Thursday, May 18, 2006

The art of the redirect

Bud's getting very good at diversionary tactics, which he uses in a Wizard of Oz "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" sort of way.

You know those sounds you hear when your child is in a different room - the ones that tell you that something is going on that probably shouldn't be? Sometimes they come in the form of bangs and crashes. Other times your radar is triggered by a long period of silence. These are not the sounds that scream "danger" and make you run to your child before your brain has even registered the reason for your movement. They are the sounds that say "mischief," the sounds that say "you better give your boy a shout-out so he knows that you know that something is going on."

Bud always responds to the shout-out, and his responses are becoming increasingly sophisticated. He doesn't respond truthfully, of course; I never get responses like "I'm just dumping all my toys into the middle of the room," or "I'm trying to play the drum with my feet," or "I've stripped down naked and am sitting in the empty bathtub with shampoo in my hair." No, Bud's responses are far more thoughtful than that: he tells us what he thinks we want to hear.

He has actually developed a strong repertoire of responses designed to throw us off when he thinks we're getting close to fouling up a good time, and he mixes them up to keep us on our toes. Some examples from recent weeks include:

Me: "Bud, what are you doing?"
Bud: "I love you!"

Rattle, rattle, boom. Bang!
Me: "Bud, what are you doing?"
Bud: "Just helping!"

Bang. Silence. Bang. Silence.
Me: "Bud, what are you doing?"
Bud: "I'm making friends!"

and my favorite, which happened just the other day,

Rattle, rattle. Pause. Bang. BAM!
Me: "Bud, what are you doing?"
Me: "Bud! What are you doing?"
Bud (running into the room with outstretched arms, a big smile, and a "who-loves-ya-baby" look in his eyes): "I'm giving you a big hug!"

I told you he was good.


Anonymous said...

Totally hilarious! I love those moments when the kids throw us off in such a way that there is no choice but to laugh.

kristina said...

I'll hear yowl screech stomp pitter-patter throck on the floor above my head.

"Charlie! How you doin'?" I ask, heading up the stairs.

At the top of which stands Charlie.

"Mommy stairs. Stairs."

We redirect him; why should he not us?

Anonymous said...

i love those examples! so funny!!

we were in the waiting room. i was at the counter, paying and i kept looking back to see where fluffy was. at one point, i looked and couldn't see him so i called out, "i can't see you." and he called back, "i am safe, mom." mind reader!

Anonymous said...

My favorite is when my son is torturing his sister in the other room and suddenly I hear her cry. I will rush into the den and he will say, "Time out Mommy" as if he knows the next words to come out of my mouth. He is not quite at the stage you describe. When I hear "bang, boom boom, bang, bang, crash...", and I asked him what that was, he tells me, "I threw my truck down the stairs!" as if its no big deal.
But that makes me laugh too.

Wendy said...


Anonymous said...

Ooooh, that's gotta be a Good Sign, no? that whole "mindreading" stuff... Then again... there IS something to be said for complete and total honesty.

In our house it's often Honor Among Thieves, as in: it's AWFULLY quiet in there... and when go to investigate, the two of 'em are sitting on the floor with an open tub of margarine that they're methodically smearing all over the place.