The ray gun is meant for shooting but my nephew likes to just bonk me on the head with his. This makes a very prickly aunt sharper and more dangerous than the cactus glaring at me from the window. I am not a morning person the cogs in my brain don’t start whirling until approximately eleven, which is tea and toast time. There is no point resisting I offered to babysit, nobody made me. I do love the little bugger as much as anybody but just not at the ungodly hour of half seven.
He has turned my house into a maze of stubbiness for toes. I have stood on and banged of cars, soldiers and oh the joys my foot just discovered some Lego. Oh fuck, change that quick, no too late he is now winding tinsel around me chanting fuck as he goes. My brother must have slipped one out at some stage. I’ll remonstrate with him over it later.
The tinsel reminds me that I had promised I would do the whole Santy thing. The Square will be packed with Mommy and Daddy's and their little darlings. I need a shower and some food before I can face any of that. How do I keep Rory quiet for half an hour?
“Rory, did you bring any of you DVDs? Would you like to put one on? Auntie Mary just wants a quick shower and then I’ll make some brekkie.”
“Yeayyyy my friend gave me a new one I’ll go get it.”
“Cool go do that then.”
I listen to him rummaging through his bag that Tommy deposited him here with and hope he has everything he thought otherwise we will have a tantrum. In my head, that means its contents have already been vetted. I shout in that I’m just going out to hang up some washing which is code for I’m having a sneaky ciggie.
“Okay, found it. I’ll put it on.”
Ten minutes later, more alive from the fresh air and the nicotine fix, I pop my friendlier looking head into the sitting room. Rory is nowhere to be seen and gunshots and screams blare from the TV screen. I run to remove it just as blood comes spurting out from someone's neck. Shit, what the hell has he been watching? The DVD cover is of an innocent-looking Red Riding Hood and The Big Bad Wolf but the contents I now have in my hand are recommended for over fifteens. Bugger I’ll be all day calming him down now.
Rory has a condition called Dyspraxia, which I don’t really understand, but apparently, they think different. How helpful is that? Not at all but that’s one of the descriptions the many doctors gave Tommy. He is eight going on five in some ways. It was a great achievement for him to be able to do the DVD himself as hand and eye coordination are not the best. Dyspraxia is often called Clumsy Child Syndrome. I hate that description but can understand it as laces and buttons are a big issue. They often make up for it and hide it by being highly intelligent in a lot of ways. I also find Rory a lot more sensitive than my other nieces and nephews.
“Rory, where are you? Are you okay?”
I hear a sniffle from underneath the sofa and get down on my tummy and hold out my arms and smile encouragingly. He comes out slowly and allows me to lift him up and sit him on the sofa. “I don’t like that film.”
I know by his tone and demeanour that’s all I’m going to get because I’ve learnt that if you push Rory for details about anything he can shut up for weeks. Keeping lines of communication is nearly always on his terms.
“No problem we’ll give it back to your Daddy and he can give it to your friend.”
“Okay. Can I have some toast?”
“Sure. Can it wait until I come out of the shower? Will you be alright here for a while? Actually, why don’t you get dressed while I’m in there and we’ll do your shoes together just like last time.”
He can get frustrated so sending him off to get dressed by himself without me watching him is always the better option. Velcro has been our saviour many a day but Rory these days wants trainers with laces like everyone else.
“Yep, can I make soldiers like last time?”
“Sure runny egg as well then.”
I’m rewarded with a smile and he goes of happier to his room.
Blast, Tommy, we’ve talked about this before. It’s his responsibility and mine to be extra vigilant. No point in blaming an eight year old friend. Nothing I can do about it now, anyways.
I go put the eggs on and then run up for a quick shower. Dressing quickly I crack an egg, good lovely and gooey just the way he likes it. This is mine, he likes to do his own.
“Rory, egg and toast are ready.”
“Coming, thanks, Auntie Mary.”
He comes in like a whirlwind much more energetic than he left.
“Oh don’t you look smart. Your laces are open, though, we’ll eat first do them later.”
“Okay, these are my meeting Santa clothes. So Daddy says anyway.”
“Well, they look good. Any ideas what you’re going to ask Santa for?”
“Yep but it’s for you so I’m not telling.”
With a lump in my throat, I pour his milk knowing that whatever happens me and Rory will be okay.