My son has a 2-year-old nemesis.
It’s an adorable little boy — I might even say cherubic — at his day care who he plays with regularly but who seems to have it out for him. Nemesis went through a period where he was biting my son, sometimes as often as two or three times a week. I like Nemesis’ parents and chalked it up to the Wild Wild West that is a day care toddler class. My son, however, was not so quick to forgive. He frequently volunteers that he doesn’t like Nemesis, even when we’re not talking about him at all. And when he lists his friends he always adds “And not (Nemesis).” I try to be good and use that as a teachable moment (catchphrase picked up from years as an education reporter) and gently tell him that it’s OK if he isn’t friends with everyone, but we shouldn’t be mean, etc. etc.
Fast forward to this week, when I decided we should start doing prayers as part of our bedtime ritual. I sat next to his bed, lights off, and said in my most peaceful, sleep-inducing, NPR voice, “Now I lay me down to sleep” … and continued through the prayer to the list of people to bless. He was captivated. I named all our family members and then threw in his best friend, “all your teachers and allllll the animals.”
Nate smiled dreamily, and then added: “But not (Nemesis).”
I’m sorry. I laughed.