Just before Christmas, the wee one, A (’09) and I headed out for some finishing touches on our gift shopping. As we stood in the seasonal aisle she scoped out all the great Christmas goodies: cookies, candy, gourmet chocolates, cocoas, etc. I knew exactly what was coming.
She hit me with, “Look Mom, it’s Christmas gum! Can we get some?” I quickly threw out a simple “No.” She countered with a quick “Please?” in that extra annoying whiney voice we all love. I sternly declared I was not buying any gum! Then came my personal favorite, “whyyyy?”
Now I could’ve taken this the conventional route and explained to her that it’s bad for her teeth, a choking hazard or that I haven’t emotionally healed from the last time I had to spend forever working it out of the carpet in the car. Instead I made a bold choice. As I remembered all the sugarless “grown up” gum I had scattered all over the house due to a long-reformed cigarette smoker, I replied, “Because we have enough gum at home to survive the zombie apocalypse.”
She stared at me for a few seconds and, I swear to you, I could see those gears turning behind her big brown eyes. She asked, “What’s a zombie a-pocket-lips?” With a straight face I answered dryly, “It’s when the zombies come and eat everyone’s brains but ours because we have enough gum!” She stared at the gum in her hand for a second or two, shrugged her shoulders and put it back. As she walked away she rolled her eyes at me and said, “Let’s go, Mom.”
We left the store without incident. Now, don’t get your panties in a bunch, she is a smart kid. Smart enough to know there is no such thing as brain-eating zombies. She is well aware that Mom is just messing with her. She is also smart enough to argue the typical “it’s not good for you” or “because I said so” responses. She has spent the last five years building her case and preparing for that typical debate. Every once in a while we throw her a curve ball just to keep her guessing. 99% of the time I am sure I am losing the whyyyy game. This was a small victory for me and I’ll take it. Checkmate, little one.