“What’s that?” my son asked, indicating a form I was bringing to his preschool this morning. I explained again that this is the form about his upcoming “graduation” ceremony from pre-K, and we are giving it to the school so they know how many people are coming. This was after I reminded him that tonight after school we are going to his new kindergarten as tonight is orientation. So he’s understandably confused. “So Mom, I will still go to my regular school tomorrow, right?” I explained again how yes, he’ll still be going there, he’ll be going there until he starts at his new elementary school in the fall, and that after the pre-K graduation, they’ll start the “summer camp” program. “You remember the summer camp time at your school, right?” I asked him. “They have sprinkler days once a week, they have visitors come in like police and fire workers, they have the ice cream truck day, stuff like that.” He thought about it very soberly for a minute and then piped up, “And if I’m not good at camp, that’s when I have to go to the shoe factory and work, right?”
I burst into guilty hysterics. It’s been at least a month ago, probably more like two, since we went over the “summer camp” schedule his school puts out, so you can plan for different fun events as they come up, like silly hat day or pajama day or whatever, and I joked over dinner that if D didn’t behave properly at camp, then we would send him to the shoe factory so he could learn how to build shoes all day. I had joked about it being like the elves’ workshop from Year Without a Santa Claus, except you build shoes instead of toys, and learn a trade skill that can get you a job later in life. I was CERTAIN he knew I was joking, but perhaps not.
“You know that was just a joke, about the shoe factory,” I told him. But he insisted on going on, calling my bluff further. “And if I do good at the shoe factory, then I can go back to summer camp, right, Mom?” Oh this child. By now I knew he was pulling my leg, but I said again, to be sure, how I had just been kidding when I said that, that there isn’t actually any shoe factory at all, and in fact most of the shoes we wear aren’t even made here in our country any longer (which is a whole other discussion to have with him, but that can keep).
The kid remembers everything. Last night I served some roasted potatoes with dinner, and he tried to claim he didn’t like potatoes. My standard answer whenever he says he doesn’t like ANYTHING is to just act like he’s confused and say, “Oh yes you do, you just don’t remember. You like those,” and then I go back to eating acting totally normal while I watch him scoop up and eat something he never had before or previously didn’t like. It’s worked pretty well, thankfully. I pointed out that he liked potatoes of all kinds; potato salad, mashed potatoes, french fries. “Mom,” he said, “Do you remember when we got that takeout from the B-spot and they forgot my french fries?” YES, JESUS son, I remember this big tragedy of your life. This was at least four or five months ago, but apparently he hasn’t forgotten.
Clearly, not much gets by this one.