Friday, August 26, 2011


My four-year-old grandson, Drew, is a fine boy. He’s just past that stage where he’s figured out how smart he is and how dumb his parents are. (Grandparents, of course, know this stage reemerges multiple times in a child’s development . . . or else it just continues in one long, uninterrupted stretch from age three until he has children of his own.)

Anyway, a couple of months ago, Drew began telling his mother she was wrong about everything. His mother, my first-born, wisely and patiently endured and ignored him until it became clear that his contradictions weren’t going away without her help. So she very firmly told him to be quiet. Which Drew did. For a few seconds.

And then he had an idea. He said he wanted to sing a song about a train. Not wishing to be unreasonable, Mom agreed. Then Drew began to sing his train song. It went, more or less, like this:

“You think you know, but you don’t!”

Drew's mom has also just passed through a stage, one that began at bewildered and, in a flash of insight at Mach 1, wound up at shrewd.

Stifling a laugh, she sent him to his room.