The kids are very much into pretending to feed me. Every time I turn around, one or the other has some special pretend drink, snack, or cookie for me to eat. At first, I thought this was a lot of fun, and I hammed up eating the pretend offering pretty much every time it was made. After several months, however, this particular game is starting to become tiresome. Sometimes, I just don’t feel like stopping what I’m doing to take a sip of air.
The other night C (our five year old) came running up to me during the bedtime routine. “Daddy, daddy! I got you some water!” He held out his empty hand. I was in the middle of getting their vitamins out, and for some reason was feeling quirky. I pantomimed taking the glass – and then spilling it all over my front.
“Whoops,” I said. “Here’s your vitamin.”
He didn’t like that at all. He shouted “nooooo” and ran out of the room. He came back a few seconds later. “Daddy, I got you another one. Be careful this time. Don’t spill it.”
He handed the imaginary glass to me. I poured it on my head by accident.
He hopped up and down in place with frustration. “No, no, no! You have to drink it!”
He ran away again before I could give him his vitamin. He returned, carefully carrying his pretend glass of water. “Okay, this is your last chance. Here it is. Nice cold water.”
I carefully took it – and then poured the water over his head. He dodged out of the way, shouted something, and then ran back to get another glass.
Still without his vitamin.
Over the next several minutes, I ended up pouring glasses of water over pretty much everyone in the family. Somewhere in that process, C even took his vitamin. Finally, however, he had had enough. He came walking back into the room carefully carrying the pretend glass of water, and handed it to me. “No, Daddy! No! You have to drink it.”
I smiled and started to move towards splashing his momma. “No, Daddy! No! No Pretending! No Pretending! Just drink it!”
I stopped and looked at him, still holding the pretend glass of water. “No pretending?”
“No! No – uh,” he looked at my empty hand, and then shook his head. “Just drink it, daddy! Just drink it!”
This has stuck with me, though. Somewhere during that whole process the glass of water became quite real.to the little guy. Interesting, huh? I feel like there’s some bigger lesson to be learned here, but I can’t quite get it.