Antique Crazy, Parenting Gone Awry

Chain Yankin’ Episode #7

One of the many many delicious things about having a four-year-old about the house is that you can really get away with yankin’ their little chain, because, you know, they are only four and they’ll believe almost anything you tell them.

I know. I know. It really says something about you when you can trick a four-year-old.

On the other hand, I once convinced my Cousin Cheryl that I had won a trip to Zimbabwe in a random drawing when I purchased some luggage at Foley’s. None of it was true – no luggage, no drawing, no trip to Zimbabwe. I don’t even know why I brought it up. At that moment, it just seemed like fun to yank Cheryl around a little and luggage came to mind. It almost made me sad when I had to tell her the truth a day or so later. She used to live in Africa and I think she was trying to figure out how she was going to go with me.

It’s kind of thrilling to see if you can come up with just the right detail and insert it in just the right spot with just the right amount of nonchalance to convince the victim and then gauge their expression to see if they are buying into it.

I also once convinced AD for more than a week that Rhode Island was named after my mother’s ancestors who came to America in the 1700s. My mother’s ancestors did come to America in the 1700s but so far as we know, no one named a state after them, even a small one. (He just reminded me that he recently convinced me the remote control was voice activated. For a full five minutes I was talking into the TV remote saying, “Volume up! Volume up!”  So you see, it works both ways.)

Be that as it may – story telling or chain-yankin’ as the case may be is one of my many non-income producing talents and makes me very popular and well-loved among family and friends as you might well imagine.

And now I have a four-year-old to mess with (rubbing hands gleefully).

This morning, Sean slept in a little later than usual and so I took the opportunity to make some muffins. When he finally got up and followed his nose to the kitchen they were done and sitting on the stove cooling.

“Oh mommy, did you make muffins?” he asked.

And I could not stop myself.

“These? No I didn’t make these.”

“Well, who did?”

“Well, funny you should ask,” I said with just the right degree of nonchalance.

“I was here in the kitchen working on my computer at my desk, when I heard a little bell in the distance. Sounded just like an ice cream truck and I thought, ‘That’s weird, an ice cream truck this time of day?’ but I didn’t think anything more about it and I went right back to my computer.

Well, the next thing you know, I heard a little tap tap tap at the kitchen window and I looked up and there was a little round man wearing a white hat standing in the shrubs and motioning me to the window. I raised the window just a bit and oh my goodness, the sweet smell of something filled the air, like cake or cookies or something. ‘Yes?’ I asked him, ‘Are you here to check the meter?’ ‘No ma’am’ he said ‘I’m the muffin man and I was wondering if you’d like some muffins.’ ‘Why yes!’ I told him, ‘My little boy loves muffins! What kind do you have?’ He said he had blueberry and bran and so I said we would take six of each.

Well, he walked down the driveway to his little white truck and when he opened up the two little doors in the back – oh my! The aroma of fresh baked muffins filled the entire neighborhood! The smell was so captivating that the birds fell right off the telephone lines. He had a little bitty bakery right in the back of his truck! Can you imagine such a thing?! Well, he came back with the muffins and I handed him some money through the window. I turned to set them down and when I looked up to thank him he was gone but for the sound of a little bell in the distance.”

Sean cocked his head and squinched one eye shut. “Are you teasin’ me?” he asked skeptically.

“Sean,” I said, “I would not tease about something as serious as muffins.”

“I think you’re teasing,” he said.

Then he got up and looked out the front window.

37 thoughts on “Chain Yankin’ Episode #7

  1. How do you keep a straight face!? I would’ve given myself away somewhere around ‘little round man wearing a white hat’. Also, I admire your use of detail. Any good lie involves lots and lots and detail. That’s the clencher. 🙂
    Great story. I wish I had your imagination. Or that you were my mama. 🙂

  2. Do you know how excited it makes me that YOU, of all moms, do something as childish as fool your own son? *also rubbing hands gleefully*

    I thought I might be the only mom who loves to take advantage of children’s naivete!

  3. reminds me of some of the stories my mom used to tell us…

    for instance, my sister was terrified of the thought of the tooth fairy sneaking around her room at night. so mom told us she chased the tooth fairy off with a broom…

  4. You are too funny!

    My brother once pretended he was God and hid behind a bush and started talking in a deep voice to our little brother telling him things about him and how he should stop nagging his brother. He was sooo scared and thought it was true.

  5. Cracking me up!

    My dad loved to come up with wild stories. ‘Ccept it bit him in the butt one time when I told his friends at the Legion how he bravely fought off wild animals in the jungle. Without a weapon, and by himself of course.

  6. What a sweet story – your little dude sounds just like my nephew. We’re always fooling him with little bits of nonsense, and secretly, I think he really enjoys it.

  7. Too funny! You really had me laughing. I can’t decide which is my favorite: this story or the recent one about the dog with two tales; two dogs with tales; two tails? – whatever it was I laughed hard then too!

  8. This kind of thing has happened to me so often, I’m the one who falls for the chain being yanked. I jumped on the wagon, and yanked a few chains myself. Living in the northern part of the country we get plenty of snow and shoveling it off of the driveway is a chore that is detested, until I thought to tell the kids that’s were we will find snow snakes. Being the boys they were the driveway was always shoveled clear in hopes that they would find snow snakes. they are older now but shoveling that driveway brings a smile to their faces. Your son will always enjoy those Muffin Man Muffins!!

  9. I would never do that and I’m appalled that you would.

    I especially wouldn’t just out-and-out lie to people at a get away in another city. And I would never tell my children I was an elf. Or that The Great Pumpkin was totally real. Or that dust devils and bunnies are really leprechauns that almost got caught.

  10. My mom would have told him they were “bug muffins”. That she had gone out in the back yard and chased down every bug she could find, mashed them up with some flour and eggs, and baked them to perfection.

