Sometimes a parent has to deal with the tough questions. It comes with the territory. Being in charge of a small human, and being the fount of all wisdom to that small human is a daunting proposition.
But bear in mind that the time will come soon enough when that same, slightly older, not-quite-so-small human will begin to see you as the fount of no wisdom. The pressure for perfection will soon be over.
But for now, there will be tough questions. Pick any headline from the news and preface it with the word “why” and ask it in a tiny voice. Suddenly, you’re put in a position of justifying the craziness of the world at large to your small human. This is not a job anybody knowingly signs up for.
And if that is not difficult enough, it’s only a matter of time until that small human asks you what game you’re playing with Mommy when the bedroom door is closed and locked.
“You were supposed to be taking a nap, not skulking around and checking the locks” will not be considered a satisfactory answer, so better be thinking of a better one.
And if you decide to take up baking during your child’s formative years, you will inevitably face the most difficult question a four-year-old can ask, “Can I have cake for breakfast?”
Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything, but sending one’s child off to pre-K with a belly full of cake is not going to end well. The nuns will find out. Your child will be in trouble. You will be in trouble. The thought is just too frightening to contemplate.
But your child is no fool, and much ado was made of the chocolate cake you baked yesterday, and upon that darling child’s bedtime, only three slices were missing from it. She is bracing herself for a tough day of education, and she wants cake. Which she knows you have.
Since being honest with your child is of the utmost importance, I am bound by moral obligation to suggest to all you young parents that you give that a try. And when honesty fails you miserably, you have several other options. You can bend the truth, or you can abandon it altogether.
My personal favorite was “Your mother ate it all.” This answer had the benefit of having a bit of the ring of truth about it. Because her mother did eat another slice after she went to bed. Of course, I did too, but there’s no need to muddy the water with details.
If throwing your darling wife and the mother of your child under the bus is not in your wheelhouse of skills, you might go with Door Number 2: “The squirrels came and stole it while we slept.” It has been my experience that any child under the age of eight will swallow this big ole assault on the truth with nary a second’s hesitation. The power of a small child’s belief in the larcenous abilities of squirrels can not be underestimated.
Bear in mind I was applying these tactics while living in a large city, and squirrels were all that were available to me in the way of hungry wildlife. You may want to substitute rabbits or groundhogs, perhaps crows, and depending on how far out in the country you live, coyotes, mountain lions or even bears might be an option. If you plan on going with bears, be sure and choose “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” as bedtime reading any time there is a cake in the house.
If a little blonde girl can sneak into a bear’s cottage and eat all the porridge, there is no reason those outraged bears can’t seek revenge by sneaking into a people house and eating all the cake.
As your child gets a bit older, and these tactics are becoming less effective, you might want to step up your game to a light gaslighting of your progeny, “Don’t you remember? We finished it all last night,” is an excellent place to begin.
If that works for you — and I must admit, I had very limited success with that one — you might want to turn up the flame on the gaslight and go for the gold standard of cake denial, “What cake?” In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that one never worked for me.
By that time, we were forced to take action on the whole cake for breakfast question. The only possible thing we could do was move to a better neighborhood and put the wee one in a public school so we could all enjoy cake for breakfast without fear of having our knuckles rapped with a ruler.
Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.