The Question

With one fell swoop, she cut me off at the knees. It was such a simple thing and yet the implications are as far reaching as the rays of the sun.

It was a simple questions: You can pick up your crayons or you can go to your room.

It was a rhetorical question. It's what parents say to scare their children because telling them a monster lives in the basement is no longer really allowed. But he does live in the basement and he eats the tears of bad children who don't listen to their fathers.

I posed this question to my 3 year old daughter, the crayons or your room. She looked at her crayons. She looked at me. She looked at her crayons. The gears were turning. The little hamster was in it's wheel. She turned around and headed upstairs, into her room, and shut the door leaving the mess of crayons on the floor.

And just like that, the power shift had occurred.

The whole relationship changed on that one move. I was the disciplinarian, a man whose word was not questioned. I said it and it happened. With Little Hoss choosing to go to her room instead of picking up the crayons, she has found the flaw in my rule.

Now I am a shadow of my former self, a cheap imitation of the all knowing and all powerful father. I am a shell of a man, a fragile shell.

She wasn't supposed to choose the room option. No one ever chooses the room option. It's a trick question, you are supposed to choose the lesser of two evils. The crayons, you are supposed to pick up the crayons.

But when she didn't choose to pick up the crayons, it changed everything. She found the loop- hole in the question. By choosing her room she realized she would never have to pick up the crayons. It's implied in the very question itself: your room or your crayons. It's one or the other, not both.

At 3 years old I am impressed by her reasoning ability.

She's up there probably right now drinking mojito's and wistfully looking out her window. I'm downstairs trying to pick up crayons before her little brother can flush them down the toilet.

I realize that I could have sent her to her room and then made her pick up the crayons when that was done. But that wasn't the question, was it? So if I make her do both then Daddy's a liar and Daddy doesn't want to be a liar just yet. I'm waiting for when she's a teenager and asks me why her douchebag boyfriend didn't call. I will say it was probably because he was to busy with Susie McLoose Pants at Make-Out Point. I heard she goes all the way, man and does things that will blow your mind.

So in one big stroke she'll dump him and I'll ruin his teenage years. Win/win for me. Although given the way she is able to pick apart my sentence structure I might want to spend the next 13 years working on it.


  1. You forgot the follow-up statement to the question: "And remember, when Dad picks up your stuff he gets to put it where he wants it." (and then put the damn crayons on the shelf, visable but not accessable. When asked to get them down you say, "No, I had to pick them up so I put them where I want them." )

  2. I like Anonymous's comment. Good plan. You win after all.

  3. I dread these days of reasoning with a toddler. They are coming soon for me...coming for me...soon...