Overnight with Colin

I have a 12-year-old grandson, Colin. Actually he will be 13 later this month, so I’m sure he would like me to say that. After all, it is quite monumental to become a teenager!

Anyway, last weekend he sent me an email. It went like this: “Nonna! This is Colin. I wanted to ask you if I could go over to your house, also if we could make chocolate rice balls :D. I haven’t been to your house in forever! Hope you say yes ;D”  And then he included a recipe link.

Hmmm… the recipe was for sushi rice balls – nothing to do with chocolate. So I began to search. I thought he was mixed up and wanted to make rice krispie balls with chocolate.

Not so.

When I called his mother (my daughter, Ellyn) to make arrangements, she said he wanted to make rice balls like Japanese people eat. He had discovered this both in school and on Anime cartoons.

“OK,” I said, “we’ll just make both to see which goes over the best.

Now here’s the thing… Colin is one-of-a-kind. And he always will be.

I’ve heard it said that when some boys come into the world, they may have gotten a double-dose of “boy-ness.” I can only think that Colin lined up again and got a triple dose. Or more. He is in motion every moment he is awake. And his ideas are all over the place. Which is why when he was coming up with recipes to try over spring break, Ellyn said, “please call your Nonna! She actually likes to cook!”

So I went and picked up Colin for an overnight visit. Our first stop was Japanese Steak House for lunch. He had been there once before and it was the only time he had ever had shrimp. He loved it and ate every bite. We both got the steak and shrimp and he was thrilled.

He also said he wanted to try lobster but I persuaded him to wait a bit. I knew we could go get a lobster tail at the market and cook it at home for supper for a fraction of the price. He agreed.

So off we went on the day’s adventures. We picked up sushi rice and nori at the store so we could make those real rice balls he wanted. I had bought him a mold that shapes them into panda heads and you decorate them with nori punched in the shape of the features. He was thrilled – and much more interested in making them than eating them.

Japanese Day

Then he wanted drawing lessons. He asked me to help him portray star wars droids and then another fantastic character he liked.

Here’s the droid, which we took turns drawing on the same page.

Colin droid

And “Trogarian” which I drew for him myself. He looked at me and said, “Nonna, I only hope that I can get to your level one day!” How nice is that?


Next he wanted an anime character and I told him he had to do it himself with what I had been teaching him. And by golly, he drew it spot on! All by himself! This boy has potential as an artist! Hooray for my Colin!

Colin drawing2

Then I made the lobster for supper. I showed Colin how to cut off a piece and dip it in melted butter. He took his first bite and was enthralled. His eyes literally rolled back and he began to hum. “You like?” I asked. “I LOVE!” he exclaimed. And proceeded to scarf down the rest.

Later we watched TV and my plan – as always – is to let him stay up as late as possible. Why? Because this kid likes to sleep in. And it makes my life easier when he does that.

However, he was passing out by 10:30 so I put him down on an air mattress in the living room. He was out like a light.

And sure enough, he was sneaking into my room at precisely 8am the next morning. I opened one eye – which was my mistake…

“Nonna! he cried, “we have to make the rice krispy treats!”

“um, yeh, Colin, but we have plenty of time” I muttered.

“OK,” he replies as he plops into my bedside chair. “I’ll wait.”

Now let me tell you… this is not a child who waits quietly. Not at all. Every item in his surroundings that draw his attention require exploring. Remember that “boy-ness” thing I mentioned? That means any knob or button that can be pushed or prodded will be.

And when you hear a kid like Colin say “oops!”… it is probably already too late…

So soon we were melting marshmallows and chocolate chips and doing yet more drawing lessons. Followed by numerous games of Angry Birds, which I actually like.

Colin, continued

We had a fun visit and I snapped a few photos of him so as to draw him as he is right now. Here’s the sketch…

Colin portrait2

He was glad to see his mother when she picked him up and off they went. I immediately went in my room and laid across the bed for a break. And just as I was drifting off, the alarm on the small clock across the room started to ring. At first I didn’t know what it was and sat up totally startled. That is not a clock I use as an alarm, but Colin had brought it to me earlier saying he wasn’t sure what happened with it.

No, he didn’t break it. But he did set the alarm. So after he left, it went off and reminded me he had been here.

I could only laugh. I wouldn’t have this boy any other way. And my advantage is that I only have him once in a while. Truth is, his mother has the patience of Job – and a lock on her bedroom door. I really do love that kid!

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