I think they’re on to me.
For years, I’ve been telling my children that I can see through walls and can monitor everything they do. It started with an offhand comment about needing laser eye surgery.
“Do you have laser eyes, Mommy?” asked my then-2-year-old daughter. wide-eyed.
“Yes, Maddux. That is how I know when you’re being naughty, even when I can’t see you,” I replied.
That’s not actually true. I can tell she’s being naughty because misbehavior is accompanied by either manic giggles or ominous silence. (Basically, this means I should worry any time she’s awake and most of the time she’s supposed to be sleeping.)
Here’s a typical night at our house:
7:30 Kids are tucked in.
8:15 Loud thumps, naughty laughter and the squeaky melodies of hard-partying My Little Ponies waft downstairs from Maddux’ room.
8:16 I find Maddux sitting straight up in her bed, My Little Ponies in each hand, eyes shut as if in slumber but fluttering ever so slightly so that she can peek and see whether I’m on to her.
Me: “Maddux, why are you still awake? Go to sleep. Now check my source.”
Maddux: “How did you know I was awake, Mommy? Did you use your laser eyes?”
Me: “What do you think?”
Maddux: “I think you used your laser eyes. I’m going to go to sleep now, but I don’t want you to use your laser eyes this time.”
Me: “Goodnight. If I have to come in here again, your ponies are going to go in time out.”
7:22 More thumping and giggling are heard upstairs.
Me: “Maddux, I told you no more pony parties. Give me the ponies. Right. Now.”
Maddux (wailing): “Mommmmmeeee, you said you wouldn’t use your laser eyyyyyyeees!”
Here’s another scenario for you. I come downstairs into the playroom with the boys after naptime and notice Maddux lying underneath the table. It’s not a very low table and offers absolutely zero shelter if you’re looking for a good hiding spot.
Me: “Maddux, why are you under the table?”
Maddux: “Mommy, don’t use your laser eyes! I was tryin’ to hide and surprise you guys!”
Since there’s an obvious lack of glowing red beams shooting from my face, I figured at some point Maddux would figure out that her mom hasn’t been bionically augmented. But as Maddux’ intelligence and knowledge base have increased, her level of incredulity has stayed at zero.
Maddux: “Mommy, when I grow up, I’m going to have laser eyes just like you.”
Me: “Is that so?”
Maddux: “Yes, because I got my genes from you, and you have laser eyes. When am I going to get my laser eyes?”
Although I could have told her laser eyes were a recessive trait and that she couldn’t expect to see through walls and set things ablaze with a mere glare unless Daddy had a dormant laser-eye gene, I instead told her that she would get her laser eyes when she became a mommy. It’s kind of true. Especially if she gets my nearsighted genes.
But while Maddux’ entire universe is built on her ability to suspend disbelief, James is firmly grounded in reality. This is, after all, the boy who was asked what Santa would be leaving under the tree and answered, “A big mess.”
So last night as I was tucking him in for the umpteenth time, I was pleasantly surprised when my little boy told me, smiling widely, that “Jamesycakes sees you all de time with his blue laser eyes.”
“Awesome!” I thought to myself. “My little boy’s imagination is finally blossoming.”
Then James threw his head back and began laughing uproariously. Because, of course, he knows that my supposed laser eyes are a fraud of Madoffian proportions.
I suppose I should be proud of my son for having the earliest-developed sense of sarcasm in the history of humor. But really, I’m just scared. Once they figure out that my laser eyes are actually just a pair of working ears and some intuition, the jig is up.
At least until I convince Santa to give me access to his network of hidden cameras.