Five days with my two-year-old nephew... I've needed three days to recuperate!
He never stopped. Except for his nap and his bedtime, and those events only came immediately after his newest game, "Chase Me Around The Crib First." He earned those naps. And I slept very, very soundly at the end of each day.
But it was absolute joy. Between going over letters and identifying animal figures and coloring around stickers, we had the best of times. We went to the library and the toy store, the grocery store and the mall's indoor playground. We took a series of four photos at a little photo booth in the mall. (Two of the photos, he was too busy looking at himself in the image on the screen to release into my tickling and smile, but the other two photos came out great.)
And then there was the pumpkin. One of my uncles had brought an enormous pumpkin the week before, in honor of the current season, and it has been sitting on the kitchen table at my sister's house ever since. Each day, for five days, about four to five times a day (and always at mealtime), my nephew would look at the pumpkin, his eyes would light up, and he'd say, "Apple." (Well, he'd say his equivalent of apple, which likely is spelled more like "apuhl.") "No," I'd say. "That's a pumpkin." He'd squint up his face, appearing worried for me and my low level of intelligence. "Apuhl," he'd say, a little slowly this time, so I could hear it better and understand the truth. "No. Pumpkin," I'd respond. Apuhl. Pumpkin. Apuhl. Pumpkin. Until he'd say, "Pie."
I never did figure out if that was his version of the word pumpkin, or if he was asking me to bake a pie. (I don't bake, I felt like I should warn him.) "Right, pumpkin!" I'd say instead, and we'd be done. Until next time. And it would start up all over again. I said it was like being around an Alzheimer's patient. No, my brother-in-law told me, it's like being around a Bollinger. Oh. Do Bollingers insist on our version of events, even when everyone around us is telling us that we're wrong? We don't do that, do we? (Or, if we do, and I'm not conceding the point, have you ever considered that we are right and you all are wrong?).
Well, and then the highlight - absolute highlight - was when I said to him, "Can you say Aunt Beth?", and he could. Right off the bat. No hestitation. He said it without the "n" and the "t" and the "t" and the "h," so that it sounded more like "Au Be," but it was loud and clear and music to my ears.