My son, the actor

So last night I’m herding cats, I mean, trying to get the kids off to bed, and I have the following exchange with my 7yo son.

Dee: Mom, I can’t brush my teeth because there’s no more toothpaste.

Me [remembering that the tube is indeed just about empty]: Ok, well, why don’t you brush your teeth in the upstairs bathroom?

Dee: I don’t have a toothbrush upstairs.

Me: Ok, well, why don’t you bring your downstairs toothbrush upstairs?

Dee [long pause as he processes this, trying to figure out if he can stretch this argument out any further, and finally he breaks into a big grin of admiration at my superior problem-solving skills, comes over and gives me a huge hug]: Mom, I love you!

I am so proud of him for staying good natured even though I got the better of him. This could so easily have degenerated into whining, arguing, and other more unpleasant forms of bedtime delay. So I am laughing and hugging him, and hubby comes into the room. Did you hear that conversation, I asked him. No he didn’t hear it. So I suggest Dee and I replay the scene for Daddy’s benefit.

Dee promptly goes back into the bathroom. He emerges a moment later and complains that there’s no more toothpaste. We replay the whole conversation and Dee not only does his part word for word, but he does not crack a smile or even glance at his dad to see his reaction. He doesn’t overact, he doesn’t mug. He doesn’t hesitate. He does it perfectly, right down to the pause, the processing, the sudden grin, the loving hug. It is freaky.

— — —

I remember another time when he was maybe 4 or 5 and I came into the room to find him in an attitude of total dejection. Hunched over, utterly downcast, gazing off into the distance in despair. I was scared. When I asked him what was wrong he said his girlfriend was trapped in that burning building over there, and he had no way to get her out, bla bla bla. It turned out he was acting out a scene from a superhero movie. But he had truly scared me.

— — —

Another thing he does is toss out funny one-liners while remaining so deadpan that it’s hard to tell if he’s being funny on purpose. One time I was in his room saying goodnight to him when we suddenly heard a commotion outside. We looked out the window and saw that the teenage girl next door was having her birthday party outside, a big crowd. “Oh, it’s just a flock of zombies,” said Dee matter-of-factly. Again, he doesn’t even glance at me to see my reaction. He just goes on about his business, leaving me to wonder if he’s delusional (does he actually believe they’re zombies?) or so caught up in his imagination that he doesn’t bother to preface it with “Hey, let’s pretend…”?

No, I think he knows very well what he’s doing. He’s acting.

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5 Comments

  1. This made me laugh outloud ~ thanks for sharing :) It reminds me of my oldest son (who is 13 now) when he was younger. He would memorize and recite lines from his favorite movies and even act out scenes. He also is like your son in that he says things that are funny and doesn’t even realize it half the time.

    I also can really relate to your bedtime drama … we definately have that at our house too. I have a post on my blog called Whac-A-Mole that is all about how putting my four kids to bed is like a game of Whac-A-Mole – just get the last one down and the first one pops back up again :)

    I’m so glad that you are doing the postaday too – we will have to encourage and support each other because I have not been very good at blogging (I think my last post before I started this challenge was back in November and I was lucky to post once a month ~ LOL).

    I have enjoyed reading your blog this morning and look forward to reading your future posts !

    Lori

    Reply
  2. Beautifully told.

    Reply
  3. Thanks for the great comments — for sure, that encouragement and support makes all the difference in this endeavor. And Lori, I’m cracking up over Whac-A-Mole! That describes it perfectly!!!

    Reply
  4. Wonderful blog! I have an 11-yr old daughter who goes into the bathroom to brush her teeth and comes out later doing everything but brush her teeth (stare in the mirror, put her hair up in a variety of different ways). When she comes out, I ask her if she brushed her teeth and she gives me this look of – I forgot and I’m caught. She turns around, goes back in the bathroom and when she comes out, the next question is . . . did you brush with toothpaste? Toothpaste???. . . smile. Yes, toothpaste. She turns around and goes back in to do it again – this time, with toothpaste. Gotta love kids! Thank-you for sharing your experiences! It is nice to know that I am not alone in trying to stay 1-step ahead!

    Reply
  5. Journey, ha ha ha, your daughter sounds exactly like my own 11yo! When she comes out of the shower I quiz her: did you remember to use shampoo? …and conditioner? …and in that order?

    Reply

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