Sure, Come On In

Piper is well known for her hospitality. Good, bad, or otherwise. We’ve enjoyed a record number of house guests this year. 50 and counting. It must be that we live in hub of all happening things because it sure ain’t my cooking. Regardless of why they come, they come. We have guests in our home or visitors in our town almost every single week. They keep coming back, too. Even our chaos is better than $300 a night hotel room.

Piper and Sissy love it. They love making up the big bed in the guest room and picking out a book to leave on the night stand. They love designing a “fun schedule” for each visitor. They love bounding down the steps each morning and waking our guests up (sorry about that, friends). They think we have guests entirely for their pleasure.

Yesterday, Piper’s play mate, Alex, came over. Piper met her at the door and said, “Do come in” as she bowed like the butler. “How can we make you comfortable, Alex? We’re here to help.”

Alex just stared. “Um,” she said, “where are your toys?”

Sometimes the pressure of hospitality becomes too much, though. Piper can’t be on her best behavior all the time, you know. The last time her cousin Charlotte stayed with us Piper and she bunked together. Charlotte drifted off to sleep peacefully, but I found Piper with her eyes wide open glaring at her sweet cousin. “I don’t know, Mom,” she said, “I keep thinking really bad thoughts.” The high price of staying in our home is accepting Piper as alpha. It’s futile to resist.

Last week one of my former colleagues passed through town with her adorable two-year-old, Flynn. We invited the family downtown for some outdoor music and fun. There was ice cream, rock climbing, dancing. Piper and Flynn wanted balloons, of course. They got them, of course. The play got a little rough. Flynn may or may not have broken part of P’s balloon tiara. We stood in line for a replacement. Then she generously awarded Flynn with the deflated remainder of the broken balloon tiara. Flynn’s face lit up like Christmas. Piper’s hospitality is only rivaled by her charity.

A Blessing in Disguise

How is that your kids always figure out your weakest spots and exploit them? Piper spent most of yesterday speaking only in cliches and idioms. I teach college writing; it’s like rubbing salt in my wounds.

“Mommy, will you watch my balloon Lucy while I’m at school? She feels like she doesn’t have a friend in the world,” Piper asked, handing over the ribbon tied to her purple foil love child.

“Of course I will. You can trust me,” I assured her.

“I do. I trust you with all of my heart.” Lucy and I spent the day boxing and bobbing around each other as she trailed me through the house from room to room. Darn helium.

My strategy with cliches and idioms is simply to provide an alternative. It’s not that they are the devil; it’s that there is always a better way to express yourself than relying on pat phrases.

When Piper returned from preschool, I couldn’t hold my tongue any longer.

“How was Lucy?” Piper asked. “Did she have the time of her life?”

“Do you mean was our day successful? Did we get along? Did Lucy behave herself and have fun? Yes, Lucy the balloon did very well.”

“Thanks, Mom. You’re the best mom in the whole world.”

I suppose not all pat phrases are terrible. I can make some exceptions.