I was away from the house for a bit this weekend when Katie sent me this picture of the boys. I replied that it was the perfect picture for a poster detailing “boys being boys.”
A good friend recently posted pictures of her daughters’ high school and college graduations on Facebook. I was reminded that the days of our “boys being boys” are fleeting. Being aware of that helps turn simple mud puddles into awesome memories.
If the art of manipulation is a sign that mud puddles will soon be a thing of the past, Elliott is about to be a very clean boy. You see, Elliott has gained a good understanding of which of his requests in our house will be met with a YES, and which will die at the hands of the dreaded NO. So dreaded in fact, he has adopted a strategy that bypasses all roads to denial. Here is an example that took place at a recent bedtime:
“Dad, nobody drinks chocolate milk at bedtime.”
It is important to note here that this could not have been mistaken for a question. Elliott was stating a fact that he was begging me to prove wrong. I didn’t bite. So he went on to phase two.
“Hey dad, I have an idea. I have juice in the mornings. Maybe I could have juice tomorrow morning, then chocolate milk the next morning, then juice the next morning, then chocolate milk the next morning, then that would be a new pattern. At this point, while I could still recognize the “non-question” that was being buried beneath a pile of pattern poop, I should have issued a generic no and ended the whole scheme. Whatever you’re after Elliott the answer is no. But I wasn’t big enough. I couldn’t resist. I was drug into the world of four year old logic like a fall nut gets whisked away in a squirrel’s mouth. But I had him where I wanted him. Playing the pattern card was about to be a big mistake.
“Elliott, do you even know what a pattern is?” (I promise God, if he quotes Webster here he gets chocolate milk three meals a day for life).
“Yes,” he answered.
“Would you mind telling me what a pattern is?” I asked. Oh, I couldn’t wait to hear his definition.
“A pattern is when you have juice one morning, then chocolate milk the next, then juice the next, then chocolate milk the next. That’s a pattern.”
So much for asking him to use it in a sentence.
The next morning, I heard some rustling around in the kitchen. When I investigated I found the refrigerator door wide open, and Ian standing with a half gallon of juice in his hands. He had a strained look on his face that reminded me of one of those guys on the World’s Strongest Men attempting to lift a Volkswagen higher off the ground than the rest of the competition.
“Ian, what are you doing?” I asked.
“Getting some juice.”
“Why don’t you just ask?”
Just then Elliott showed up from out of the blue. Like a ghost, only more haunting and less invisible. And he decided to answer for Ian:
“He’s afraid you’ll say no.”
Fleeting, I keep reminding myself, Fleeting.