Trick-or-treat, except no tricks please because my kids are stupid

My kids are still working on becoming funny. At least I hope they’re working on it, and that where they sit right now on the funny spectrum is not where they’ll remain. Funny is important to me. The fact that it’s lost on my children leaves them not getting 62% of what comes out of my mouth. Since the remaining 38% is made up of directives they’re ignoring, we have a major communication problem over here.

When my then 5-year-old son shouted back to me from the door of a stranger’s house on Halloween night, “Mom, she doesn’t have any chocolate, is it OK if I pick something else?” I realized that my kids are too earnest for my tastes.

See, I (jokingly (totally not jokingly)) told my son to make sure he gets lots of chocolate. The for me was implied. He did not pick up on the implication. He took it as a rule or mission of Halloween. He took it as advice from his mother who looks out for him and knows more about Halloween and the world at large than he does.

And nothing I said for the rest of the night could change his mind.

“Honey, I was just joking. Get whatever candy you like,” I said.

“But you said to get as much chocolate as I can. I’ll get chocolate,” he said.

“You are evil. You better blog about this,” husband said.

Every house was the same. My kid shouted back to me, “This one has more than one kind of chocolate, does it matter which I get?” and “This one has chocolate and Skittles. I really like Skittles. Is it OK if I pick the Skittles?” Once he even said to the kind stranger holding the candy bowl, “My mom wants me to get chocolate. Do you have any chocolate, maybe in your pantry?”

He had no idea that I was planning on stealing any candy from him. It would never occur to him that I’d want candy or play such a trick.

I seem to never learn the lesson that my kids don’t pick up on subtlety, irony, sarcasm, and jokes meant for the adults in the room. I made my daughter cry once when she saw me handing out ice cream sandwiches to her brother and to each of the 3 neighbor’s kids and asked “Can I have one too?” I said, “No. I’m giving ice cream sandwiches to all the other children but I’m going to give you onions for dessert.” Even though I assured her I was joking and quickly handed over the ice cream, she cried again a few days later when she asked for dessert and I said, “Onions for dessert!” Kid cannot take a joke.

While other parents anxiously await their children to achieve milestones like tying shoes and learning to read, I’m waiting with baited breath for my kids to grasp sarcasm, trickery, and actually funny jokes.

trick or treat

An Argument Argument

Alternate titles:

How (not) To Argue with a 6-Year-Old

Don’t You Rebut Me! 

Help! I’ve Fallen Down a Rabbit Hole and Can’t Get Up!

I’m sorry I was speeding, Officer. Here’s my license, registration, and a transcript of the conversation I’ve been having. 

This is an actual conversation I had with Luke today in the car, augmented only with the thoughts and subtext happening in each of our heads. I ought to get a video camera in my car. “WTF on the Road.” It would be a bigger hit than that taxi quiz show. It’s like he knows I write a blog and need material.

Luke: (baiting me)What is arguing? How do you do it?

me: (not gonna take that bait) You can’t be serious.

Luke: (but look at my shiny bait!) Yes I am. I don’t know how to argue.

me:(tastes the bait. just a bit.) Honey, you are the leading expert on arguing. I’ve never known anyone who can argue more.

Luke:(yay! it’s go time!) That’s not true.

me: Trust me. It is.

Luke: No! I don’t argue a lot.

me: (urg! I took it. I took the fucking bait!) We’re arguing about this right now.

Luke:(and away we go! wheee!) Well it’s YOU arguing with me! So YOU argue more than anyone I know. So HA!

me:(I am an adult. I will not do this. ) OK. I suppose we do argue together quite a bit. Point taken.

Luke:(nice try. I see your ‘adult’ and raise you an obnoxious 6-year-old with nothing better to do.) No. Not together. Just you.

me:(DON’T ENGAGE. I REPEAT, DO NOT ENGAGE!) Uh-huh. Well, you seem to like to disagree with everything I say. Ever. (can’t help myself)

Luke: No I don’t.

me: (oh it’s ON!) Luke, if I said, ‘The sky is blue,’ you’d disagree and say “It’s not ALWAYS blue!”

Luke: (gotcha!) Well, it’s not always blue. It’s not blue right now over there, or there. See?

me: (OMG. he got me. I fell right back into that rabbit hole of his. damn he’s good!) Right. It’s not always blue. But that doesn’t mean that I’m wrong to say that the sky is blue. (rein it in. there is no good ending to sky color arguments. rein.it.in.) Anyway, the sky isn’t the point. It was just an example of how you can argue about anything. (teachable moment! watch out, kid, here comes some parenting.) Let’s think about the conversation we’re having right this second. Do you feel like you’re trying to disagree with me just so that you can be right and I can be wrong?

Luke:(don’t try to teach me, woman.) No. You’re wrong about the sky without me doing that.

me:(good game, son. good game.) OK. So what was it you wanted to know about arguing?

Luke:(good game, mom. can we do it again?) I don’t know how to do it.

Excuse me while I go bang my head on the wall. My life is an exercise in crazy.

Attention Target Shoppers

If you were in Target today between the hours of 1:00-2:00 you may have overheard a conversation that made me look bad. If you didn’t call the cops or social services, thank you.

Conversation at typical 6-year-old volume in Target:

Luke: Mommy, teenagers sometimes make poor choices.

me: (smiling apologetically at the pack of passing teens who inspired Luke’s comment but still kind of happy that Luke shares my general opinion of teenagers) Yes. Sometimes they do.

Luke: They drink and drive. Is it really bad to drink and drive?

me: It’s one of the worst things. Why? Was someone you know talking about doing that? (because I’ll kill that teenaged motherfucker)

Luke: Well, you drink and drive.

me: (looking around in panic) WHAT? I do not. Never. I never ever drink and drive.

Luke: (getting louder) Yes you do! You drink and drive all the time!

me: (loud enough to make sure all Target shoppers can hear) What are you talking about? I never drink and drive. Not ever. If Daddy or I have a drink the other one drives. Always.

Luke: No. Not always.

me: Always.

Luke: But you drink WHILE you’re driving.

me: (ack! panic!) WHAT!? That has never happened. Not one single time ever in the history of forever. (why did we teach you how to talk again?)

Luke: Well, not at the exact same time. You wait until you’re at a stop sign or a red light. Then you drink. Then you drive. Is that drinking and driving?

me: Oh! Haha! (nervous relief laughter. looking around to make sure people can hear this part clearly) That’s drinking water and driving. That’s okay. People can drink water and drive. That’s what you’re talking about? (whew) It’s perfectly okay that Mommy drinks WATER and drives. (thank god that’s over)

Luke: C’mon, Mom. It’s not always water.

me: (wtf?) Yes, Luke. It is always water.

Luke: It’s sometimes coffee.

me: (exasperation) Right. That’s okay too. When people say ‘drink and drive’ they mean alcohol. That is not okay and I never do that. You can drink water, coffee, tea, milk, juice, soda, and any other thing you’re going to think of that I didn’t mention, (mr. contrary,) just not alcohol.

Luke: Yeah, I guess you don’t drink a lot of beer because Daddy drinks it all the time.

me: (are you freaking kidding me with this horseshit in Target right now?) Daddy does not drink beer all the time. But when he does, he doesn’t drive. Can we talk about something else now?

Luke: Okay. I’m sorry if you’re embarrassed talking about how you drink and drive so much.

End scene.

I’m half expecting a knock on my door any minute, followed by a pointed interview of me and each of my kids. To be safe, I’m going to lay off the sauce tonight as my defense will be stronger if not spoken through wine-stained teeth. But you know what I’m really in the mood for? A beer.