Sunday, April 27, 2008

On his mind

My nephew (a completely terrific second grader) has been having headaches again lately. They had plagued him a few months ago, but then he got glasses and they abated for a while. He's also been tearful at school, especially on the playground. He no longer seems to have any sense of humor when teased, as little boys will do at recess.

Today he and I had lunch together, just the two of us. I told him I had a craving for a hot dog. When we got to the restaurant counter, he eyed the menu carefully and asked if I planned on us both having hot dogs. I told him he could have whatever he wanted so he ordered a slice of plain cheese pizza, even though the hot dog was cheaper.

As we ate, he told me about his upcoming summer vacation at a lake in Wisconsin. His dad (my brother-in-law) recently began a new job after a long period of unemployment and hasn't accrued any vacation time. My nephew says he understands why Daddy will only be able to drive them out on Saturday morning but has to turn around and leave them on Sunday, but he doesn't like it. He says he "really needs" his father with him when he's on vacation.

On the way back, we agreed it would be nice if we brought something back for Grandma (my mom). We stopped at Subway and picked up a ham sandwich on wheat. He knows what Grandma likes, so he asked for lettuce … and American cheese … and pickles … and tomatoes … and that was it. I mentioned that it might be pretty dry without mayonnaise, and he responded that he knew "for a fact" that Grandma had mayonnaise in her refrigerator and he didn't want to "waste money" on something she had at her house. I told him it was OK -- that Subway doesn't charge extra for mayo.

First he wonders if it's OK to order the more expensive pizza, then he expresses how much he'll miss his dad while on vacation -- even though he understands the situation, and he's concerned about wasting money on condiments. I worry that he headaches and tearfulness are because he's concerned about his family's finances.

I mentioned all this to my mom. Hopefully she'll find a way to broach the subject with my kid sister (who doesn't appreciate my commentary or tips about childrearing). I know there are unfortunate realities about their household finances that she wants him to understand, but I would hate for it to weigh too heavily on him.

It's a lot for a second grader to have on his mind.

Still first in the NL Central … and first in my heart

It was a not completely successful road trip (2-3), but it was still entertaining:

• Kerry Wood, God bless him, got a win in Colorado!
• In DC, Reed Johnson made one of the greatest catches I've ever seen. (Check it out here.)
• Ted Lilly seems to have hit his stride, even though today was a losing effort.

Obviously there were games when we fell behind, but we were never out of it. Naturally I'd prefer it if we didn't strand so many baserunners, but it's still early. And we're still in first place!

Enjoy your Monday off, gentlemen. You deserve it.