Entertaining the Irish

Yes, friends, I have been a horrible, terrible blogger lately. In twelve days, I have posted once and it was this dreamy picture and dreamy quote and before that you got a story about me being (almost) diddled by someone I don’t know so I kind of figured that’d last you for a while. Sorry for being distracted. Lots of work going on and my May is crazy. I am home a total of 9 days all month, 5 only at work. Last week I was touring 5 villages worth of castles for work, this week I’m entertaining friends (the Irish are coming!) and then next week I go to school in Brussels, then I’m home for two weeks in Maine. Wooo. Can’t wait.

But see? I really am busy….but feeling awful about neglecting my official story telling duties…

So. Back to the Irish. They’re coming, and normally the Irish would be an easy group to entertain. Just get them some beer, put on a game and we’re set, right?

Well, maybe if they weren’t eight and ten year old girls. Well, in fairness, their mother is coming as well, one of my best friends here, but when it comes to children visiting, I realized the other day when I was in the store looking for welcome gifts for them two things:

1. I don’t know what to buy for kids that age and I don’t know what to choose for events. When I was that age I had head-gear and I read books in a closet and I wrote to the President, all very normal behavior. So. For now, I’ve put visiting monkeys on a mountain on the agenda, a chocolate factory, shopping and ice cream eating. I figure if these kids don’t like monkeys and ice cream, they can go back to the land of rain and green and we’ll part ways noting our differences.

2. Drinking our way through Germany one stein at a time is not an option. Neither is showing them golden gnomes doing the nasty hand waving motion or making them walk through town picking out all the marooners. So what else am I supposed to do with them? Hmmm. Monkeys, show them German monkeys. Hopefully that works.

And also, the kids were supposed to come by themselves this summer for German/American summer camp at Aunt Heather’s house but my friend clearly doesn’t trust my nonexistent maternal skills and so she is coming probably so I don’t leave her kids in a cross walk somewhere, cut their hair or give them spiked shirley temples, all things even I wouldn’t put past myself.

Hey, kids should have fun, too. They are just mini adults, right?

So these kids. I love them. They are amazing.

The older one looks just like her mom and oh, would I love to tell her that one day I’ll tell her great tales of wine drinking in foreign lands, but I think that might get me and her mom unfriended for now. In the meantime, here is a conversation she had with me in October when I first met her at her house. Keep in mind, she has bitter and indifferent down like you wouldn’t believe and if I had a euro for every time she rolled her eyes, I’d be a rich woman.

Bitter child: “So. Why don’t you have kids? Don’t like kids, huh?” This was in front of her mother, who looked away and tried not to make eye contact or laugh and my husband, who I’m sure loved this chat already.

Me: “Because I don’t. Are YOU going to have kids, nosey pants?” Calling kids anything with pants on the end makes it less insulting, I figure, but dammit she was nosey.

Bitter child: “Kids? No. Never. I am going to move to New York and get out of here,” she said here like Ireland was filled with snakes and gypsies (which I think it might be) “and I’m going to marry myself a doctor and we’re going to have two dogs and be rich.”

Me: (loving this girl) “A rich New York doctor, eh? With dogs, you say? What’s wrong with kids, judgy pants?” I love challenging kids, because sometimes we’re on the same mind game level.

Bitter child: “Have you SEEN THESE KIDS?” She motioned around the room at her three younger sisters, looking bewildered. “I am not having kids.”

Me: “You are one of them.” I taunted and she made a sour face at me.

Bitter child. “You have kids.” And with that, I think she won and then she smirked at me and I wondered how she had outsmarted me.

So that’s the ten year old. She’s a feisty one that constantly must remind the world she is too good for it, even though I know she really just wants to come to my house because I told her we could watch all the Twilight movies and maybe get her a Rob Pattinson poster but I’ll do us all a favor and not talk to her about my sexy thoughts about doing RP in the moonlight while other vampires watch.

Well, what? I do have limits.

And the eight year old?

This one is even more amazing. She is a nut. She is off the wall funny, full of middle child syndrome, needing attention and provoking the world with her sarcasm and wit. And also, she told her mother she wants to be just like me, to which her mother said, No, you do not, which I take great pride in. I’m a goddamned rock star in her eyes and she texts me from her phone when I send her money to top off her minutes.

I taught this one how to do yoga last time I saw her and I gave her silly putty and free rein to brush my tangled hair. When I left, I gave her a Beatles tee shirt to wear as a nightgown and she told her mother this week, “You MUST iron my shirt so I can bring it to wear at night at Heather’s.” When she texted me the other night, she wrote, “Yeah, hi. What are you doing and I hope you’re stretching.”

Normally I’d wonder what pervert was on the end of that text but then I realized it was her and so I tried to pull my leg over my head.

I will not be outdone by an eight year old. Not in leg stretching, anyway.

And so tonight I made up their beds and layed out their gifts—a pile of chapstick and sunglasses, bendy straws and playing cards, sidewalk chalk and jump ropes. I’m going to set up the sprinkler and get out the cupcake mix and practice my shirley temple making skills.

I’m going to be the best goddamned American friend they have.

And when they’re worn out from Heather’s summer camp, I’m going to get their Mom so liquored up that she falls off a chair.

Welcome to German/American summer camp at my house. It’s going to be awesome.