meeting this evening, and in the morning we have to get up a sparrow fart to send some calves to market, I figured that really, the best place for him to stay overnight was with Grandma. So, I quizzed him on the reason for his reluctance to stay there, and why he really really wanted to stay at our place. Turns out, the best he could come up with was that He might get bored.
Sure, hanging out with G-man is about as good as it gets if you're a kid, and I do have broadband, but I'd be working on the computer so that wasn't an option for him, and seeing as the G-man would be absent for most of the evening, didn't he think that staying here tonight would be a total dud and that Grandma was holding a lot more aces in the fun stakes?
A sooky teary agreement followed, then I went into narky old aunty mode. Stop right there boyo. The sooky teary thing doesn't work on me - seenit, doneit, beenit. My son had the same problem at your age; he didn't want to go to his grandma's either, but this isn't about just you. It's about her too. Grandpa is gone and somebody has to be there to keep her company and seeing as you are the only one available, the job has your name on it. Sorry, that's just the way it is. It's called responsibility. You are in a family, and everyone has a responsibility to each other. Now that you are nine, you have to step up to the plate and shoulder some of it. You can't pull the baby bullshit anymore - this is called growing up, OK?
So he sucked back the tears, went outside to wipe them away and came back in quiet but seemingly cheerful and proceeded to do the right thing.
Good noble, philosophical, empathetic boy.
Tomorrow night will be a fun filled reward for his personal sacrifice, which I will point out to him at some stage in the evening and praise him for.
How can kids know this stuff unless they learn it? Best way to learn anything, especially empathy, is while you are in the middle of the emotion you eventually attach to that getting of wisdom, painful as it might seem at the time.