There are many emotional milestones to experience as a parent, from hearing your child’s first utterance through to the day when the training wheels finally come off and they’re able to cycle steadily down the street all by themselves. And the genuine joy and pride derived from watching your children grow, develop skills and conquer obstacles is almost intoxicating. While it can be bittersweet to watch them slowly shed the trappings of toddlerhood, there are few sights that rival watching your child meet and eventually master a challenge. It was a fleeting one, but I managed to witness just such an instance last night.
As a lovely expatriate and devout Royals-watcher, my wife, Peggy, spent much of yesterday afternoon glued to the tube for details about Prince William’s proposal to Kate “Waity Katie” Middleton. In the thick of the media frenzy, Peg was sequestered in the kitchen (where we have no television), making dinner for our two children, Charlotte (age 6) and Oliver (age 4). As CNN’s Richard Quest boomed zestfully from the living room, Peggy—a remarkably resourceful cook—slapped together some homemade cheese quesadillas (made with whole grain and flax tortillas) for our frankly unenthused little kids. The dinner preparation complete, Peg plated her ersatz Mexican meal, served Charlotte and Oliver and summarily repaired to the living room, lest she miss a minute of the pomp and circumstance of impending Windsor nuptials.
As I was walking in from a long day at the office, I encountered my little Oliver creeping tentatively into the living room, evidently only moments after he’d been served his meal to relay a message. “I’ve finished my dinner,” he informed my wife, “…but don’t look in the garbage” (actually, given Oliver’s small years and tenacious habit of confusing his “r,” “l” and “w” sounds, it came out more like, “I’ve finished my dinow, but don’t wook in the gawbage!”) Curiosity piqued, I strolled into the kitchen to find Charlotte poking at her quesadilla as if it were a science experiment. Oliver’s plate, meanwhile, was pristinely uncontaminated by any semblance of food. Peering into the afore-mentioned garbage, however, I found my little boy’s dinner completely intact.
While sloppily executed and far from well-advised, my little lad’s first forays into the muddy intricacies of dishonesty made me stir a little bit with pride. With all due respect to my lovely wife, I didn’t blame Oliver for looking for a way out of consuming a whole grain and flax tortilla. He gave away his own hand, of course, but in time and with further practice, I’m sure he’ll sharpen his lying skills to finely honed edge. Once again, while it was a botched endeavor, I couldn’t help but smile at his attempted ruse.
My wife? Not so much.