If RG Will Be Your Grandchild’s Boss Someday, Tell Them to Start Training Now…
October 17, 2009
“If Random Granddaughter some day supervises other employees some day when she has a career, she will not be a very patient boss,” I said to my wife. RG had been supervising my wife and me when we were taking care of her, and she was not very patient with us.
“RG was not very patient from the day she was born,” replied my wife.
From the age of zero to the age of four, RG was not allowed to watch videos on the theory that videos are harmful to developing little minds. Once she reached the age of four, her mommies decided she can watch one or two carefully chosen videos in a week, usually for not more than about twenty minutes of viewing time in a session.
One of the issues here is Can some of the most brilliant parenting of the century turn a brilliant young drama princess child into a wholesome human being? David Rochester is watching with interest from a safe distance as he works on reintegrating his fragmented personality into a wholesome human being.
May you live in interesting times is not a Chinese curse, but we certainly live in such times, do we not?
Anyway, the mommies asked the grandparents to babysit, perhaps because we work for free, while they took advantage of tickets to a concert that they also got for free. Free can be a very good price.
“Here is a DVD with wholesome videos for children,” Mommy (RG’s birth mother) said. She asked RG what videos she wanted to watch.
Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type, was choice #1. This is a recent but already classic book for children, a book now animated movie about cows that type messages to the farmer on a typewriter. Unless he provides them with electric blankets, they will stop supplying him with milk. The plot thickens from there.
As a child of modern times, however, I doubt that RG knows what a typewriter is. When I was a high school student, I actually used a slide rule because calculators had not been invented yet. I used a buggy whip to make my slide rule go faster.
Courderoy was RG’s second choice. This is a book (now video) about a lonely little black girl who falls in love with a lonely teddy bear in a department store. RG lives in a world of multi-cultural influences. She has two mommies and two daddies. She has an adopted aunt from Singapore. And so on.
The mommies left for their concert. Grandma and Grandpa and Random Granddaughter settled on the couch in front of the combination television monitor/DVD player. Grandma held the remote. Grandma tried to start the DVD going. Mr. and Mrs. Random have a couple of television monitors, DVD players, and remotes at home. It’s not like we are video virgins.
Grandma could not get the video to start. RG expressed impatience. Grandma has a tendency to use bad words when she is frustrated, but she is very careful around RG. The mommies are prissy, goody-goody lesbians who do not much like to be described as “lesbians” and who certainly do not want a five-year-old daughter to hear bad words from Grandma and Grandpa. As RG is now attending kindergarten, however; it is only a matter of time before the first f-bomb comes home with her like a puppy following her home. [The mommies like cats better than dogs, also, and resist getting RG a dog.]
Eventually, after several tries, Grandma brought up a menu of the videos. She selected the typing cows video and pushed “Play” on the remote. The story began. The cows typed messages and went on strike. RG watched with interest. I haven’t heard about her going on strike yet, but it is surely only a matter of time. She didn’t ask about typewriters. I guess she figured a typewriter is something like a computer.
At the end of the story, Grandma tried to get back to the main menu. Instead of bringing up the menu, the entire rebooted and loaded slowly. RG expressed irritation. Eventually the list of videos appeared. Grandma tried to choose and start Courderoy. Each time she did so, the entire DVD rebooted. It took a long time for the list of videos to appear on the screen. About the third time this occurred. RG expressed her impatience and irritation quite strongly. “Perhaps Grandpa knows how to use the remote better than you do,” she told Grandma.
Grandma pretended she did not hear that remark. I kept my mouth shut.
Grandma said, “This remote does not work like the remote we have at home.”
RG said, “My mommies get it to work” in a very condescending and exasperated tone. I kept my mouth shut.
Grandma kept trying. On the fifth try, Courderoy began to play. Grandma said, “I did exactly the same thing I did on the other four tries, but this time it worked.”
RG did not say anything, but her face displayed an expression that eloquently communicated, Sure it did, Grandma.
She watched half the video. Suddenly, she said, “Let’s stop the video. I am ready to go to bed.” She has apparently internalize the time limit for watching videos.
RG went upstairs, flossed and brushed her teeth, picked out a book about church mice and a friendly cat and a party for me to read, and went to bed very peacefully and amiably without any drama queen theatrics.
The next day I tried to use my laptop. The mommies have changed their ISP/wireless Internet connection again. I could not get my laptop to connect to the Internet.
Mommy said, “Mama set this up. I don’t know how to connect your laptop. [Mama was at the university studying calculus.] Perhaps you can go to the library (which is only a few blocks away). Perhaps you can take RG with you to the library.”
RG and I walked to the library. I sat on a couch in the children’s section while RG browsed for books.
In the past, RG picked out books at random. Now she is learning to read, and her kindergarten teacher gave her some guidelines for picking out books. I don’t remember the exact directions, but the run something like this.
Look at a book. Try to read a little bit. If maybe two words are new, then choose the book. If five or more words are new, don’t choose that book.
RG chose several books. I looked them over. They seemed like excellent choices. One of the books struck me as an excellent choice for David Rochester as well, so I have ordered the book on the Internet and it is supposedly on the way to David and his Amazon. I hope they like it. If they do, RG gets all the credit. If they don’t, it is my fault.
We went to the self-checkout. I tried to check out all four of the books at once. The self-checkout only checked out one. I had to reboot the self-checkout. This was exactly like the experience Grandma had the night before with remote and the video player. As I kept slowly rebooting the self-checkout, RG twisted restlessly and said, “Grandpa, aren’t you done checking out the books? I am ready to go home.”
Eventually we went home, had something to eat, and went to RG’s cross-country race where she sobbed, ran 1/2 mile, and smiled when she received a blue ribbon. If your grandchild is thinking about working for RG some day or marrying RG some day, tell him or her to start training right now, because she will be a bossy boss and a severe spouse.