Just an average evening in the life of budding geniuses

“How long were you under there?”

It was cat herding time once again at the Potts household also known as the half hour before bedtime. I was attempted to get a few last-minute chores in while simultaneously getting the boys ready for nighttime. I ignored Kiddo’s question, focusing instead on the task at hand.

“How long were you under there?” Kiddo repeated.

Kiddo’s voice broke through my concentration. What an odd question, I thought. I hadn’t been under anything that I could recall that evening unless you take into consideration pending deadlines, a cycle of never-ending dish washing, and self-imposed writing goals. But Kiddo has rarely, if ever, asked me how my work is going, so that couldn’t be it. “Under where?” I asked.

“You said underwear!” Kiddo threw back his head in laughter.

I sat there, stunned as the punch line sunk in. Kiddo had gotten me. I marveled at his maturing sense of humor, at the genius of the joke’s simplicity as well as Kiddo’s execution. It was a long way from his very first joke, “Once upon a time, there was a joke named joke and he was a joke!” (*da dum dum da* he’ll be here all week folks) I joined his laughter. “Very clever,” I said as I returned to my chores. “I made you said underwear!” Kiddo repeated, delighted with himself. “I got Daddy to say it too!” (word of caution to Kiddo’s grandparents, aunts, uncles, and assorted other caregivers – he’s really proud of this one, expect to hear it, over and over and over again)

Tears of laughter were welling up in Kiddo’s eyes as he turned to his brother and asked once again, “LT, how long were you under there.”

Without missing a beat, LT answers, “three minutes,” effectively beating his brother at his own game. I don’t know what exactly LT was supposedly under for three minutes (I mean I thought he was in my line of sight all this time, but with LT you never really know for sure) or how he knew the precise time, because he didn’t elaborate. Instead, LT immediately returned to plotting whatever nefarious plan to rule the world he is attempting next. This is also why I think he might just succeed.

So clearly I recognize that I am living with a budding evil genius, but maybe you don’t yet recognize the signs. If you are afraid you too may be raising the next crop of megalomaniacs intent on world domination, you may want to be on the lookout for a few of the following:

  1. Do they frequently use your best of intentions for their own gain?
    • You said the first day of summer is the longest day of the year. It was supposed to be a fun little fact to amuse and educate your offspring with. Instead you get, “If Mr. Sun isn’t going to bed, why do I have to?”
  2. Have you picked up an alarming “minion” vibe from their closest friends?
    • monkey toys

      exhibit A: The usual suspects

  3. Do you find yourself struggling to maintain your game face when they turn up the charm?
    • Because it is bedtime.
    • But why?
    • Because it is a school night and you have to go to bed now.
    • I no wanna go to school anyyyyyy mo.
    • You like school. All your friends will be at school. Don’t you want to play with your friends?
    • But I love you, momma. I wan to stay with you. Five mo minutes? (cue quivering lip)
    • (As little arms encircle your neck in best snuggle hug ever, feel your will break… Again.) Okay honey, five more minutes, but then it is bedtime. I mean it.
  4. Do they have an unusually intense obsession with potential lairs
    • volcano

      Exhibit B : Depiction of an erupting volcano. Note the artist’s use of broad strokes and bold colors to convey violence – one of many examples lining our walls

  5. Are they entirely too smart for their own good?
    • Reference story above

On the plus side, the children have decided to grace me with more than a couple of nights in a row of sleep. Obviously, they are up to something, but I’ve been taking advantage of it while I can. I’ve made significant gains in my manuscript (even though this current draft is pretty terrible, even by first draft standards) and have been taking a stab at some shorter fiction (I may even try to find homes for some of them). I’d better take advantage. Who knows when this opportunity might come again.