Kid logic. Not for the faint of heart. Whereas adults will go from cause to effect, kids will often go from cause to shiny object to barbie playhouse to thirteen questions about dinosaurs to effect. I was recently interrogated by a very skeptical four-year-old. We spent a week at a lake house last summer and while there, each of the girls collected seashells from the lakeside to take home with them. My four-year-old, Aimee, collected a full quart-size ziploc bag of what she deemed to be the best and most beautiful of the lakeside shells. A couple weeks after we came home, the bag of seashells ended up as a prop in what I can only assume was a Shakespearean production the girls performed in our driveway. I guess the props department that was working that particular day decided to quit, because all of the seashells were left strewn about, intermingled with sidewalk chalk pieces and barbie dolls.
Fast forward approximately one month. Like most souvenirs we get for the girls during our family vacations, the seashells have been all but forgotten. They stayed in the driveway, casually blending in with the worn cement and slowly becoming just another unnoticed object the girls had to walk over to get to the car. These beautiful seashells, the ones the girls HAD to have, the ones we specifically brought quart-size ziploc bags to the beach for, were forgotten.
Until one day when we told the girls to go play outside. They were outside for about 5 minutes until Aimee swat-style kicked the back door open and ran to where I was sitting in the living room. She approached, accusatory look on her face, clutching one of the forgotten seashells in her raised and outstretched hand. As she held the seashell awkwardly close to my face she asked, “Daddy. Why didn’t you tell me we lived at the beach?”
Now, I can normally tell when my kids (especially Aimee) are being sarcastic. I’ll give you a hint– it’s A LOT. That’s what I presumed was happening here. For the faintest of moments I wanted to believe that my Dad joke abilities were rubbing off on Aimee and she would carry on my legacy of awkward puns and terrible punch lines. It makes sense, right? She brings in a seashell and a serious look, asks why I never told her we live at the beach, then her face changes and she begins to laugh, and then we all laugh, and then we watch a Disney movie and live happily ever after.
Problem is, the serious look never went away. Where there was supposed to be a punch line instead was suspicion and confusion (on the part of all parties). She continued to stare at me, holding the seashell near my face, one eyebrow slightly raised, patiently waiting for me to explain myself. I did the only thing I could. I lied to a four-year-old. Don’t judge me. You don’t know how intimidating a four-year-old can be. So I offered the the first explanation I could think of. I told her that her mother and I wanted it to be a surprise and we were waiting for her birthday.
That’s right folks. Ain’t no shame in my game. Here’s the best part– apparently my explanation was sufficient. She now held the seashell closer to her and examined it, all the while thinking about what I just said. After a moment’s hesitation she looked up, smiled, and said “I’m so excited! I’m going to tell all my friends we live at the beach!”
And I’m not going to stop her. Because sometimes you’ve just got to pretend you’re living beach side.