“Welcome to my tourist guide!” DorkySon shouts with glee.
I have just opened the door to a potential new babysitter, who we have asked round to the house for a quick chat.
“Let me show you round!” he says, bouncing up and down on his toes with excitement.
First he shows her the den, explaining that it’s where he watches TV and builds toy car traffic jams on the floor. Then he leads her through to the dining room, where he likes to draw, and to the kitchen where he likes to help cook.
“What are you allergic to?” he asks. “I’m allergic to peanuts.”
I watch his approval-meter rise as she lists her allergies. He likes this common bond.
But then the test starts to get a little trickier.
“Okay, that’s this bit done,” he said. “Race you upstairs.”
He streaks past us, and shoots up the staircase. I can see the poor woman regretting her heels, but she gives it her best shot.
“In here,” shouts DorkySon, from my and DorkyDad’s bedroom. “I’m over by the window.”
“What colour is your car? Can I see it from here?”
She has parked so far down the road that he can’t see the car. He has to reply on her description. The approval-meter drops rapidly.
“Here’s the bathroom,” he says. “Do you know any good jokes?”
Before she can answer, he keeps talking.
“Guess how old I am.Here’s Mummy’s office. How old do you think Mummy is? How old do you think Daddy is? No, higher. Less than a hundred but more than thirty. Higher. Lower. Not that low. Goodness me, do you need another clue?”
We keep walking through the house.
“This is my bedroom, look, here’s the gallery of my pictures. What do you think this one is? No, it’s not fireworks, silly, it’s a fire engine squirting water. No, it’s not a butterfly, it’s a ladybird. An alien? Have you ever seen an alien on a lilypad? That one’s a frog.”
DorkySon looks at me and slaps his hand to his head. “Oof,” he says. “This is going to be a long day.”
We keep walking.
“Here’s my playroom. Let’s play marbles and see who wins.”
DorkySon takes the first shot, and does pretty well, his marble rolling to a stop just a couple of inches away from the target. She crouches down on the floor beside him, squints slightly, and then with a sharp crack she pings DorkySon’s marble right out of the way, finishing up with her own nestled right beside the target.
He looks at her in admiration, before standing up and saying “Well! That’s enough of that game for today”
We walk downstairs.
“Let’s go outside now so I can show you my sunflowers. And the herb garden too. Do you know what this one is? No, no it’s not that, it’s sage. And this one is thyme. Guess which one is mint?”
We walk back inside. I pour her a glass of water. She looks slightly stunned, but is still smiling.
DorkySon sits quietly at the table and draws her a picture of a rainbow.
She has passed the test.
I’ve got a piece published over at The Island Review today about summer in Tasmania, I’d love it if you popped over there for a read!