Before going to bed each night, Elijah is supposed to pick up all his toys. All his toys usually include a mountain of LEGOs on our rug, which take forever to pick up and so Elijah tries to avoid doing it as long as he can.
One night, after exhausting my pleading repertoire, I decided to switch it up and use threats. “If you don’t pick up your LEGOs, no bedtime movie today; straight to bed!” At this point, Elijah did the same thing he does every time I try a threat: he went to do what he was asked to do, looking at me in a concerned way – the way you look at a crazy person who is starting to have one of her “episodes” again. Clearly, it’s not the consequences of the threat that bother him – he is worried about my mental health. “Oh boy, you are getting all worked up again!! Here, here, look, I’m picking up my toys! Here we go! Ok, calm down now… it’ll all be ok…. there, there….”.
Once the LEGOs were (sort of) picked up, we went upstairs and I contemplated how to carry out the threat based on the latest status of toy pickup. To deny a movie completely seemed unfair, and yet he didn’t do what he was supposed to do, or at least not right away. When upstairs, Elijah (after a while) asked “Can we watch a short movie, Mom?” (Notice the ‘short’ qualifier. It’s not there by accident. The kid knows what he is doing….)
“Well”, I say. “I don’t know, Elijah… I mean…. You DID pick up your toys, but only after Mom had to ask you MANY times, and even THEN you didn’t really pick up ALL of them and I had to HELP you ALL the time and….”
At this point, my Wombat sits up on his bed, crosses his legs, assumes a serenely Zen face and says this:
“Hm. Well, what should we do?”
This phrase jolts me into surprised stupor, and so I stare at him in a did-you-really-just-say-that way, while he, seeing my confused face, decides to elaborate:
Having said all this, he stares serenely at me again, in a teacherly sort of way. After the stupor wears off, I crack up laughing because I cannot help it, and all the while he looks at me with the expression of “Well? Did you pick? Do you remember what the options where? Goodness, you are really something…. Focus!”
Clearly, the movie was the better option. That’s what I picked. He seemed to think it was a good answer. Phew.