Back in February, the heart of winter in northern Idaho, Flat Jessie arrived for a two week visit. She came as the paper doll alter ego of a nine year old third grader. We didn't do too well. I had just had cataract surgery, was undergoing acupuncture treatments for my back and the roads were a mess. My charge was to show this paper doll the sites. My old blogging buddy Stebbijo was a Godsend in getting us out and about and recording the adventures.
Now Flat Jessie is coming - in the flesh! She's bringing her Mom and sister too. I'm excited. I really am. My niece and I have a great relationship; I don't know the kids at all. We live too far apart. I don't fly this day and age. So they decided to come here.
Oh my. Nine, twelve and forty-something descending on this hermitage of two senior citizens and a dog. I realize the red flags I see waving are probably an over reaction, but here's the scenario. They are coming from Philly. They've never been west of Pittsburgh. They haven't seen Bacchus since he was three months old and probably haven't a clue why Mom is dragging them all this way to visit some old folks they know of only because I'm their Grandfather's sister.
They've never seen an adult Saint Bernard. Bacchus hasn't been around kids since his encounter with them. That was seven years ago. They were two and five. The high/low point was when Bacchus nipped a bare midriff with his stiletto sharp puppy teeth. Oh, the wailing! Well, he's a tad larger now and so are his teeth. I think, however, it's more likely he'll gross them out with flying slobber.
Okay. They're nervous because Dad, the calm one in the family, isn't coming. It has something to do with work and taking care of their two dogs. They aren't interested in swimming in the lake; they belong to a pool club. Silverwood? Nah, they go the the Jersey shore. Maybe we could visit the Stickman and get walking sticks. Not into hiking. Okay, they're going to be bored.
I had physical therapy Friday and my therapist, who had once been principal of a private school and has four kids of his own, instructed me on the psychology of communicating with kids these ages. I was laughing so hard by the end of the session I forgot about my physical discomfort and was plotting how to put his advice to practice.
His theory - take boredom out of the equation immediately by assuring them this is going to be the most boring vacation they've ever had. That's a bit simplified, but the way he told it made so much sense, I'll at least give his theory a try. I think.
I must say my husband, who hasn't been around kids since he was one himself, has been tremendously supportive. The bar is stocked, the wine cellar full and he's cooking me a wonderful dinner tonight. He'll take over the dog walking chores and promised not to delete my blog. Of course these niceties are really for him. He's good at rationalization. He thinks the kids should see some of what the west has to offer. In my capable tour guide hands. Stay tuned.
What are the plans? Off to Yellowstone. Boring.