Note: No animals were harmed in this story. One was mildly inconvenienced, but heck - welcome to my world.
If I am ever in need of a defense attorney, I'm going to appoint my 3 year old, Finn. He is the undisputed winner of just about every debate (arguably every conversation) we have. We were outside the other day, and he was playing with his squirt gun. I reminded him not to squirt people. He smiled, said he wouldn't, and marched over to one of our chickens and squirted her in the face.
"Don't squirt any chickens, either, love", I said.
"I didn't", he replied.
"Yes, you did. I'm standing right here and I saw you squirt Curly".
"Nope, I didn't", he said confidently, and squirted her again.
"Squirt her again, and I'll take it away, Finn"
"I didn't squirt her, Momma", he stated calmly.
"Then why is she wet?" (See - I can see in hindsight that here is where I lost control of the whole thing, but I just. can't. help. myself.)
"It's raining", he said, leveling me with his what-are-you-a-moron gaze.
"Finn, it's not raining, and you squirted Curly. Stop" I said helplessly.
"Don't worry, Momma, I get you an umbrella. Den da rain won't get you".
Two minutes later he emerged from the house with Greta's little princess umbrella, and handed it to me. And I, of course, took it. You can see it coming, can't you?
"Look out for da rain, Momma" he cried, and squirted me.
The thing is - I'm in charge. I know I'm in charge. I should know better than to get drawn in, but it works every time.
My 6 year old Greta should either be an Existentialist or a reality tv show producer (please tell me they aren't the same thing yet). She can spend hours engaging in "what-if". Wanting to be a responsive mother, I seem incapable of not engaging in this with her. Sometimes her musings are more maudlin:
"Mom, what would you rather do... eat a bucket of dirt or chop off your own foot?"
I know from experience that trying to explore why on earth she's even thinking about this is fruitless, so I reply.
"Eat a bucket of dirt" I say confidently. And the litany begins.
"What if the bucket had bugs in it? What if you didn't really like your feet anyway? What if the dirt would make you really, really sick? What if you could grow your foot back?" And on it goes...
Other times she is on a more philosophical path.
"What would it be like if the letter "e" had never been invented?" she'll ask. Or, "what if we're really aliens, and trees are people?" . Yesterday she asked "what if kids were grown-ups and grown-ups were kids?". I resist replying that, for starters, I would pepper her with unanswerable questions until her brain fell out.
I love this about kids, though. Their fervent belief that if they are emphatic enough, they can make anything true. Their young imaginations uncluttered with shopping lists, bills to pay, places to be and where their next meal is going to come from. And its okay, because they just think they are in charge, right? Right?