Mr. Neighbour stopped by the other evening, towing Neighbour Baby (now a toddler) along with one hand and wielding an enormous, rusty Allen wrench with the other. (I later learned that these sorts of things are used for performing mechanical-type actions on vehicles, but in my present state of ignorance immediately started crafting an excuse about why I couldn't help him assemble his oversize Ikea furniture; fortunately, he interrupted my thoughts before anything to that effect came out of my mouth.)
"Hi. We found this in the bushes between the yards. Is it yours?"
(Whew!) "Um, nope."
"Okay, just thought I'd check before I tossed it out. I wouldn't want the boys getting hold of it."
"Yeah, good thinking."
Small Fry ambled over and, in his sweet little Mickey Mouse voice, chirped, "Hey, that's mine, Mommy!"
Mr. Neighbour and I exchanged a glance. "Er, it is?"
"Yep. I use it for smashing the driveway."
Let's just say that one more time for effect: I use it for smashing the driveway. Wrong on so many levels in itself, but gets even worse on closer inspection: turns out Small Fry stole the wrench from the other-side-neighbour's driveway ("It
was just sitting there for a weally long time. Dey weren't using it or anything."), smashed stealthily away at the driveway when he sensed the coast was clear, and hid the evidence in the shrubbery when it wasn't.
"Smash!" said Neighbour Baby.
And, apparently, employed Neighbour Baby as an accomplice.
I thought all along the (now approximately two-metre square) broken area at the toe of our driveway had been disintegrating naturally due to wear and tear. I thought "shoddy workmanship." After a recent Margaret Atwood binge, heck, I even thought about asphalt-eating microbes. I thought pretty much everything but Small Fry and a stolen Allen wrench. The child is five. Imagine the dedication this took. If Neighbour Baby hadn't turned him in, he probably
would have gone all Shawshank Redemption on me and tunneled his way completely out.
I had been thinking of getting Small Fry into music lessons one day soon, but it is now clear to me that he doesn't need to get any smarter - what he needs is to get way more tired. And this needs to happen in some way that will not make me even more tired than I already am, because I'm obviously not on the ball here as it is. He needs... swimming lessons. Lots of them. Every bloody day, either forever or until he moves out, whichever comes first.
I used to look at elite athletes with a certain amount of awe; all I can think of now is what a pain in the ass they must have been when they were kids.