by Aurora Bordeaux
So I know I’ve written several blogs this summer about family vacation, and I promise this is the last one of the season. I hope I didn’t go overboard on family topics this year, but the reason it’s so easy to write about these trips is because it throws what I love about being a childfree adult into such sharp relief. I mean, my life? Awesome.
But if this year’s summer series somehow ceased to thrill, buckle up Off Boarders, because this fall is going to be jam packed with stories of our purposeful transition from life in the suburbs to life in the middle of a big new city. It’s a new set I’m putting together called “Suburban Mouse Turned Urban Mouse,” and I think it will be a lot of fun.
So, to wrap up this year’s summer, it’s only fitting that I end with a firecracker of a tale about how I almost killed my nephew, Zipper.
You know that saying, it takes a village? Well, the in-laws only partially believe in this concept. They respect one another, and that’s wonderful, but maintaining boundaries also means that when someone else’s kid does something completely out of line, the aunts and uncles have no authority to correct them.
Last year, I wrote about my favorite little nephew, Curious George. And while this year’s family vacation with the in-laws was actually pretty fun half the time, and while I had many, many positive interactions with the nieces and nephews that I neglected to write about this season, there is one little rat nephew who tap dances with cleats on my last nerve. Zipper.
Zipper is nuts. Zipper is completely out of control. Zipper drives every single adult crazy, year after year, and age is not simmering him one bit. He is loud, cheeky, and doesn’t know how (or even try) to sit still. He doesn’t listen or respect any level of authority. In short, Zipper and I have nothing in common.
This year, Zipper, age 6 and therefore running out of excuses, drew a pirate map on the rental house kitchen wall with red crayon. Fed up, the other aunts told him to wait on the couch until his mom returned from her run. Mom came in and said, “Well, do you need a punishment?”
Last year, when I was changing clothes in our room with the door shut, Zipper came inside and shut the door behind him. “Hey! Get out!” I said. He gave me an eat-dirt-and-die look and didn’t move an inch. “I’m playing hide and seek,” he said, as if this information mattered one iota. I told him to get out again and had to physically remove him from the room. Later, Zipper’s mother hauled him and his older sister to the doorway and demanded that his sister apologize to me. I tried explaining that she hadn’t done anything wrong, but it was useless. For the record, I managed to get a shirt on in the nick of time, and Zipper’s break-in wasn’t sexual. He just assumes every room belongs to him.
So this year when Zipper came into our room early one morning when I was still sleeping, I was flabbergasted. Once is bad, but twice? A line had been crossed. I. Was. Pissed. I stormed into the hall after him, a she-demon-wraith whose sacred cave slumber had been disturbed. Nobody gets to wake me and live to wag a tail except my dogs.
The kids had collected on a landing of stairs that was visible from both the second and first floor. The other adults were all at the kitchen table below and couldn’t see me from my perch upstairs. “Zipper!” I called clearly, making sure the other adults overheard. He deliberately ignored me. “Zipper!” I enunciated again, unleashing a tenth of the you-are-about-get-kicked-in-the-balls tone I only use in drills at krav maga. “Look at me. Now.” Zipper at last looked up, undaunted, cavalier.
“If you ever come into my room again, we are going to have a problem,” I said, stern and loud enough that the other adults could hear. I never want to discipline anyone else’s kid, but your right to choose how to parent ends with my twice-violated door frame.
Zipper shrugged and started ignoring me again. I snapped my fingers, and he finally looked up. I pointed straight at him and shot him my signature fearsome, cold stare that scares the bejesus out of former linebackers every week in krav maga. I said nothing, just stared and pointed, then walked away.
I shut myself in my room and checked the mirror to see what my grand gesture looked like. I’m relatively attractive if you grade on a curve, but this look is stone cold terrifying the way a cupid doll infused with a serial killer’s soul in a horror movie is terrifying. I burst out laughing. Zipper may not have to respect anyone else in the house, but he will respect me, even if I’m laughing on the inside.
Still, heaven help that little bastard if he invades my privacy again. If he does, I’ll… I’ll… I’ll probably just huff and puff and passive aggressively blog. Or pin him against the wall for a minute, then call him a liar if he tattles. I won’t know until it happens.