Ev often comes into work with me. I work in a small church office where all my co-workers know Ev and are low key about his presence. On a typical day, he saunters in, popping his head in everyone’s office and greeting them each by name.
“Good Morning Pastor Scott! Good Morning Miss Dee! Good Morning Miss Julie! Good morning GJ!”
He gives a sort of half wave with his hellos, checks the fridge for any “new developments”, and then settles himself in my office.
I have a big bin of construction paper and arts and crafts goodies in one corner just for him and an electronic keyboard and an amp which he loves in another corner. On a lower shelf, there are some special blankets and bedding he uses for nap time (or whenever I need him to have “quiet time”), but his favorite place in my office by far is the little shelf where I keep my coffee and tea stash. On that shelf sits a box full of sugar cubes.
The conversation usually starts like this: “Well mom, you know I was actually really really good this morning. I’m thinking maybe I deserve a little something special.”
Before I have a chance to open my mouth for the yes he is certain is inevitable, Ev already has the stool out and is climbing up on it, hand reaching for that special yellow box. I give him the look saying that I expect a little more from him, and he stops and clears his throat loudly.
“Mom, may I please have a little treat from the yellow box?” His blue eyes are twinkling with hope.
“Well, I’m thinking that after your rest time you can have one of the sugar cubes. Not before your rest, but after.”
“But, But Mo-om. I’m not even tired. Wait, Wait! I know what the problem is.” He’s grasping at straws now as he envisions the special treat slipping away from him, “The problem is …. Wait, I’m needing to think about this.” (Insert long pause here.) “Mom, I know what’s wrong. I’m not tired at all, I’m just EXHAUSTED. I didn’t get enough sleep. I should have sleeped in this morning! THAT’S the problem!”
I hear Scott laugh out loud in his office next door; I have to hold back a chuckle myself.
“Ev,” I explain gently, “Do you know what exhausted means? It means really really tired. If you say you are exhausted, you are saying you are really really tired and need a rest.”
“Oh Mom! No. It doesn’t.” he shakes his head at my obvious ignorance, “It just means I didn’t get enough sleep and that’s why I am obnoxious. But, I promise I won’t be obnoxious any more so I DON’T need a rest…just in case you were wondering.” He explains all this even as his hand is hovering over the yellow box.
Actually, exhausting means trying to explain something to a four year old who has his own kind of logic. Some days it’s easier to just pass the boy a sugar cube and call it done.