07 December, 2012

I am my Mother's Daughter!

I remember hiding behind the front door day after day ready to jump out at my mom when she walked into the house.  Whether it was me or one of my siblings, Mom never failed to scream and jump back.  Literally day after day this would occur.  Child jumps out from behind the door and yells, Mother screams.  Most days it was funny and after the shock, she would scold with hints of laughter in her smiling eyes, but occasionally (possibly after a hard day) she would not think it was funny and an uncomfortable silence would settle after she walked out of the room.

The day she jumped and the bag of groceries fell out of her arms –breaking the dozen or so eggs that fell from the carton- was when it ceased to be funny for anyone.  I don’t think we dared after that; unless one of us peeked out the window (assuring the other, that her hands were free) before she approached the door.

I have joyfully become my mother in so many ways, and sometimes a minute experience from my childhood…what is the phrase…”Comes back to bite me in the a--.” This is one of them.

Wat Opot is large and we have many buildings, corners, doors and other areas where a small devious little boy can hide while awaiting his prey. That unfortunate victim would be me.  Nine-year-old Nak-To (a.k.a. Little Nak), has taken to replicating my former actions although with the pre-meditation I lacked.  My mother’s shock was usually an afterthought when someone would yell “Mom’s home” and one of us would race to the door while the others would look nonchalantly back at the TV. 

Nak-To has upped the game, so to speak.  He takes pleasure in the hunt and has changed the rules.  He has taken my game to a new level, one without consistency.  Nak-To jumps out randomly, yells and takes the utmost pleasure in my response.  What’s my response you ask? Why it’s the jump and scream my mother perfected years ago. 

And just as my siblings and I received great joy, so does Nak-To and anyone else who witnesses it.  There will come the day when I have an armful of something which may go flying like those unforgettable eggs…but until then, I try to be on my guard!

Here’s Mr. Nak To playing so sweetly with the dogs…but there’s a devious side of him, I promise!

Mr. Saoun was with me one day when I jumped and yelled and he (who was completely unaffected by Nak jumping out) laughed so hard.  

Saoun has trouble sitting still and gets in trouble most days.  He’s a child who will annoy the heck out of you one minute and then crack you up the next.  Somedays I waver between anger and laughter in the course of seconds.  Saoun loves lists; especially our printed roster (which we use to mark off who’s where).  He is the only one who can identify every child’s written English name – quite a feat since he has never had any kind of formal English teaching and he's only 8.

Like his obsession with the roster, once Saoun got it in his head that he would scare me and day after day there was no stopping him.  He would jump out and try to make me yell.  The problem is that whereas Nak-To is sly, Saoun is totally and utterly predictable.  He will run ahead of me giggling and dash behind something.  I say “Saoun, I know you are there!”, but he will still jump out and yell unfazed whether I am startled or not.  He just enjoys playing the game.

For over a week every morning Saoun would see me coming and yell “GOOD MORNING MELINDA!” and then quickly run behind the laundry room; before I passed. I could hear him giggling as I got closer.  

Saoun...totally predictable and totally loveable.


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