Following up on yesterday’s post, here’s the best example yet of the Cocoa Puff-eating evil genius named Bennett who lives in my condo.
We were playing outside yesterday afternoon, me kicking a ball, Bennett using our water table to water the plants on our back patio and Sutton… let’s say she was skipping around merrily singing “Monday Monday” by the Mamas and the Papas, which is probably what she was doing at that particular moment. (Some bands have Mamas and Papas, I tell her. Others are only Papas.)
I notice Bennett is splashing around in the plant water, getting potting soil all over himself.
“Don’t play with that, Bennett,” I say.
Bennett looks at me, registers that he’s heard what I said, then goes back to playing with the dirty water.
“Bennett, I said don’t play with that.”
He looks at me again, probably weighing the options in his head – obey Daddy vs. do this fun thing I’m doing – and goes back to playing with the dirty water.
I have to admit, I’m a little amused, but I’m trying not to laugh and encourage the disobedience. “Bennett, you do realize I’m watching you? I see you still playing with the water.”
It’s now that Bennett first chooses to speak. “Ball!” he shouts.
What?! Ball? We’re not talking about the ball. Why is this kid suddenly saying “ball”?
“Do you want to play with the ball?” I ask him. “Sure. Let’s go play with the ball.”
Bennett stands by the plant, shakes his head. “Ball!” He points at the ball.
It’s then that I realize what’s going on. Bennett doesn’t want to play with the ball. He wants me to play with the ball, as I was doing before I noticed him splashing in the dirty water. If I’m playing with the ball, I’ll be too distracted to watch him, and then I’ll get off his case.
“Ball!” he commands. “Ball! Ball!”
And then I realize he’s suddenly telling me what to do, and I’m the one standing there speechless, unsure how to respond.