Thursday, February 11, 2010


Go to your room! Don’t make me pull this thing over! Are you getting smart with me?

As a kid I remember hearing a Bill Cosby record: yes I’m that old. It was a stand up routine where he talks about parenthood: he serves his kids chocolate cake for breakfast, his kids have Dain Bramage, and on and on. Funny stuff then, really funny now! Parenthood is multi-dimensional because we get to vicariously relive our childhood. It humbles us and it makes us more appreciate our parents (“because I said so” sometimes is the best answer).

Do you remember peek-a-boo? Perhaps you’re well versed right now. Kids have this belief that if their eyes are covered, you can’t see them. So you cover their faces with a sweatshirt or something and say, “Oh, no. Where’s Elias?” When he pulls the sweatshirt off his face and giggles uncontrollably you know he hasn’t grasped object permanence.

This concept transfers to misbehavior too. You may remember when Kiera found the advent calendar chocolates, hid, and rifled through multiple morsels before we found her hiding place. (This happened in 08 and 09, by the way.) Unlike Kiera’s hiding place (which really was out of sight), Elias has found his new “den of iniquity”. Okay, a little harsh, but it’s the same idea.

Because the word he hears more than any other these days is “No” (don’t open that drawer, don’t harass the cat, don’t climb those stairs, don’t take mommy’s lipstick, don’t play with scissors, don’t throw food, etc.), he is beginning to understand that certain behaviors are not acceptable. And what are we supposed to do when faced with a moral decision? Either don’t do it or do it in a hidden location.

So at the intersection of these two concepts (object permanence and morality), we find Elias’ hideout: under the dining room table. Yes, I said under the dining room table – about as porous and effective as a patio shade structure in Seattle. In a small corner of the house and behind dining room chairs with spindly legs, hides number one son. What is he doing? What does he have? Just fill in the blank. On ______ (name a day of the week), _______ (name parent A or parent B) found Elias under the table with _______ (pick your poison). It could be a marker, a bag of rice, a dog toy, food, whatever.

We’ve become so adept at our sleuthing skills, we know that if there are 30 seconds of silence in the house, something’s going down under the table. Honestly, it’s quite entertaining. We shake our heads, call out his name, and slowly approach the crime scene. We’re either met with grunts and shrieks (translation: don’t bother me) or with an immediate protruding hand with said object (translation: I’m sorry; please don’t put me in jail).

So, where do you go when you hope to avoid getting busted? It would be foolish to say our indiscretions end in childhood. Perhaps we’re just better at concealing it. It sure makes me think a lot. Am I living in the open or am I too often hiding under the dining room table?

No comments: