Image Source: Valenbutec, Accessed 13/05/2017
Me: So, do you have any words of wisdom for me?
I say this as an obvious joke. My obvious joke sails over his curly head.
P-boo: I think you need to get a life. Aunty Efua says Fridays are for going out. Mummy and daddy have gone out, but you’re sitting here talking to me.
Me: Buddy, your parents begged me to baby-sit so I’m doing you and them a favour. In fact I’m taking you to bed. Next time they can force Efua to take care of you. Nonsense.
P-boo: Aunty Efua is sad now. It makes me sad. She was crying yesterday because that man that fixes our lights was angry with her.
Me: What man? Sam, the electrician?
P-boo: Yes, the tall one with the hair on his face. He always brings me a new toy when he comes to visit. I like him.
Me: I’m going to need to talk to your mum about that. The last thing we need is for you to accidentally say something to your dad…
P-boo: Say something like what?
Me: Nothing. Never mind. You were saying? Why was she crying?
P-boo: He said he’s tired of hiding and only coming here to see her when daddy isn’t home and that she doesn’t introduce him to her friends. Yesterday she hid him in the kitchen when daddy came back from work in the middle of the day. I was having lunch with Maame and she stopped feeding me so that she and Aunty Efua could hide him in the storage room.
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Me: Come, how do you hear all these things?
P-boo: I don’t know. People talk a lot when I’m around. Maybe they think I can’t hear.
Me: Hmm, okay, back to Aunty Efua. Your daddy is very protective of his little sister and probably won’t be happy that she’s dating Uncle Sam the electrician.
P-boo: Why not? He’s nice.
Me: Well…he’s not…he’s not in the same…social circle as your family…they don’t have the same friends.
P-boo: But daddy always takes me to new places and tells me to play with new people.
Me: That’s different. Uncle Sam and Aunty Efua have different backgrounds…
I’m being talked into a corner by a kid who can’t even walk yet. This conversation calls for something strong. I reach for my heretofore forgotten wine and take a sip.
P-boo: You mean he doesn’t have money.
Me [choking and spluttering on my wine]: How did you decide that from what I said?
P-boo: Because last time mummy was going to a party with her yellow friend with the big big eyes and pink cheeks and very red mouth that talks like something is stuck in her nose –
Me [Laughing]: You mean Madeline.
P-boo: I don’t know her name but she talks funny. She said she wasn’t going to sit with mummy’s friend Aunty Sena at the party because they have different backgrounds and Aunty Sena doesn’t have any money. Mummy was very angry with her. Maame doesn’t like her. Maame says the woman tells everybody she talks like that because she has been living in America for three years, but mummy lived in America for ten years and she doesn’t talk like that.
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Me [Laughing]: No, that’s not exactly what I mean by different backgrounds, though sometimes that’s what people mean. Uncle Sam has some money actually. He has his own business with electricians who work for him. He’s not very rich, but he has enough to provide for a family. It’s more because, well…he’s not as educated. He stopped school when he was 16. His family isn’t…well, we don’t know them, and his accent is uhm….it’s quite strong… so when you go out in public with him…
Me: Well…it’s just, it’s a little…embarrassing.
P-boo: I don’t understand. Does she like him?
P-boo: Does he like her?
Me: Yes, but-
P-boo: Is he kind to her and other women? You said boys should be kind to their sisters and women.
Me: Yes he is…
P-boo: He can take care of her?
P-boo: He treats everyone with respect?
Me: I…well, to be honest, yes he does
Me: It’s just….
Me: I don’t know Pierre. I don’t have the answer. It’s complicated.
P-boo: Well I have the answer. You said if I behave the way you said I should, the universe would reward me. Isn’t that the same thing here? Aunty Efua should tell daddy that she likes Uncle Sam and he likes her and he can take care of her and he is nice to everyone, then she doesn’t have to hide him anymore and he won’t be angry.
Me: And if your daddy doesn’t like it?
P-boo: One time daddy told mummy he didn’t like them spending so much money on curtains and she said “Tough. Deal with it.” And daddy’s fine now. Maybe Aunty Efua should say the same thing.
Me: Buying expensive curtains is very different from marrying someone your family doesn’t like, honey.
P-boo: But isn’t it mean to not like him because he talks funny? Mummy’s yellow friend still comes here and she doesn’t hide from daddy even though me and Maame don’t understand what she is saying sometimes. I think she should return her accent to whoever sold it to her in America and get her money back.
This kid is killing me. I’m laughing so hard.
“P-boo! Don’t ever say that again!”
I’m still laughing though, so he senses that it’s okay to grin at me proudly.
“Why? I heard daddy say it to mummy. Is it a bad thing to say?”
Me: Oh you heard it from your dad did you? So you don’t know what he meant? What did your mummy say?”
P-boo: Mummy told him to be quiet, but she didn’t look angry. She was laughing. Anyway, the woman still gets to come here so it isn’t fair that Uncle Sam can’t see daddy too. Also, we don’t even know that daddy doesn’t like him because daddy hasn’t met him!
Me: Well that’s true.
I chuckle. P-boo smiles.
P-boo: What’s funny?
Me: Nothing. It’s just interesting seeing things from your point of view. It’s very black and white to you. I was once like that too, but as you get older, it gets complicated. You start to see the nuances.
P-boo: New ounces of what?
Me: No, nuances. Shades of grey. The world is more complicated than you think.
P-boo: Who complicated it?
Me: People, I guess.
P-boo: What people?
Me: Everyone in the world.
P-boo: So the people in the world complicated things for the people in the world?
Me: Pretty much.
I frown at him. I can almost tell what’s coming next. He doesn’t disappoint me.
P-boo: So what you’re saying is all of you complicated the world and now you blame the world for all the complications when the world is made up of the people who complicated it in the first place?
Me: Ugh you’re annoying. It’s your bedtime.
P-boo: Okay I’m tired anyway, but I have to do something first.
Me: Wait, did you just pee?
P-boo [Grinning]: Yes and now I have to get changed so you need to help me.
Me: But I was sitting right here! I could have taken you to the toilet or potty or something and you could have tried learning that, especially since you keep complaining about how uncomfortable a wet diaper makes you. Why didn’t you tell me?
P-boo: It’s complicated.
This kid is an asshole.