Children are such resilient creatures. My son, for example. He's playing in a kickball tournament tonight from 6:30 to 10:00. It's no Iron Man competition. Not even a triathlon. But it speaks volumes of his stamina.
Only last night, Genius was on his death-couch. He was too exhausted even to fetch himself a blanket. I can certainly see why a sixteen-year-old might lack the vigor to sit, stand, and walk three paces to where the afghan rested on the floor near the recliner. His get-up-and-go had got up and went during his supper of three chicken legs, a cheeseburger, a chicken ranch wrap, and a slice of cantaloupe. It's hard work lifting that much food to your mouth. And then there's the chewing. And swallowing.
Genius would be a good poster boy for why kids should not swim until an hour after eating. Or in his case, a couple of days. It was all he could do to drag himself from kitchen to living room. He flopped onto that couch like a played-out 160-pound trophy largemouth in a bass tournament.
When I was halfway down the basement steps, he called to me. "I'm cold. I need a blanket."
"There's one by the recliner."
"But that's way over there."
"It's five feet from you."
"But I'm tired."
"I'm halfway down the steps. Get it yourself."
"My feet are cold."
"Too bad, so sad."
"Hey, here's two sock caps on the back of the couch. They can keep my feet warm."
"It's not working. My feet are still cold."
"Then get the blanket."
"I can't believe you're making me get up."
Two hours later, I ascended the stairs in order to put a load of clothes in the wash. Genius needed a school shirt to wear to the W.Y.S.E. (Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering) competition the next day. I started the laundry. I cleaned up the kitchen. I folded some clothes and put them in the boys' rooms. I doled out the weekly cash allowance to Hick. I put away some clean dishes from the sink. I laid out The Pony's clothes for morning. A woman's work is never done. Especially in the House of Genius.
Sensing the presence of a personal servant, Genius awoke from his two-hour slumber. He rolled over. He stretched. He sighed. His eyes focused on his target like a heat-seeking missile. "While you're in there, could you bring me a cup of water?"
"No. Get up and get it yourself."
"But you're right there."
"From what? Sleeping? Isn't that the cure for tiredness? Not the cause?"
"My mouth is dry."
"From all that sleeping."
"I need water."
"I need rest."
"Come on. You're already there."
"You are young and rested. I'm old and exhausted."
"Mom. Bring me some water."
"There's a cup on the table that you left there days ago. The ice is melted now. Drink that."
"I don't want that. I want some cold water."
"Then get it."
"You're right by the refrigerator. Bring me some water."
I went to the pantry and bent over to pull a red Solo cup out of the package. Genius had used up the ones I set out on the counter in a convenient stack. I took him a cup of water to shut him up. I know. That only reinforced the behavior.
Next time, I'm going to pull the trick my sister pulled on me. Except that I was laid up the week after knee surgery. Mom left Sis in charge of me, with instructions that I was not under any circumstances to go up or down the stairs on my crutches while she was gone. So after two hours, I asked Sis if she could possibly bring me a glass of water when she came downstairs to the family room. She agreed. Which seemed awfully out-of-character for her. She lovingly carried my water to the chair, where I sat with stitched knee outstretched. I thanked her profusely. I took the long-awaited sip.
She had given me a cup of hot water.