As an adult, I pride myself in doing something harmful once and hopefully never doing it again. I also pride myself in evaluating circumstances and situations, and perhaps realizing that, even though I’m curious, I firmly believe I will get hurt and therefore I will choose not to do it.
My kid: “I like this fan, Daddy. It’s blowing cold air.”
Me: “Mmm. Yes. I like it too.”
Kid: “I want to stick my finger in the fan.”
Me: “No, no. You don’t want to do that. That could really hurt you, honey!”
Kid: “Oh. OK.”
14 seconds later… a quick staccato of BL-BL-BL-BL-A-A-A-A-A-P-P-P-P-P-P-P. “Waaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh – oh Daddy, my finger. Ohhhhh, my finger. I hurt myself.”
It seems that kids don’t have enough of whatever it is that lets them make better decisions, even after we advise them appropriately. Perhaps placing an antique fan without safety grilles within reach was partially my fault, but still. I told her!
I also find it weird that they could basically break every bone in their body, and just get up and keep running. UNLESS they see that someone observed the injury. THEN it’s cryin’ time.
The incredible, mind-boggling ability to pick a fight over the dumbest stuff never ceases to amaze me. Honestly, I listen to my kids fight over stuff and I often think they must be knitting with one needle.
Abigail: “Let’s play school. I’m the teacher.”
Amalie: “No, I’M the teacher. And I’m a pretty teacher.”
Abigail: “No, you’re not. You’re not the teacher. And you’re not pretty. I said it first.”
Amalie, welling up with tears: “NO, YOU’RE NOT! Well, then I’m not playing anymore. And you’re awkward.”
Abigail: “Haha. You don’t even know what awkward means. OK, sit down. I’m teaching.”
Amalie, crying and screaming: “I’M A MERMAID!!! DO YOU HEAR ME? A BEAUTIFUL MERMAID. AND MERMAIDS DON’T NEED TEACHERS.”
Abigail, now crying too: “NO, YOU’RE NOT. I’m the teacher, and you’re not a mermaid. And I’m never playing with you again. And you smell like hot dogs.”
Andon, the 1-year-old with more sense than both of them: “Cookie! Coooookkiiiiiiieeeeeee!!!”
They just make no sense, and find the strangest stuff to fight over. Also, the sneakiness is disturbing. The hitting in the car has come to a relatively abrupt end, because our minivan has a “conversation mirror” which is just a fancy way of saying “mirror that shows us the whole van and will allow us to dole out accurate beatings based on what we’ve observed first-hand.” But in the house, we will often hear some arguing, followed by the sounds of a scuffle, and then one or both are bawling. Yet we have no idea what caused it and neither will admit to anything. They have a solid sense of when they’re not being watched and commit terrible crimes during those moments.
Temporary and Selective Deafness
Another thing I just can’t understand is my kids’ ability to sit, literally, two feet away from me, look me in the eyes with an unwavering stare, while I tell them something that’s critical to their survival. And they don’t hear a single word of what I said.
Try opening a bag of chips though. They could be two blocks away, in a tornado, and they’d hear it and come running.
Tom Sedens is the husband to his dream girl, the co-founder of 3 kids that make his world go round, blogger at wildsau.ca, and a grateful soul for a life full of blessings.