Thursday, May 19, 2011
The Muddy Truth
My older son was shouting at the top of his lungs, or at least I assumed it was him. I could not really tell for certain, as the small person making all the noise was covered in mud from head to foot, face included. But I was pretty sure I recognized the outrage in the voice of my older, more responsible boy.
That particular tone of outrage could generally be associated directly with some misdeed perpetrated by my younger son, who was quiet, cheerful, and generally carried about his person an air of either total innocence (if you were really gullible) or total feigned innocence, if you knew who you were dealing with. I knew.
Their father called them "Sport" and "Bud". At the time of this little life-lesson, Sport was six years old and Bud was only four; but Bud had always been bigger for his age, and thus people often mistook him for the older of the two, much to the frustration and chagrin of his older brother, with the red hair and freckles, always so industrious and reliable.
On that particular morning, it was sunny and warm out, after a late spring rain had turned the open driveway area in front of the barn into a muddy mess. There was an abandoned flatbed, minus the truck cab, sitting off to the side of the driveway left by some prior resident, and the boys thought it made a great platform for pretending to be scouts watching for Indians, cowboys defending their fort, or for various other adventures.
Sport was still wailing away, and if you were only hearing the noise and not the words within the din, you might have thought he was dying, or at least seriously injured. He was neither, however, just really, really mad.
"He pushed me. He pushed me off the back of the truck bed right into the mud. He did it on purpose."
I looked over at his brother, standing there calm and dry and asked, "Did you push your brother off the truck?"
He slowly shook his head "no".
This seemed unlikely, since he was clean and dry, with nary a speck of mud on his clothes, while his brother stood there yowling covered in wet, gooey slime. There were only the two of them out there, as we lived about two miles from town and there were no other children around to play with.
"Son, it is important that you tell the truth. Now did you push your brother off the truck bed into the mud? There were only two of you out there. He is covered in mud, and you are not."
Another sideways shake of the head, with those big blue, innocent looking eyes looking directly into mine. Oh, dear.
Of course, it was possible that Sport had simply gone too close to the edge, maybe taking dead-aim at some far off pirate or something, and had accidentally fallen off into the mud. But I doubted it. He was nimble and quick as a six-armed monkey.
I called their dad into reason with Bud. There followed more admonitions about truthfulness, and consequences, etc. between dad and Bud, while I took Sport off to the bathroom, still howling his fury, to clean him up.
After a serious heart-to-heart about how important it was to be honest, even when you thought it might get you into trouble, his father asked him one more time whether Bud had pushed Sport into the mud?
With his white-blonde hair going every which way, as it always did, and his big-blue eyes twinkling with mischief, as they always were, Bud finally gave out a big four-year-old sigh....."Wellll" he said quietly, but firmly, "I didn't push him, but I did come up behind him and apply a little pressure."
Apply a little pressure??? What?? Apply a little pressure??? What kind of four-year-old says that?
After giving Sport a snack and book to read to calm him down, and after sending Bud to his room as punishment for being mean to his brother, we immediately went to our own bedroom and shut the door, before bursting into smothered laughter.
Oh, dear Lord! We laughed till we nearly cried, as we looked at each other with equal parts smothered hilarity and barely stifled dread. Applied a little pressure? He is only FOUR YEARS OLD!
"What will he be like at sixteen, if he can maneuver like that at four?" We really didn't even want to think about it......but we were going to find out.
Hope your day is calm, and has no one in it applying a little pressure on you! Be well.