The Daughter has a face that betrays her thoughts. When she understood something, her eyes lit up. And her motor mouth betrayed her thinking. I knew she was reasonably intelligent.
Little Boy's eyes never did really light up EVER and like his father, he spoke little. When asked a simple question "How old are you?", Little Boy's jaw dropped to his knees and the person who asked had to rush off before Little Boy's answer was processed and articulated. I truly worried about him making his way in a complicated world where quick thinking saves lives and amasses fortunes. After all, this is the same Little Boy who ran 6 rounds about the track for his physical fitness test when all he had to run was 4!!
Brawn but no brain - oh dear!
Nonetheless, Little Boy had his moments of genius which gave me hope. And this story is about the time he bested his Ma.
We were sitting around the roaring fireplace with some friends. Conservatives they were. Republicans too. And church-going teetotallers with Amish neighbours back in Pennsylvania. Such people have a healthy respect for authority. They definitely subscribe to the notion that thou shalt honour thy father and thy mother.
Little Boy sat in the middle of the thick carpet (all of 3 years and 1 month) and said in a squeaky voice minus all the 'n' sounds because he couldn't yet make that sound - "Ms LJ,I can force my mommy to do what I want."
Ms LJ and her husband Mr M shot me a look each. Whilst Mr M looks on interestedly, Ms LJ asks, with a mischievous little smile tugging at the corner of her mouth "Oh... how do you do that?"
Little Boy replies "I ask, and my mommy says 'No'. I ask again and my mommy says 'No'. I ask and I ask and I ask and I ask and I ask... and then my mommy says 'Yes'.
With some effort at looking composed, Ms LJ says "My, my... isn't this embarassing for your mommy, to know that you have bested her without her knowing?" I didn't feel very honoured as a Mother but I couldn't help being pleased that Little Boy showed some glimmer of intelligence.
For years after that, whenever Little Boy's jaws drop to his knees and his eyes take on a glazed look at something I just said, I hang on to the memory of that cold winter's evening, in a warm living room and a boy who bested his Ma.