Friday, September 2, 2011

Liar, Liar (Dino Underpants on Fire)

Somehow we got a liar in the house.

I don't know how he got in. Maybe we forgot to lock the back door, or maybe he stowed away in our van when we were out one day. But one thing is for certain-- I want him gone.

It's like a light flipped on in Cael's head and he discovered that he doesn't have to tell me the most accurate version of the truth.  I say "the most accurate version" because what he tells me usually does seem to be some version of the truth, just not the version that includes what really happened. The best thing that can be said for his new dishonest tendency is that he's such an amateur that his lies are easily detectable, although irritating.

Compounding our difficulties with fibbing has been Cael's recent disinterest in naps.  And though he may think he doesn't need a nap, he does.  Without even the brief 30-40 minutes he's been getting lately, he transforms into a rabid animal.  He will thrash about the basement in an apparent fit of rage at my audacity in requesting that he sleep and give me a break.  His already jaw-dropping tantrums accelerate to a point at which strangers don't disguise their stares and I pretend like I don't know him.

"What's wrong with that kid?"

I don't know!  Where IS his mother?

So last week at nap time, I was bound and determined that Cael would sleep-- come hell, high water, or an unfortunate incident involving one of his Thomas trains and the garbage disposal.

Following the requisite fit of anger upon learning that it was naptime, Cael got in his bed and we snuggled briefly before I headed back upstairs for a bite of lunch myself.  Within minutes, I felt the eerie sensation of eyes watching me as I enjoyed my oh-so-satisfying Lean Cuisine.  (Dealing with three toddlers should qualify me for at least one tablespoon of cheese on my plain, wet noodles, right?)  I turned around to see Cael crouching behind the leather chair in our living room.

"Why are you up here?  You should be napping!"

"I need a drink of water."

After a drink of water, he was still hovering around the stairs.

"Okay, it's time to get back in your bed.  Can you go yourself or do I need to put you there?"

"I can do it!"

So off he headed, down the stairs and after only a second, I could hear the click of his bedroom door latching.  I switched out a couple of loads of laundry and vacuumed the rug under the dining table while thinking to myself about how much has changed in the last few years.  At this time in college I would have been enjoying a brief mid-afternoon nap before returning to class, likely muttering under my breath that it was unnecessary to spend 3 hours a day discussion Industrial/Organizational Psychology.  But there I was, in my beautiful home while my two beautiful sons dreamed quietly as I tidied up the kitchen.

But it wasn't completely quiet.  Periodically I heard a clicking and cracking sound that appeared to be coming from my bedroom.  After performing an initial search, I verified that the dog and cat were not engaged in any rule-breaking activity.  I looked up to see the receiver to Cael's monitor (we still use one because his room is on another floor and we can't hear him without it) lighting up like a Christmas tree.  I tiptoed downstairs to his room and slowly put my ear against the door.

"Choo- choo!" I heard faintly.  Maybe he was just talking to himself in his bed and pretending to be a train.

Crackety-crack.  What was that?!

I quickly swung his door open and saw his entire Geo-Trax train set assembled in the center of his room; the train chugging energetically around the track as his other vehicles buzzed around, fueled by Cael's overabundance of energy.  For a moment I just stared, mouth agape, as if I'd just opened the door to what I thought was an abandoned building only to find a vibrant undercover casino.  And there, in the center of it all was Cael, the owner and proprietor of Foreman's Train Station and Speakeasy.

"What are you thinking?"

"What, Mommy?"

"You are supposed to be sleeping, but instead you pulled you train station in here and put it together and you're playing with it.  You're NOT sleeping!"

"But Oscar did it!!!"

Oscar clearly didn't build the train and lie about it-- he is honest to a fault.  He honestly loves chewing up clean underwear fresh from the dryer, he honestly loves gumming used Kleenexes and he honestly cannot contain his anxiety (or urine) during a powerful thunderstorm.

Oscar is a great many things, but an architect and conspirator he is not.  Those clues point to only one person... one very mischievous and dishonest little person in the orange dinosaur underpants who never got a nap that day.

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