Outsmarted, Use Your Words

The Thread That Leads To The Pit

The inner-workings of Sean’s marvelously complex mind is a fascinating, albeit mysterious, thing to me. The connecting thread of thoughts and events and ideas that occupy his thirsty brain is long and thin and sticky like that of a spider. It collects everything and forgets nothing.

Lately, he expresses thoughts that seem to come from nowhere. Or at least nowhere we’ve been recently. And in true toddler fashion, it is imperative to him that these thoughts be expressed clearly and vociferously and repeatedly at the most unlikely of times.

Recently without cause, provocation or prompt he was upset that he didn’t see our Christmas tree anywhere. And last week as we were walking around the block, he became agitated that no one had their pumpkins out on their front porches anymore. Never mind that the pumpkins have been gone since November. “I no see punkees Mommy!” Most of the time I just try to soothe him by saying we’ll see those things again next year. Sometimes that works but other times he will spend the rest of the day obsessing over the lack of pumpkins in our neighborhood and asking what happened to them. After about the 10,000th time, my evil twin will tell him “Some bad men came along and smashed them all in the streets spilling their orange guts everywhere, okay? They’re gone, get over it.” And to this he replies, “Mommy where did the punkees go?” That is one of the lovely things about toddlers—they don’t recognize when you are being a sarcastic jerk.

Or maybe they do and they just bide their time so they can pay you back in spades by broad siding you in front of strangers– like the other day when he brought up something completely out of the blue that seemingly had absolutely no context and no relationship to anything, anywhere, ever. Great Scott, I hope he doesn’t grow up to be one of those geeky people at cocktail parties that stops a flowing and jovial conversation dead in its tracks by interjecting some bizarre fact like “The great limitation of the circular saw was that it could only saw a log with a diameter equal to half that of the saw itself” or “I have a blog”.

Anyway, I had to go pick up some drapes at a sewing workroom and I took Sean with me. He sat in a chair in the office chatting up the owner telling her how old he was and all kinds of other fascinating facts like “I don’t go pee-pee on the potty yet.” Then all of a sudden he looked at me and started begging, “Mommy! Don’t throw me in the pit!” The owner raised one eyebrow and looked at me suspiciously. I was desperately searching my Sean-To-English dictionary hoping it was a “chicken wipes” moment that I could easily translate into “Wow my mom’s great!” But I couldn’t quite stretch it that far.

With no reasonable explanation to offer in my defense, I quickly settled my bill, collected the drapes and hurried out of the store with a kicking, twisting, screaming, pit-phobic midget under my free arm and I sped off before she wrote down my license plate number. As I was driving home I racked my brain trying to figure out what had prompted this strange outburst. Finally I decided to just ask him.

“Sean, why were you saying ‘Don’t throw me in the pit’? What is that all about?”
To which he softly replied, “Yeah.”
Okiedokie. I made another pass at it. “No Sean, really, what did you mean? Mommy wants to know what you’re thinking.”
Again, “Yeah.”
“Yeah? Yeah, what?”
“I don’t want to go in the pit Mommy.”
“Okay Sean, I promise, I won’t throw you in the pit.”

No I didn’t say that. My evil twin wanted to say that, but I wouldn’t let her. Being the calm and collected T. Berry Brazelton type of mom that I aspire to be, I left it at that and we engaged in a fascinating dialogue about chicken wipes and which are the best kind. But like a clue in the NY Times crossword puzzle, my mind just wouldn’t let it go.

At 4 am, I awoke from a very pleasant but highly unlikely dream that all my laundry was done and my scotch tape was exactly where I left it. And inexplicably, my minds eye flashed upon some fabric in the sewing workroom that had lions on it. In the fog of the small hours of the morning where logic has no currency, I followed a very long and invisible thread from the lion fabric to the story of Daniel in the lion’s den which I had read to Sean before bedtime several days earlier. There was indeed a thread. And for some reason it was a tremendous relief knowing that he’s not destined to be a loser at cocktail parties.

Mystery solved. Make a mental note to avoid Old Testament stories at bedtime. What else is there to do at 4am? Laundry….. or blog.

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