When son number one was about 2-3yrs old, we lived in Philadelphia in a two-story brownstone. We took in roommates occasionally; whoever was in need of a place to live.
One year, it was a russian friend who decided to save some money by staying with us. In all honesty, he is Ukrainian, not Russian, and although he told us HE didn’t care, it is apparently a mild source of annoyance and consternation to Ukrainians that they are referred to as “Russian”. FYI here.
Anyway, our friend Sergey lived with us for about two years. At one point, because we charged next to nothing for room and board (and the only reason he paid anything was because he insisted) he began helping out in domestic areas. He was not a very good cleaner, and his culinary skills were somewhat two-dimensional so he settled into occasional child-care for us. The best part of that meant that I could sleep in every now and then because he would always get up early and watch my precious ward for me without any complaint.
One such morning, I woke up and stumbled downstairs to find my beautiful baby boy sitting on the floor with a econo-size jar of grape jelly between his legs. Jelly smeared all over his face, his clothes, the floor and an incriminating trail behind him. Sergey was sitting not three feet away tapping away on his computer.
“Hi mommy!” cheered son number one, waving a sticky purple hand at me. Finding his ice-blue eyes underneath the gelatinous carnage was difficult but I managed to get down on the floor and engage in a mild staring contest before speaking gravely.
“son,” I said, “you are done with the jelly now. No more jelly.”
His little face fell some, but he handed over the nearly empty jar with no fanfair. I picked him up and we went to clean up.
After his body had been un-stickified and his clothes changed, I sent him to wipe up (in his own toddler way) some of the aftermath of his adventure. While son number one was thus occupied, I turned to Sergey.
“uh… Sergey?” I said, “um, did you KNOW that [son number one] was eating a huge jar of jelly?”
“oh yes,” he said in his familiar accent, “I opened the jar for him”
“you opened the JAR FOR HIM?” I said, louder, surprised as hell.
“oh yes,” said Sergey “he could not open it himself, so I had to open it”
“Sergey,” I tried to remain calm, “Why in the WORLD did you do that??”
“Because,” he said, “He asked so nicely, I could not refuse”