While scratching my head yesterday as my 12-year old son tried to tell me that I should applaud him after seeing a homework assignment where he had completely phoned it in by giving lame one-sentence responses rather than writing A+ answers, I thought…HUH?
It made me think about the different stages of logic employed by the 12, 8 and 3 1/2 year old mind. Observe:
12 year old boy
Situation: Child must be ferried from soccer practice on one side of town to baseball game on the other. Midway through ride, child realizes that he has left his bat bag and glove in father’s car which is a) locked and b) back near soccer field.
12-year old logic: Freak out in front seat of mother’s car and demand that she turn around and magically enter locked automobile to recover said forgotten bag.
Mom logic: You blew it kid, not a big deal. A bat is a bat is a bat; find a teammate’s glove to use until father appears with your own. Learn a lesson.
Outcome: Exasperated mother drives home at 65 MPH, finds spare key, returns to soccer parking lot, retrieves *^&%#! bat bag, drives 66 MPH across town to baseball field to drop off 12-year old who is visibly peeved that he’s (gasp!) six minutes late. TO WARMUP.
8-year old girl
Situation: Child lays on ground writhing in pain and exclaims, “Ben threw me to the floor!” Brother explains that after younger sister grabbed clicker and changed channel to yet another mindless Disney Channel sitcom, he repossessed clicker and returned to watching ESPN. Sister threw herself to floor on her own accord.
8-year old logic: “You never believe me, everyone is against me. I hate you.”
Mom logic: “This is insane. I didn’t witness any of this. You both need to spend time in your room and think about how to coexist.”
Outcome: Two angry children. One exasperated mom.
3 1/2 year old boy
Situation: Child sits in carseat while mother grinds teeth during rush hour traffic en route to pick up child’s sister from soccer practice. Mother on cell phone trying to speak to colleague about new business opportunity while hoping that young child stays quiet. Child looks out window at green lawn on I95 and notices 20 Canadian Geese grazing.
3 1/2 year old logic: “Mommy. Mommy. MOMMY! MOMMY YOU NEED TO STOP TALKING, I AM TALKING NOW.” “Ok, Quinn, what do you need?” “Awww, look outside at all the penguins!” “Quinn, those are geese, not penguins.” “MOMMY I SAY THEY ARE PENGUINS, LOOK AT THE PENGUINS, THEY ARE MANY PENGUINS!”
Mom logic: I am an exasperated mom. I give up. Penguins, they are.
Outcome: (Covers phone) “Those are awesome penguins, buddy.”
My lesson? Don’t use logic. Just go with it. It’s what the penguins would do.