You thought etiquette class was a bizarre idea, didn’t you? You thought I should just sign him up for little league like all the other parents do?
Ha! I thought it was genius. And the reason I thought it was genius was the aftermath.
We come home from day 1 of etiquette class, and my mom calls. Usually LL refuses the phone because he’s playing DS or doing his homework or playing Wii or doesn’t feel like it or it’s not Monday (once, my mom made the mistake of telling the boys that she would like a phone/skype date with them every Monday. The routine never materialized, but the idea stuck forever). But that day (a Tuesday), he took the call readily. “Yes, hello. This is LL. Is this Gramma?” He spent the conversation telling her how much he loved her and missed her. My mom marvelled at this foreign creature I was passing off as my son.
The next evening we had a babysitter. This same babysitter (we’ll call her Magda), who is outstanding, had threatened never to return after her last visit (another babysitter didn’t threaten but just canceled on us and never came back after a world-famous performance by all 3 kids). Magda came, albeit reluctantly. At the end of the night, I asked, fearfully, “How did it go?” She said, “That LL is something else! He has the most beautiful manners and we had a long conversation about European cities. I felt like I was talking to an adult!”
I was, of course, tremendously excited for the second class. I went to pick him up, armed with snacks (vital for good behavior) and “man clothes” (I even remembered his shoes, an improvement on the first class).
We walked into the church where the class is held. “Can you tie my tie?” he asked. I didn’t know how. The first time I had asked The Scientist to tie it and then I left it loose enough to slide over LL’s head. I said, “Don’t worry about it,” and took him to the class, where the program director told me to go to the side and tie the tie. I stood in the doorway. He realized I wasn’t moving. “Do you know how?” he asked. Not meanly, but I felt kind of stupid. I shook my head. “Next time,” the elderly patrician gentleman courteously admonished me, “Please watch a youtube video before you come.” He did LL’s knot and propelled him gently into the classroom. LL turned back. “Where’s W?” he asked of his friend. But W, it turned out, was at the ENT where his first-grader brother was having an emergency procedure to remove a bead from his nasal cavity (“I did that during an art project . . . in kindergarten,” the kid reported. Apparently beads can hang out in nasal cavities for long periods without causing problems. But then they do. On etiquette class day). “Will you watch me? Are you going to stay and watch? I want you to watch!” called out LL as he slowly walked into the class. Despite–or perhaps because–he’s my eldest (the only one who ever had us with no siblings around), he is our #1 “look at me!” child.
“No!” said Cool J. “I want to go out to the playground!”
“Playground!” echoed Baby MoFo.
A second later, LL was by our side. “My head hurts.”
“No it doesn’t.”
“Yes, it does.”
“It didn’t a second ago.”
“It does now.”
“You’re going in.”
“You have to.”
And then I threw a hissy fit rivalling any LL has ever thrown. But he wouldn’t be moved. He wasn’t going, and that was that.
Alas, another parenting dream down the toilet. Sigh.