Tonight my son told me he was disappointed in me. "Why?" I asked, my face bland and devoid of any emotion. The moment he learned to speak, he has been whipping out these zingers at me and so I have learned to mask any surprise or amusement. I feel it necessary to add that while it would certainly be an exaggeration to say that its been seven years since he learned to speak, when he is only now seven, it feels like there was never a time that he couldn't speak. And if you should ever chance to meet Shakir and hear the eloquence with which he speaks and experience the feeling of watching precious time slip away as he drills you with question after question, you would understand me completely.
"You weren't outside to wait for me," he stated, his eyebrows twisted into a perfect V as he sternly glared at me. To clarify his meaning, let me explain that he was at choir practice at church and I had asked the choir mistress to bring him home after. Apparently, he expected that upon his arrival I should be outside waiting to greet him. Perhaps he would have felt less peeved if I had taken the time shed my clothes for a suitable loin cloth and prepare him a platter of food in preparation of his arrival, as some slaves must have done in earlier days. I swear these kids look at you and they don't see a human - they see someone who was put her for their convenience to treat as they like.
"Shakir," I said. "I was out there earlier waiting and your father told me he would wait for you so I came in."
"I was out there for a bit," he complained. "Did he tell you he would play dominoes until I came?"
"No," I said unsure now how to placate him. He was in a ripe old frenzy and it was probably best to let him see it through. As irritating as they can be, sometimes children need a good tantrum. Its the first step in learning self expression and self control.
"And why is Jaheim sleeping? I thought he would be awake. I came in later than this already and I more sure that he was awake." In case you missed the unspoken accusation here, he was insinuating that I had deliberately put his brother to sleep when he was supposed to be a part of the welcoming party Shakir obviously expected.
"You wanted him to be awake when you came in?"
"Well, I'm sorry but Jaheim was tired and he was awake for a while too,"
"Hmm! Now how am I supposed to jump him?"
What? I admit it was a couple of seconds before it sank in and I asked him what he'd said.
"I had planned to surprise him,," he said and I mentally took note that he had replaced the word 'jump' with surprise. He hoped to frighten my child and enjoy a laugh at Jaheim's expense and he was seriously annoyed that I had put a spoke in his plans by allowing Jaheim to sleep. I swear these little monsters are borne with the understanding of how to manipulate and guilt-trip.
"Shakir, get undressed and go to bed," I told him firmly, effectively putting an end to the conversation. I still can't get over his nerve!
Allison is mother to two active boys who challenge her on a day to day basis with their escapades. In her other life, Allison juggles a regular day job as a marketing executive in a health food organization. At night, when everyone is asleep, she dreams of being a fulltime writer and super hero.