“Hey, Mom? What happens if you accidentally drink vegetable oil?”
“Wait. What? How does that happen, accidentally?”
Peter and I were away for an hour on a Pie Date.
Village Inn has free pie with any purchase on Wednesday nights, and if you order one piece a la mode, then you get a whole dish of delicious for the cost of one scoop of ice cream. (You’re welcome, penny pinching pie lovers.)
Also, we’ve tricked the boys into a plan that’s working really, really well. Here’s how it goes:
“Guys, Peter and I are thinking of going out for a bit. I could hire a babysitter to keep everyone safe, monitor all arguments, and make sure nothing gets broken. Or, I could pay you guys to stay safe, not fight, and not break anything. Which would you prefer?”
Without fail, they prefer the freedom and cash. They don’t realize I’m paying them a fraction of what I pay babysitters. Ain’t no babysitter in town who’ll work for $5.00 a night, and there ain’t no other way my boys are making that kind of cash in one evening. So it’s a win-win.
(Caveat: I don’t actually think the evening is free of arguments and broken stuff. But the whole point is I don’t have to hear about it. If they fight, they can’t tell me about it, or they get docked some cash. If they break stuff, they get docked cash. So they’re motivated to fight quietly and work together to put things back together. I’m absolutely a-ok with paying them pennies to establish these life skills while I eat pie.)
Which brings me to the phone call that interrupted the a la mode. “Dude. How is it possible that you accidentally drank vegetable oil?”
Hmm. “Well, you might get diarrhea, I guess.” (Giggle, giggle, I hear.)
“It’s not my fault, Mom. He poured it for me.”
“Right. And you drank the whole thing?”
“Well, I didn’t know what it was until I drank the whole thing.”
“Just don’t drink anything else he pours for you tonight. Deal?”
“Deal…. Mom? Can I still have my five dollars?”
“Perhaps.” Good to keep them guessing. I’m sure that’s a good parenting strategy, right?
I hung up the phone and relayed it all to Peter. This brother was thirsty, that brother poured a drink, it was accidentally oil, but it’s all okay now.
(Perhaps you’re still stuck on the word accidentally, dear readers. Justifiably so. You and Peter both.)
Peter said, “What? No, no, no. This was not an accident.”
“Well, those two liquids are the same color, so it could be.”
“And I buy them both at Costco, so the jugs are similar sizes…. It could have been an accident.”
(Silence. Coupled with husband’s lowered chin and raised eyebrows. Which together mean, “Trish.”)
Then he said “And you keep the apple juice in the…”
“And the oil…”
“On the second shelf of the top cupboard of the pantry… which he couldn’t reach without a plan… actually.”
More with the lowered chin and raised eyebrows.
And then came my moment of less optimism and a touch more realism. “I think it’s possible…”
“… that your kid got played.”
Peter knows boys. And I do believe he has arrived on this scene just in time.