Magazines and Manipulation

Jul 8, 2011

I was on my way to work this past Wednesday, when I stopped at our mailbox to grab the mail.  As soon as I got back in the car, my boys started asking to look at any magazines that had arrived.  I handed the Lillian Vernon catalogue to my three year old, Maclain.  A quick glance at my mail stack, though, showed me there wasn’t anything else of interest to hand to his older brother, Bennett.

“I want a magazine, too!” he whined.
What to do? What to do?  There wasn’t even a grocery flier in the pile.

And then I noticed an engineering course catalogue which had arrived for my husband.  I knew it wouldn’t be of much interest to Bennett, but it was all I had.  Perhaps just handing him something would buy me a few minutes in the whine-free zone.
“Here,” I said, as I passed back the book.
I counted to five, waiting for the complaining to begin when he saw the catalogue contained nothing but text.
“I can’t believe that satisfied him,” I thought.
And then, suddenly, I heard Bennett exclaim, excitedly, “Look at all these toys!”
I glanced back at him.  Did I actually hand him a magazine with photos of toys?

Nope.  Just the plain, black engineering book with course descriptions.
“Look at this ball!” he said. “Wow! A transformer!”

I glanced back again. Had he lost his mind?
And then I realized his plan.
His devious, manipulative (yet incredibly creative and ingenious) plan.
“I want that magazine!” his brother cried out.

“Okay,” Bennett said, coyly.  “But if I give you my magazine, you have to give me yours.”
“Here,” Maclain said, as he handed over his book.

And, as my mouth hung open in sheer shock at the deceitfulness of my four year old, the boys swapped magazines.

It only took a moment, of course, for Maclain to realize he’d been duped.
“I no WIKE this magazine,” he cried out.

Poor Maclain.
And poor me.  If my four year old can come up with such an impressive con at his young age, I am  doomed.

I no WIKE that idea!


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