Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"Well, Dad..."

view detailsAs a child, our younger son was very inquisitive.  He always wanted, well maybe had to know how something worked.  When he was less than 2 years old, he played with his brother's Fisher-Price drum and ball set.  The object was to drop three balls into the hole in the side of the drum, turn the drum up on its side to extract the balls and begin again.  Now his brother's idea of the best method to extract the balls was to pick up the ball-filled drum and sling it against the wall.  It did work--all the balls fell out.  But I don't think that's what Fisher-Price had in mind when they designed it.  Our younger son would sit on the floor, drop in the balls and then stand and walk around the drum several times until he determined the appropriate method of extraction.  I would sit and watch him as he circled the drum.  The look on his face showed him deep in thought.  It amazed me that such a small child could actually problem solve.

When he was 7 years old, his daddy decided to donate his old pick-up truck to a family salvage yard for spare parts.  He had not used the pick-up in months and had removed the battery for some other use.  Early in the week, he announced to the family that on Saturday, he would install a new battery and drive it to the salvage yard.  Saturday morning dawned and my husband said to our 9 year old, "Let's put that battery in the truck."  Our 7 year old stood and watched the installation without comment.  Then my husband said, "Alright boys, let's start her up and see how she runs."  Again our 7 year old stood without comment, which should have been a sign to his daddy because this child was never at a loss for words.  My husband opened the driver's side door and saw his steering wheel strewn across the seat in about 15 different pieces. 

My husband said, "What happened to my truck?"  To which our 7 year old replied, "Weeelll Dad.  I got a little curious.  I wanted to know how a horn worked so I took it apart."  I went out to see what was taking so long and found my husband trying to stuff all those parts back into the three inch steering wheel column.  He didn't have to say anything for me to know he was furious.  I was such a good wife.  I stood and said encouragingly, "Well Sweetheart, it will be alright."  Then I walked back into the house, stood against the closed door and burst out laughing.  It was the funniest thing I had ever seen.  The entire time I stood there, I kept praying, "Lord please don't let my husband open this door.  He will kill me if he sees me laughing like this."

A few minutes later, our 9 year old walked into the kitchen.  I said, "What did Dad say when he opened the door and saw that?"  He answered, "Trust me, Mom.  You don't want to know."  I still don't know what he said.  As I prepared my husband's breakfast, he sat at the table and fumed.  I stood it as long as I could and then told him, "Now if anyone at work told you about this, you would laugh.  Don't you leave town without letting (our son) know it is alright."  He promptly called our son in and said, "Next time you get curious, let me know.  I'll find you something to take apart, but leave my truck alone."

It has been over 25 years since that incident and I still laugh about it every time I think of it.  I often tell young parents when I see their frustration, "Some day this will be funny."  I encourage you to think about the things that your children did when they were young.  Maybe the behavior was frustrating at the moment, but hilarious now.  Take a moment to laugh today.
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