I decided today would be a day off for me. Last week was a busy one for me at work, and my weekend was full. Lizi was gone and so Ev and I were going to enjoy a quiet morning at home just playing and enjoying one another. As is always the way, plans changed unexpectedly. I ended up needing to edit and revise the Uganda project for a blog post style story instead of a book style story. When I first began editing, Ev was playing so nicely by my side—first with Lego, then with play dough, then massaging his back by laying on my foot massager. He was happy; I was busy. Life was good.
I was nearly finished when I came back up for air. For a while I had been lost in my work (a sad but typical occurrence), and suddenly I realized it was very quiet in the house. Too quiet. And Ev was nowhere to be seen. Oh shoot. I knew this couldn’t be good.
I called up the stairs and heard the pattering of little feet coming and not from the direction of his own room. Double shoot. I was in trouble now.
As he came down the stairs, I was afraid to ask him the question, “Ev where were you upstairs?”
“In my room.” The standard reply.
“And where else were you?”
“Maybe in two rooms?” My stomach is lurching now as I realize this is my own fault for getting lost in a project and not paying attention.
“Which two rooms? Tell me, Ev.”
“Well, I don’t really want to tell you cause I’m pretty sure you might get mad at me.” This is said with a face that looks seriously worried now, biting the corner of his lip and shrinking back a bit.
“You are probably right. But you have to tell me. In fact, let’s just go upstairs and see together,” I say, taking his hand in mine.
“But…But…I’m gonna be scared. I really think I’m gonna be scared now.”
“Why didn’t you think to be scared BEFORE you got into things that don’t belong to you.”
“I have no idea,” he says, shaking his head sadly.
As we round the corner at the top of the stairs, I see the GPS taken apart and left on the floor, the big utility flashlight strewn on the bed, and Lizi’s buttons scattered all around.
Ev looks at me legitimately frightened.
“Ev, do those things belong to you?”
“Then WHY ARE YOU TOUCHING THEM WITHOUT PERMISSION???!!!” This is only the millionth time I have asked this question and the answer is always the same.
“I don’t know why, mama.”
Exasperated, we “discuss” this problem at length. Afterward, I tell him to repeat after me: “I will not touch what doesn’t belong to me.”
Ev looks at me with his big blue contrite eyes and repeats with his own dramatic flair: “Mama, I PROMISE not to never EVER touch what belongs to me.”
Not exactly what I had hoped for…but it does sort of articulate the problem perfectly.
Perhaps communication is not my strong suit.