More about the trip: you only thought I was through with this subject.
At least it's a benevolent creepy.
Last week, as I sat on my grandmother's deck and visited with my brother, my dad, and various extended family members, John and Bryce came outside, Bryce yelling excitedly, "Mom, watch what I can do!!" He grabbed both of John's hands and proceeded to walk up John's legs, torso, and chest and then flip over, landing on his feet, still holding John's hands. My brother and I looked at each other half incredulous, half amused: the only time we'd EVER in our lives performed the Childhood Torso Climb Flip was at my grandmother's house, and then we'd subjected aunts and uncles to it more times than any human should ever have to endure the skin-pinching pain and bruises caused by 35-50 pound humans clad in rubber-soled tennis shoes using one's body as a launch pad for Childhood Torso Climb Flips. I assumed someone had clued Bryce and/or John into the apparent Childhood Torso Climb Flip requirement at my grandmother's house, so I asked both of them, "who told you about that?" to which John stared at me blankly and then said, "nobody told me - Bryce just walked up to me, grabbed my hands, and started climbing." No one really knew what to say, even though all of us were thinking, "weird!" until my dad made an alarming implication about the psychic awareness of my grandmother's house. We all took another swig of our respective drinks and changed the subject.
Later, when the kids' excitement over the dozen new toys my grandparents purchased for them had worn off to the point that they were doing things like playing the electric piano keyboard at its highest volume (and by "playing" I mean attacking the keys with brute force and evil laughter), John did the only thing any sane individual can do with two kids under age 5 in a town of 3,000 in 110-degree weather: took them to Wal-Mart and bought a Slip-n-Slide. Again, Slip-n-Slide use was only ever sanctioned at my grandparents' house - we never had a yard that allowed for such intense water madness - and I figured someone had mentioned the Old Days of Slip-n-Slide Joy to one of the kids or John, but no - more creepy (but fun) psychic leftovers from my childhood.
Manipulation is the new comedy.
Oh my, were the kids ever fond of all the attention from the great aunts and great uncles and great grandparents who thought Bryce and Quinn were, well...great, actually. The amazing thing about people who haven't been around young children in several years is that they just FORGET. They forget how annoying the tantrums can be. They forget how differently kids act in public, and how frustrating it is as the parent to watch a kid who you know is perfectly capable of answering a question coherently turn into a giggly, limp mass of pretend shyness simply because he knows his parents won't call him on it in front of everyone. They forget how lack of sleep makes all of that cuteness seem really not so cute at all. And all they see is the miracle of a healthy, beautiful child, perfect precisely because of the imperfections; all they hear is the sound of life's complex, sometimes loud, potential; all they feel is the sense of special worth that being genuinely and gently hugged by a child you've only just met will inevitably leave with a person, no matter how old.