Thursday, May 2, 2013

Hidden Talents

I'm always learning new things about my kids.  Most of those things force me to question my very qualifications to be a parent, or at the least guarantee I'll be going prematurely gray.

But over the last few days, I've learned that they both possess unique and unusual talents that have remained hidden from me until now.  Graham, for one, has perfected his ninja-like stealth mode, and now moves about my house in the early morning hours in complete silence.  But rather than using his secrecy to exact revenge on his brother or steal my iPad to play Temple Run, he has taken to pilfering Easter candy from the basket in the locked pantry cabinet.

The first few times he did it, he remained undetected.  But then he got cocky and didn't carefully cover his tracks.  Candy wrappers on the carpet alerted me to the problem, and after a lengthy conversation I felt confident that he knew better than to attempt his morning sugar robbery again.


I discovered that, in addition to being a very successful sneak, Graham is just as persistent as his brother and only slightly more remorseful.  This news wasn't quite as shocking as the realization this morning that the entire bucket of candy was gone, in addition to about ten Fig Newton cookies and a box of Teddy Grahams.  If his shenanigans weren't enough of a hidden talent, the kitchen door thrown open and stool pulled up in blatant disregard of the rules alerted me to the fact that Graham's true hidden talent is being the instigator and averting the consequences by pretending to be the innocent one.  

Lucky for me, I have a talents too.

Cael is less of an enigma.  With two years on Graham, I've had that much more time to observe Cael and come to the conclusion that I will never fully understand him.  And it's no surprise, really, with his effortless ability to shift from "shy and well-mannered student" to "oh my gosh that's NOT my kid" at the blink of en eye, he leaves little room for psychological analysis.

So when I catch a glimmer of a previously unexplored ability, I feel a tingle of excitement but force myself to suppress the desire to push it along.  I learned that the hard way when Cael, still learning to write words other than his own name, presented me with a paper captioned "LOVE".  I don't know if it was his shockingly crisp penmanship, or the red crayon he'd used to write the letters, but I executed a textbook mother "freak-out" and demanded he allow me to keep the paper for sentimental reasons. 

Then, sitting him down at the table with a fresh paper and green crayon, I asked him to show me what else he could  write.  After three attempts that yielded little more than a string of unrelated letters, Cael proudly handed me his last effort; a hastily scribbled drawing of a man with an oversized hat, crowded to the edge of the paper by the word "ASS".

Sometimes it is best to let skills develop at their own pace.

That's why I should have known better than to laugh when Cael demonstrated a unique (and thus far hidden) talent for bestowing nicknames upon his brother and other unsuspecting people around him.  I suppose what he does is little more than pairing an adjective (any adjective, really) with a noun (any noun, for that matter) and announcing his creation with his signature flare and a twinkle in his eye.

"Graham, you know you're not supposed to steal candy from the kitchen!  We've talked about this!"

"He's such a slippery pirate, Mom."

"He's a what?"

"A slippery pirate.  Or a slimy piano bench."

"You are such a  goofball, Cael."

"I'm funny, too!  And you're a bumpy banana!  Or a scary casserole!  And Daddy is a fluffy dinosaur!"

Sadly, one of Cael's hidden talents is not knowing when to quit.

So, while this week has led to some interesting discoveries, I hope they are ones I can use to my advantage.  And if not, I can sleep well knowing that I have a talent of my own-- documenting every one of their quirks and preserving them for the future. 

Or at least their high school graduations.

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Leave your own "ism". Cael and Graham double-dog dare you.