My seven-year old woke me up the other morning, looking very upset in his halloween pajamas.
“Daddy,” he said. “He’s using three pieces of paper.”
I groaned and sat up. My wife had left early for work, so it was just me to deal with this particular crisis. “Is that bad?”
“Three pieces!” He gestured with his hands. “He’s drawing a picture on three pieces!”
The little guy looked very upset, not I’m-going-to-collapse-into-tears upset, though. He looked more serious, more this-is-a-wrong-that-must-be-righted upset.
“That’s what the paper’s for,” I said, covering a yawn. “I can’t wait to see what he’s drawn.”
“Three pieces,” he repeated. “It’s wasteful.”
“It’s fine.” I sat up. “That’s what we have the paper for.”
He tilted his head forward. “It’s wasteful,” he reprimanded me.
“Why do you care if he draws on three pages?”
“It’s wasteful. He should draw on one piece.”
“Well, I say it’s okay.” I stood up. “And I’m the daddy. Come on. Let’s go see.”
We found his brother drawing in his room, a vast cosmic battle that spanned three different pages. “Wow,” I admired. “Looks good.”
“Thanks.” He grinned. “He doesn’t like me using three pages.”
I shook my head. “I know. It’s fine.”
I turned to find my seven-year-old glowering at us from the doorway. “It’s wasteful,” he intoned.
“Time to get dressed.” I led him into the den, where clothes were folded and piled neatly on the couch. “Your momma was folding clothes last night. If you need anything, it’s all here.”
He crossed his arms. “If she could fold them,” he said, “she could have put them away.”
I tried not to smile as I picked up a pair of socks. “Tell you what,” I said. “Why don’t you tell her that next time you see her?”
He glared at me, lips pressed together.
“Really,” I said. “I think she’ll take it well.”
The corner of his mouth twitched, then he gave a big sigh, and started picking out his clothes. I’m not sure, but I think he was smiling.