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The Tattler

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We had a kid over to play the other day, one I’ve “affectionately” begun referring to as The Tattler.


To myself, anyway.


“Um, Miss Lindsay,” he called to me urgently from the playroom five minutes after he arrived. “Miss Lindsay!” I ran over to the door.


“Yes?”


“Bruiser hit me!”


I frowned. “Bruiser,” I said sternly. “Do not hit Alex! We do not hit!” Bruiser looked up at me from where he was playing on the carpet. He seemed confused. I watched him for a moment, then went back into the kitchen. Two minutes later, Alex called me again.


“Miss Lindsay!” he screeched. “Miss Lindsay! Bruiser hit me again!”


I ran back to the playroom, a little surprised that Bruiser hadn’t listened. Alex stood at the top of the playroom stairs, lips pursed, holding a floppy stuffed animal. “He keeps hitting me with this horse,” he reported.


I paused. An eighteen-month-old “hitting” a five-year-old with a soft stuffed animal was not something I needed to know about.


“Oh. Well, Alex, if he does it again, just tell him to stop.” Alex’s eyes widened.


“Okay,” he said dubiously. He returned to the playroom. Four more minutes passed.


“Miss Lindsay!” Alex’s voice was beginning to grate on my nerves. I looked up from my grocery list.


“Yes, Alex?” I asked, not moving.


“Punky took her shoes off!”


“Greeeeeaaaaatttt,” I said. “Thanks for the info, kid.” I could hear Alex breathing noisily at the top of the stairs, apparently waiting for me to come up there and deliver justice. I rolled my eyes. He was going to be waiting a long time.


A few minutes later, Punky and Alex came tumbling downstairs. Punky had reformed, I guess, and decided to put her shoes back on so that they could go out in the backyard and play. I brought Bruiser into the kitchen and let Punky and Alex outside.


Not two minutes later, there was a knock on the back door. I opened it.


“Miss Lindsay,” Alex said primly, “Punky took sand out of the sandbox and threw it on the ground and that’s wasteful.”


“No it’s not wasteful, Alex,” I smiled. “It’s fun.” His mouth popped open as I gently shut the door in his face. Through the window, I watched as he returned to where Punky was diligently spreading a small pile of sand across the deck. I couldn’t hear what he was saying, but there was quite a bit of finger pointing and head shaking involved. I pulled a few cookbooks from the kitchen shelf before hearing another knock.


“What!” I yelled. This was getting ridiculous. I saw Alex’s eyes peering over the door’s window as he stood on his tiptoes. “Miss Lindsay,” he squawked. “The dog next door is barking at another dog.”


I’m not even kidding. The little dude was tattling on a dog. Someone else’s dog.


For a moment, I just looked at him. He continued standing there, waiting. Finally, I gave him a thumbs up. “I’m on it, Alex!” I shouted through the window. He walked away.


I began counting the minutes until Alex’s mom was due back to pick the kid up. I was beginning to understand why she was always so eager for the kids to get together. I tried to imagine Alex at home.


“Mommy, someone took the trash we left on the curb last night.”


“Mommy, that man on TV said it was going to rain today. That’s not very nice.”


“Mommy, my food got cold before I could eat it all.”


At last, she arrived. Exhausted by the incessant tattling, I practically pushed Alex out the front door.


“Bye, now!” I shouted as he clambered into the waiting minivan. “Come back soon!”


I can only imagine what the tattler told his mom about me.

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