Monday, February 15, 2010

If you aren't cheating, you aren't trying hard enough

When my brother was a kid, my dad became involved with my brother's Boy Scout troop. After a few years, it became apparent that my dad enjoyed Scouts more than my brother did. My brother eventually left the troop, and my dad also drifted away. However, when my dad retired, the troop needed some help, so my dad started working with the troop again. He's their official pancake breakfast pancake maker, and also the "coolest old guy" the kids have ever met. He also travels with the troop for their yearly week long trip to Canada.

I'm not sure how it came up, but on Christmas day my dad was talking about the Canada trip and he said, "If you aren't cheating, you aren't trying hard enough." I'm guessing that he was talking about something similar to pulling your opponent's leg hair during a basketball game. (It's a good guess considering he's told me that story at least 100 times since I took up basketball in 7th grade.) My dad doesn't cheat, and would never want anyone to think that he cheats.

The problem is that he made the comment in front of Michael, and then I made a stink about him making the comment in front of Michael. That's a double fail, which lead to Michael thinking that Grandpop cheats. Michael doesn't know what cheating is, but it must be cool because Grandpop Fred does it.

I did damage control on Christmas, but it wasn't good enough. Every so often, Michael gets back on the Grandpop Fred cheats thing. I explain that he doesn't and the subject gets dropped.

It came back up again on Saturday morning and I tried once again to explain that cheating is bad. Michael drew the parallel and said that only bad guys cheat. I agreed with him. He said, "So, Grandpop Fred is a bad guy?"


I picked up the phone and called my dad. He didn't answer, so I left him a detailed message. It went something like this: "Dad, remember that comment you made about cheating on Christmas? Michael now seems to think that you are a cheater and a bad guy. I'd strongly recommend that you give us a call back and explain to Michael that you are not a cheater, and that cheating is bad."

My dad did call back. He didn't remember making the comment, but he was happy to talk with Michael about how bad cheating is. I hope this lays the matter to rest. I'm a little bit tired of explaining cheating.

The moral of the story? 3.75 year old children are very literal and will take just about anything you say at face value. Also, never react to anything you don't want you child to pick up on, if you do, they WILL pick up on it.


Maria said...

We have the whole bad guys do our house too, and although the older 2 get the separation, Maya is still fuzzy on that. As for the reacting thing, The girls love to rhyme and sing rhymes a lot. They were rhyming the other day, and got on the pot, dot, got, line of rhymes. They stumbled onto a really naughty word that rhymes with those, and that was the one they continued chanting because they thought it was really funny sounding (and have never heard that one or know what it means) I had to leave the room because the chance that I was going to break out in hysterical laughter was too great to remain within earshot.

LauraC said...

If we use words the boys don't know, I tend to just ignore it but then I've realized they are ALWAYS LISTENING. I am always amazed at their instant recall of the things I do not want them to remember.

Karen said...

The things that grandpops teach their grandsons....sigh! When Michael was almost 1, my dad taught him how to climb up the stairs in our house but didn't teach him how to get back down and then went home. I told him I would send the ER bill to him when Michael fell down the stairs.

Steph said...

Cooper is always listening too- even when you don't think it's possible he hears and remembers so clearly the things you don't want him to bring back up. He's gotten a few phrases from both grandparents that I would rather he not know/hear/ask about yet, but when they come up it's always 8000 questions about every aspect of it.

Heidi O said...

Ain't that the truth. I wish we had a delay button that would hit before we react to things like that.
I am sure I would be a much better mom if I had that delay button.

Megan said...

My father in law lost part of his finger in a freak farm accident when he was a young boy. So he has 'half' of a finger. Seren asked him what happened to it and he replied "Your grandma ate it." My god, for the rest of the visit, Seren, who was 2.5 at the time, kept asking Grandma why she would do that. Did she do that!? She isn't going to do it again, right?! My poor mother in law! And he thought it was SOOO funny.

Julie said...

I wish my husband would learn this lesson too: Lana is ALWAYS listening, she doesn't get sarcasm and if you are just teasing, you are going to make her cry b/c really everything is taken so very literally.