The Seven Year Old Understands Adult Psychology (Whispering Across the Table)
So the boy and his mother are bickering,
you know, the usual stuff, it’s time for dinner
and someone won’t put away the iPad.
There are repeated requests, some back talk,
further struggling, the ubiquitous countdown,
and then the final capitulation with
an accompaniment of sass and accusations
about Mom’s bossiness and grump.
It’s uncomfortable there for awhile until the boy
bites down on his kabob and hurts a tooth and
begins to cry–which elicits from Mom
sympathy and comfort–and then when
the hurt’s over, everyone is once again happy
The boy, sometime during the meal,
whispers over to Dad that the hurt tooth
was really not as bad as it seemed and that
the crying was a bit of a calculated ruse
“to make Momma happy again.”
Absolute genius. But disturbing in its way.
I wanted to say that there are other strategies,
perhaps more direct, perhaps more honest,
for restoring the peace, one of which might
have been an apology, another of which might
have been smiles instead of pretended tears,
but I could not say these things because we were,
after all, whispering across the table
and all was once again right with the world.