I was leaving the RAK offices today with my arms full, Jack, riding on my hip, my car keys clutched in his chubby fingers. I try to avoid that practice given how often my keys disappear after serving as playthings but after hours of him screeching, kicking and fighting me in the office, the kid could have whatever he wanted if it meant silence.
When we reached the back of the car, I set an armful down on the concrete and reached for my keys. Jack contorted his face, flung his arm and the keys a far away from me as possible and grunted his rebuttal. I huffed at the end of my patience and wished myself magically transported, childless, to Tahiti. Nothing happened.
“I need those keys to open the car,” I calmly and fruitlessly explained to my son, pointing at the lock. Next, I acted out the desired sequence of events, years of charades experience failing me in my hour of need. Still kicking angry, I realized the kid wasn’t going to give ‘em up. I had no other options. I grabbed the keys and yanked, expecting to pull them from his fingers. I may as well have pulled the whistle cord on a steam engine. The parking garage filled with wretched screeching and I continued to fight for the keys.
They finally came free, warm from the kids hot fist and I immediately grabbed his toy phone from the car and placed it in his grasping palm. He grudgingly accepted the offering, pushing buttons and placing it to my ear (I’m Jack’s receptionist; he won’t speak to anyone until they’ve gone through me.) and then his own. I loaded our gear into the car as he played, momentarily appeased
Then a lightbulb went on just over his semi-bald head. With a half-smile and a friendly grunt, Jack offered me his phone, other hand grasping for the keys, those cow-eyes clearly conveying his meaning, “If it’s such a great deal, you should take it.”