I have marched this kid home by his ear, to his mother, on more than one occasion.
Iíve seen him take bike crashes that leave my finger poised over the last 1 in a 9-1-1 call only to watch him get up and shake it off. He can show the most charming manners one moment and in the next, rip a streak of swear words that wouldíve made Richard Pryor in his heyday blush.
Heís Noah, and heís our favorite neighbor brat. We canít help but adore him.
My daughter, Dakota is the only girl on the block and heís been pulling her pigtails, both literally and figuratively, for 10 years now.
Iím not sure what inspired the decision but a few years back Noah decided he was going to be responsible for Dakota and me. Mind you, weíre doing just fine. We live in a nice house, are generally very happy and want for very little. Noah lives in a rundown duplex, is often alone and has 12 scars to date from outrageous fights with his older brother. Yet, he feels the need to take care of us.
He announced his intention the day he showed up to help Dakota pooper-scoop because, and I quote, ďSomeoneís got to be the man around here.Ē He said this directly to me and was making a point. Iím not sure if the point was that heís a man or that he felt that I needed to get it together and remarry already, or both.
On occasion, when there is another male at our house, he marches right up and introduces himself - extending a hand, all the while staring them dead in the eyes. Iíve been told he squeezes their hand and holds his shake a bit too long. His sheer audacity has earned him their respect.
No less than three times a week he trots over to our house in his old man slippers to find out whatís for dinner. We rarely eat meat and this concerns him. This year Noah got his first deer. After telling us the story, he raised his arms and announced with great pride that he's got enough meat for all of us. We celebrated with a special dinner featuring a package of his deer, mac and cheese and milkshakes.
Noahís a little short for his age, but does 40 push-ups every night and reports back regularly to let us know how his 6-pack is coming. We cheer him on and assure him that any day now heís going to enter a growth spurt that will leave us looking up to him. The truth is though, we already do.