Tonight at dinner I said to Joey, "Hey, Joey maybe after dinner we can read some Harry Potter." We're on Book 3, and have been for awhile since we only read at bedtime, and also because we took a hiatus for about six months while Joey debated whether the dementors would give him nightmares or not. I think they might still, and I think he agrees, but he's just so hooked on the story that he recently decided it was worth the risk.
"Okay!" he said enthusiastically. "Should we have dessert in my room?"
I closed my eyes to hide my smile, a rather stupid attempt since closing my eyes does not hide my mouth from anybody. Still, I think it gives me more self-control. "Joey, we don't eat in our bedrooms. We can read the book downstairs after dessert."
Joey blinked as he thought this over, and at first I thought he was completely blown away by the idea of reading a bedtime book outside of his room. But then he said, "Will you go up and get the book with me?"
Ugh. This is a rather irritating request both Joey and Noah have been in the habit of making. For some reason, their bedrooms are safe and cozy enough to sleep in at night, but when it comes to fetching anything, even things they really want (like Noah's guitar necklace or Brown Elephant), they stand at the bottom of the stairs, clutching the railing, heads thrown back, moaning, "Maaawwwwm! You have to go upstairs WITH me! I can't go ALONE!" And really, why not?
So I said, "Joey, I think it's pretty lame that you're afraid of your own bedroom."
He looked thoroughly disgruntled. "I am not. It's just..." and here he rolled his eyes dramatically, "I knew you were going to say I had to go get the book." He sighed loudly. "And I totally do EVERYTHING around here! I'm just sick of it!"
I had to swallow a loud guffaw at this, a difficult feat. I mean really, my shock was laughable. What the heck was he thinking? He complains daily that I'm always too busy to play video games with him or sit and watch Phineas and Ferb, but...?
"I'm so sorry, Joey," I said calmly. It really was something that I didn't fall out of my chair laughing, or even chuckle at all. "I had no idea you felt that way. Maybe you should remind me of all the things you do?"
He threw his hands in the air, Grandma Judy style. "Everything! As soon as I come into the room, it's, 'Joey, go get this!' and 'Joey, throw this out!' and 'Joey, help Noah!' I swear, I do EVERYTHING for EVERYBODY!"
Here I did laugh, just a little, but quickly softened it into a fond smile. "Joey, honey, you're forgetting something important."
He sighed again. "What?"
"Families are about everyone pitching in to do their part, so the whole house can work properly. Daddy goes to work every day to make money so we can have everything we do. Mommy takes care of the cleaning and the laundry and the running up and down the stairs five million times for two little boys." He grinned sheepishly at this. "And you are our little Gopher."
"Gopher?" he repeated.
"Yup. You run around and get things for us. 'Go for a bottle of water. Go for Noah, he needs you. Go for a hoodie, it's cold.' That's how you help out your family."
Joey absorbed this for a long moment, chewing the last of his meatball thoughtfully. Then he frowned, a thorough, dark, brow-furrowing face.
"Well what I want to know is," and he thrust his thumb at Noah, sitting innocently beside him, "what does HE do?!"