Image via WikipediaAndrew, our typically developing 10-year old, has always been a very precise person. He chooses his words very carefully. He is very good at math and has been able to subtract easily for many years, so you don't tell him that the carpool will arrive in 15 minutes, when in actuality the time is 13 minutes. Sometimes I think that Andrew really believes that his parents are pretty daft and that his sole purpose in life is to act as our fact checker and our editor, making sure that we continually strive for accuracy.
I can remember a time when Andrew was young, either three or four years old and we were running errands when he suddenly asked me, "Mom, can I say shut up?" When I answered "no," he immediately responded, "Yes I can. Shut Up." Of course, he was right. He was physically able to say the phrase, but what I meant with my response was that he should not. Now I would just turn up the radio and mentally declare Andrew the winner of that round, but at the time I was a first time mother with what seemed like boundless energy so I naively looked at the conversation as an opportunity, a teaching moment. I explained to Andrew that, of course, he was able to say "shut up" but if he did say it, he would upset people and his friends might not want to play with him. He paused for only a moment and then responded by asking if instead of saying "shut up" he could say "Save big money at Menards," the tagline of a Midwestern chain of home improvement stores. How was I supposed to answer that? If you are keeping score it is now Andrew two, Mom zero.
We had some relatives visiting from Boston over the weekend and had a nice dinner at my parents' house last night. It got to be pretty late and David had declared that it was "time to go" so Michael took him home. As Michael was tucking him into bed, he told David "It is 9:30, so you need to go right to sleep." David looked at his digital clock and with perfect clarity said, "nine twenty-seven" and as the clock immediately changed he announced again, "nine twenty-eight." Michael just smiled and shook his head, but had I been there I may have been tempted to respond, "Save big money at Menards."