Friday, August 31, 2007

Jokes on You!

Justin and I painted our room a couple weekends ago. We cleared out the clutter and rearranged the furniture. It was looking organized. Peaceful. Simple.

Seeing this, the boys said, "Hey, this would be the perfect place to have a club!"

Johnny dragged in all his prized possessions and lined them up against the wall: his piggybank, Pokemon action figures, stuffed dinosaur and plastic lizard, a "book" that secretly opens, hiding $1.31, his chess trophy, a seashell, a whoopie cushion, and a small bottle of Elmer's glue.

As far as I can tell, this club is dedicated to rearranging the club. Sometimes, the whoopie cushion is stacked on top of the fake book and the money is lined up on the lizard's back, for instance.

One day, I heard Johnny yell, "J.J. is stealing my money," and I looked up to see J.J. running through the house, clutching a dollar bill and laughing.

I don't know if it's fair to say he was "stealing money." In his mind he was, "Making Johnny mad by taking the little green paper."

The "secret" location of the club was compromised, so Johnny moved it to behind his desk and finally, upstairs.

Besides rearranging the club, there is one other activity Johnny and Richie do as members: pranks from their "Jokes on You!" kit. They ask me if I want a piece of gum, and when I reach for it, a little trap snaps on my finger. They pull this joke on me 70 times a day, proving that children think grownups are idiots. (I wonder where they get that idea.)

Their favorite is the whoopie cushion, though.

"Daddy, stand up," Richie says, laughing hysterically. "Now sit back down."

When it works (or even when it doesn't,) Richie claps and says, "Ah, yeah, babay!"

The boys think the whoopie cushion is invisible.

"Shake my hand," Johnny says, holding the whoopie cushion.

As I reach out and say, "How are you doing?" my hand farts.

"Yes," Johnny says. "That was the best prank ever!"

The boys' aunt and uncle gave them the kit for their birthday.

I remember having the same kit as a kid. When I'd do the gum trick on grownups in my family they'd throw their head back and say, "You got me again!" Sometimes, they would fake cry and say, "I really wanted a piece of gum!"

When they'd sit on the whoopie cushion, they'd cover their mouths and say, "Well, how embarrassing."

It never occured to me that they were humoring me. I just thought it was a really good kit.

Kids take a belief and wrap reality around it like play dough.

If the toothfairy comes in the summer, she must be tiny enough to fit through the window screen. In the winter, she comes through the chimney, like Santa. If you don't have a fireplace, well, she must have snuck into the house by riding on the dog.

Even if some kids in your class say there is no tooth fairy, there's an explanation: they're dumb. And frankly, you feel sorry for them.

Grown ups will believe in fantastic things to an extent. Aliens visiting Roswell, for instance. But unlike children, they're willing to change their minds when confronted with evidence (unless it goes against their religion. For some people, aliens are a religion.)

Kids don't do this. They take the evidence against their belief and turn it in their favor. A kid can wake up to see his dad putting a quarter under his pillow and taking the tooth.

These will be the kids' possible explanations:

1. Dad is checking to see if the tooth fairy came yet.

2. The tooth fairy left a quarter but forgot my tooth, so dad is going to put it outside for her so she doesn't have to squeeze through the screen again.

or 3. Dad works for the tooth fairy.

The other tool in the prank kit is "invisible ink." You squeeze it on someone's shirt and they have a big blue stain. Or do they? Soon, the spot disappears.

Johnny squeezed this on Richie the other day.

Richie stared at his shirt for a long time.

Finally he asked me, "Is my shirt really going to turn invisible?"

"It's invisible already," I said.

"Really?" he asked.

"Really," I said. And I could see the wheels turning in his head to make it true.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You must have inherited your family's legal mind. Correct JJ can not be guilty of stealing the money. The perfect defense - "No Mens Rea. No Crime." When set to a Bob Marly tune and with the facts of cases filling in the verses, anyone can pass a Criminal Law class. I know it becuase its true.

Thanks for another GREAT story. "Kids take belief and wrap reality around it like play dough" is a classic.

7:47 AM  
Anonymous pat said...

When they cut down the old elm in my parent's front yard due to dutch elm disease, I wondered where the tooth fairy would go to live.
I love that you feed your kid's imaginations. They'll be good story tellers!
did you know Johny called this morning when you were in the shower to chat. He said "Maybe I could come over tomorrow around 10". I said that sounded great and to give me a call. So cute!

9:01 AM  
Blogger KC Sponge said...

A friend of mine was revealing the truth to her daughter that she was the tooth fairy - and her daughter looked confused for a moment and then looked up at her and quietly asked how she traveled to all the kids houses.

Great blog. I'm glad I found it.elle4quin

9:05 AM  

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