Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Kids Ruin Everything

For those of you who don't know me I have 2 boys. D is the oldest, he is 4 years old as of this writing and G is 2, which would make him the younger. One of the great things about kids is that they always speak their minds, unfortunately one of the worst things about having kids is that they always speak their minds. My 2 year old, G takes a no-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners approach to life. He doesn't think twice about anything before he does it or says it, and if I were totally honest I'd have to admit that he probably doesn't even think once about it, let alone twice.

I had a birthday recently and my wife had taken great care to keep my gift a secret from me. The only problem with her plan was that she wasn't able to keep it secret from G. You can't leave a 2 year old at home and go shopping, and the reason isn't because you're worried about the 2 year old it's because you're worried about your house. That kid can do some serious damage in a matter of minutes. To my wife's credit she waited as long as possible to buy my gift and she gave strict instructions and severely threatened G that he was not to tell me what they bought or where it was hidden.

Alas, I came home from work on a Wednesday evening (I would later discover that it was the very same day that they had bought the present) and as soon as I walked in the door G popped his big head around a corner and said "Daddy, Daddy..."
"NO, NO, NO!" D interrupted him. D is smart enough to know that G has been waiting all day to tell me the secret that he has. 2 year olds were not built to keep secrets, they were built to teach you patience and that you're not as smart as you think you are.

After that it became a game. Both boys would take turns telling me "we're not going to tell you what we got for your birthday!" and I would play along. If you know little boys then you know that EVERYTHING is a game. In fact, when I can't get one of them to eat their dinner, or go get ready for bed or pretty much anything, all I have to do is make a game of it:
"Your brother is going to be the first one to get into his PJs (finish his dinner, clean up his toys, etc.) are you going to let him win?" You can get little kids to do anything if you make a game of it, and it has the added benefit of teaching them that it's not how you play the game it's whether you win or lose that makes Daddy happy.

That's my parenting tip for the day - back to the story. Not 30 minutes later we were all heading out to dinner. I grab G and take him out to the car. As I'm buckling him into his car seat he immediately begins with the game again, "Daddy, I'm not going to tell you what we got for your birthday!" This was probably hundredth time I'd heard this in the last 30 minutes and I was sick of playing along so I stop responding to the playful taunts. G, of course, is not done playing the game and in order to entice me back into it he decides he needs to up the ante by revealing a little bit more information. Surely that would draw me back into the game. He decides he's going to reveal the location of the hidden present. The logic is sound, but the execution is lacking. He looks at me with a big smile and says:

"Daddy, I'm not going to tell you that your bike is hidden in my playhouse!"

I smile back at him. "OK, G." The G does not stand for genius.

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