Thursday, November 4, 2010

"Would You Visit Me in Jail?"

While I’m writing this I am checking over my shoulder to see my oven smoking after what was an attempt to clean my self-cleaning oven with regular oven cleaner.  Apparently a no-no, but there’s no ‘label reading app’ for my cell phone apparently...
My six year old son Leif has many, shall we say, “facets”  (code for “personalities”).  As was displayed on Halloween, he can be a little dark, but what’s more is he tends to be a bit mischievous.  My Dad has said for quite a few years that Leif will be either “something great or something terrible”, which is probably true.   As a parent, I suppose it’s my job to ensure the former occurs, but I think I may be losing my grip on him a little.  Don’t get me wrong – he’s a good kid.  He tried to make me coffee the other day (which ended with a coffee pot full of coffee grounds, a full roll of paper towel used to clean up the mess and Me being more than a little bit cranky due to the mess/lack of coffee combination.  But he tried).  He tries to be kind to his friends, and he is always trying to make people laugh: All good qualities that I appreciate.  Every once in a while, though, I think to myself that perhaps I may have created a monster.
He has an infatuation with “bad guys”.  We know them as Rappers (bad boys to Leif), Villains (the Shredder), Romans (Jesus Killers), Burglars (Burglars), and traffic violators (Daddy).  Naturally, this infatuation leads to questions as to the fate of these “bad guys”.  Some are explained easily, for example when he asked me what happened to the Shredder if he broke the law I calmly explained that the Shredder can’t break the law because he’s not real.  After the crying stopped, I told him I was kidding and to ask his taekwondo master, because I didn’t know.

As an aside, for those of you who don’t have kids’ “passing the question buck” is a great tool to add to your arsenal.  This works especially well when the question includes a member of the family.  For example:
 Q: “Why does Grandpa smell funny?”
 A: “You should ask Grandpa”
This doesn’t always work out for the better for your child, but it does get you off the hook.  Best used in extreme circumstances for maximum hilarity.

Some questions are not brushed off so easily.  Yesterday over a beautifully prepared grilled cheese sandwich and no-name vegetable soup, Leif pondered a hypothetical future as a ward of the Canadian criminal justice system.
“So...What do they feed you in jail?” he asks, poking his spoon around in his soup.
“There is nothing wrong with vegetable soup, Leif, and I don’t appreciate you insinuating that jail food is better than this.” I reply, knowing full well it actually might be.  “They don’t feed you very good food, I don’t think you get a choice in what you eat – you just eat what they give you”.
“So if they feed me sushi, I would have to eat it?” Sushi is, by far his favourite food.
“You do not get sushi in prison.  You do not get anything good in prison.  You might get...gruel”.  I don’t actually know what gruel is exactly, but it sounds like the worst thing you could eat.  Not to my kid.
“Oh, gruel is like porridge.  I love porridge, and they have to have brown sugar...that would be okay”.
It’s quiet for a minute as he thinks all this over then looks at me with wide eyes “Mom, would you visit me in prison?”  Note the change in tone from the hypothetical to the probable.  I start to get a little concerned at this point.
“It depends on what you do.”
“So if I’m in jail for ...speeding, you’ll come visit me and bring sushi.  But what about when I’m in jail for something else?”
“Leif: What. Did. You. Do.?”
With a mouth full of grilled cheese he looks at me as innocently as he ever has and says “Nothing...nothing, I just like to know things before they happen.   If I’m good, I get out early, right?”

Note to Grade 1 teacher: Re: Pet names
Dear Mrs. B,
I am extremely sorry for the name Leif called you and the teacher’s aide.  I have spoken to Leif and he now understands it is not acceptable to refer to you as “the screw”.  I have also explained to him that you checking his desk is not considered a “raid”.
Colleen Copley

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