This one is for Randy, Erik’s estranged-now-recently-re-acquainted father. He means well, but is a tough pill to swallow at times! There’s a reason why he never got re-married after Erik’s Mom . . .
And he still brings food. I credit this instance for why Earen loves fries so much as a 4 yr old.
Excerpt from “Six Kids, Four Months and One Camper”:
Thursday I had just laid Earen down for a nap and was tickled pink to finally get a chance to get outside and work with Sailor since the well guys STILL had not showed up, when Randy’s truck crept up our driveway. I had just stepped outside and Sailor was waiting for me at the gate when I saw his blue GMC. I groaned and could feel tears welling-up in my eyes. I didn’t have a whole lot to look forward to in my day, coffee was a small perk, and being able to get out with my horse was the biggest bonus. At this rate I’d never be able to ride him. And then all I’d have is a cup of lukewarm coffee to look forward to each morning.
Randy had a wide grin on his face and he was holding a large paper bag in his hand. He motioned for me to follow him inside. Sailor let out a tremendous whinny as I turned to go into the camper.
Randy popped his head out of the door and looked at him. “I’m sorry! This isn’t for you!”
He wandered into the camper and sat down at the table then pointed to the seat across from him. I reluctantly sat down as he began pulling items out of the bag. He set an Arby’s roast beef sandwich and container of fries in front of me along with a tall cup of Coke. I had already eaten, but didn’t mention this as Randy was clearly elated to have brought me some food.
“Now I know Erik keeps you locked up here with nothing to eat all day, so I thought I’d have pity on you. Hey, Arby’s is a heck of a lot better than anything you’re gonna make in here,” he motioned around him. “Hey, where’s the little critter?” He suddenly looked around puzzled. My cat Anya jumped up onto the sofa behind him and began rubbing against his arm. “Not you cat! Shoo! I can’t be round you; you aggravate my allergies!”
I chuckled. “Earen just went down for a nap, he’ll be asleep for a good 2 hours.”
“Good Lord! Wake the poor kid up! He wants to see his Grandpa! He can’t sleep for 2 hours!”
“Randy I can’t wake him up, even as much as he’d love to see you, it would make him so cranky!”
“And? He needs to learn to get over it. It won’t kill him to skip a nap, will it?”
I paused considering this. It quite possibly could kill ME.
“Don’t keep me from my Grandson. He’s MY Grandson and he wants to see his Grandpa. When is this kid going to be potty trained so I can take him for the day?”
I sighed. “He won’t be potty trained for another year or 2.”
“What? That’s not acceptable. My mother had both me AND my sister trained BY the age of 2! What’s the holdup?”
“There’s no hold-up, it’s just going to depend on him. He’s not even six months old yet – you still have a while.” I stuffed a few fries into my mouth.
The argument didn’t last long as I heard a wail erupting from the other room.
“What was that?” Randy stopped puzzled.
“That was Earen.”
“Oh good, now he can see his Grandpa!”
I wanted to bang my head on the table.
I walked back and got Earen from our bedroom. The look on his face said it all. He was going to be one crabby monster!
“Hi Earen! Grandpa’s here and he brought you food!” Randy picked up the Arby’s bag and waved it for him to see.
“Maybe in a few more months he can, Randy, but right now he doesn’t have any teeth yet. He can eat mushed banana though.” I walked him over and handed him to Randy. Earen began grabbing at his pens and glasses in his pocket.
Randy looked up at me imploringly, “can’t he at least suck on a fry? Look, the poor kid wants the food and you won’t even let him have a taste!” Without waiting for an answer Randy grabbed the longest fry he could find and stuffed it into Earen’s hand and pushed it toward his mouth.
I wanted to bang my head on the table. Again.
When Earen’s hand finally left his mouth, half the fry was missing.
“Where’s the other half?!” I was in shock.
Randy was laughing. Earen was making all sorts of adorable 5 month old baby faces as he sucked on his fry chunk. I reached over and tried to pry his mouth open. He had it clamped shut.
“Earen! Open your mouth!” I scolded him.
“Get back Mom. Let him enjoy his tasty fry!” Randy handed him another fry for his other hand.
Maybe I was overreacting, maybe not. He was MY child and I had final say on anything. Not his Grandpa. Now Earen opened his mouth to stuff both hands of fries into his mouth. I quickly lunged forward and scooped out the mushed-up chunk from his mouth and pried the other two fries from his hands. Earen began wailing.
“What’d you do that for?! He was enjoying fries with his Grandpa and you ruined it!” Randy yelled at me, furious.
“Randy, he can enjoy fries with his Grandpa in a few more months. He’s too little for anything besides mush right now. He could choke!”
“But he didn’t!”
“No, but he could have. His mouth isn’t developed enough to handle solid food yet.”
“He was doing just fine with it.” Randy stuffed Earen back off into my arms. He resumed quietly eating his sandwich with a fierce scowl on his face. I tried making pleasant conversation a few times, but he waved me off. As soon as his sandwich was gone, he stood up to leave. As he got up he knocked the chair over. He glanced at it then pretended not to notice. “Goodbye Earen, sorry Mommy has to ruin everything for us!” Then he walked out the door and drove off.
I banged my head on the table a few times.