    I kid you not.

    She told my kids that their white grape juice (which they were refusing to drink for some odd reason) was “yellow bug juice” made from (what else?) yellow bugs.

    My oldest was 4 at the time. They all fell for it, hook, line & sinker. And chugged that yellow bug juice like there was no tomorrow. Nothing like a gross-out to motivate cooperation. Go figure.

    We also have a road trip trick. You know those “falling rocks” signs? Well. When I was a kid, my mom told us that when we passed that sign, we had to be very very quiet until we passed the rocks. Because, if we didn’t, the noise would shake the rocks loose, and they’d come crashing down on our car. And she was the one to decide when were safe from impending doom.

    Take a wild guess at why they came up with that one. Ahem. I have since used it on my own young’uns once or twice. Works like a charm. 🙂

    We’re all shameless liars. 🙂

  11. I recently told my daughter that menstruation isn’t at all painful. It is no big deal.

    I’m still waiting for the lightning bolt.

    Send the Muffin Man my way.

  12. I’m a red belt chain yanker. (We call it button pushing up north.)

    My husband, however, if a fourth-degree black belt.

    Unfortunately, he’s pushed one to many buttons on our kids (7 and 4 at the moment). After most of his stories, they cock their heads at him, roll their eyes and say, “Da-ad!”

    He’s lost all credibility.

  13. Our dear friends had their two little boys “spiff up” for years each time they went through a state border inspection station. The little guys would put faces and hands to the car window, showing their clean teeth and front and back of hands. They were so proud and relieved each time when they “passed” inspection. Wish I’d thought of that one!

  14. Hey, I know the Muffin Man! Tee Hee – great story! We yank our kid’s chains every opportunity we get – makes everything lots more fun! Laurie

  15. That was very creative. I go in for the basic sarcasm. As in: “These muffins? No, a little fairy came in and made them.” My poor kids.

  16. My dad is a class a chain yanker. I was an adult before I figured out that it was the details that give it away.

    For years he had us convinced that the tires on the side of the road (the ones that held down the plastic, so the grass could grow) were a tire farm. they were planted there as a service to those who drove the freeway. in case of a blowout you could go “pick-your-own”
    but you were on your honor to pay $14.95 to the tire farmer within 30 days or he would levy fines.
    Of course you had to be tire savvy and pick a ripe one…

    Mrs N

  17. As a former teacher, we used to joke in the lounge that we should write a book about all the “chain-yanking” stories we told our classes. One of my favorites was one I told a 4th grade boy. He was very bright but lacked any type of drive to do well in school, especially math. Mind you, he COULD do it, he just chose not to.

    I told him that if he continued to do poorly in math in elementary school, that they would make him take MORE math classes in high school than most kids. Oh the horror on his little face.

    Needless to say, he ended up getting A’s in my math class.

  18. Oh, do you know the muffin man who lives in Drury Lane? Your imagination would rival the best of Hans Christian Anderson! You have such fun raising Sean that it is a shame you couldn’t have had a dozen kids.

    My youngest daughter is a nurse and works for a gastroenterology group. Last week they were doing a colonoscopy on a computer nerd type. The doctor kept saying, “Open, Close, Open Close” as the patient watched the scope in his innards opening and closing to take biopsies. He was amazed that the scope was voice controlled and commented on the wonder of it all. The doctor said, “Oh, no….I pay my nurse to do that.” It would have been so much more fun to allow him to think that science has yet another miracle.

  19. I love that too! I think that’s part of why Santa is so much fun! And then I thought of our elf, and I just had to tell you about it. You can go to and invite an elf to come to your home over the holidays. The elf gets in all sorts of mischief while the kids are asleep, and it is just too fun! We first heard about this from Catie’s mommy, ( because Catie is a precious little girl who died from cancer, but she loved her elf! Anyway, Catie’s mama worked with the elf people and they will now donate a portion of their proceeds to help kids with cancer. I can’t remember how it works, but if you decide to invite an elf to your home, just mention Catie in your order. You won’t be sorry you did it! Our kids still talk about Clark (our elf) and he only got to be with us 5 days last year. This year, he’s going to come a little earlier, and they don’t know it yet, but he’s bringing a friend! I can hardly wait! We have 4 kids, and every year, I’m going to add an elf, until we have 4, so that when they’re all grown, they can each have an elf when they have kids. I love family traditions!

  20. You are creating a monster. . .just you wait. 🙂

    When I first moved to Houston, Tony convinced me that Schlumberger (pronounced Shlum-ber-zyay–an oil company) was, in fact, a meat packing plant called Shlum-burger, and their motto was “Don’t have a BURGER. Have a SCHLUMBERGER.”

  21. You’re too funny! I, however, have yanked the chains of my kids so much I don’t know if they’ll every believe anything I say! When Dayna was little we used to travel to see her grandparents just about every weekend. One morning we stopped at Denny’s for breakfast about half way to grandma’s and she noticed the cook was wearing a tall white hat. She asked why. I, of course, replied without a blink.
    “That’s where he keeps the eggs. That way when he has an order he just grabs what he needs and gets them cookin’.”
    She never said another word, but watched to see if she could catch a glimpse of him snatching an egg from his hat.
    When we got up to leave, she said, “I never saw him get an egg!” I had forgotten about it already and then giggled and said, “Oh, I’m sorry! I was just teasin’!” The people at the next table thought this was hilarious. They had been watching her the entire time!
    She didn’t talk to me the rest of the drive to grandma’s house. lol

  22. You’re the best story teller!
    Imagine the look on the faces of Sean’s playmates when they’re outside and one of them says, “Listen, I think I hear the ice-cream truck!” And Sean argues that it sounds more like the Muffin Man….who lives on Drury Lane:)

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