The slippery slope of a small-scale International Man of Mystery with an eidetic memory

Yesterday’s holiday was spent relaxing ahead of the next couple of hectic weeks.  One has to use the word “hectic” when there’s a tooth extraction involved.  The word “chaotic” doesn’t really come into play until, awake in the dark and looking at the blurred shape of the slowly-rotating ceiling fan, one starts pondering what J’s reaction will be when he realizes there’s a gaping hole where his painful tooth used to be.  I’m sure that the same kid who had issues the first time someone cut his hair (and wanted to stick it back on) will somewhat object to one less molar, but we’ll cross that bridge when we stumble into the roaring river.

J is obviously no longer distressed by the pain he was feeling Friday morning, and this often serves the purpose of making people in general forget how miserable they were and why the emergency visit to the dentist was necessary.  “But look!  It no longer hurts!!!,” we all reason as we go about our business in the usual carefree fashion.  Cruel though this may seem, I try to remind J that his tooth was causing him a considerable amount of grief not that long ago, and that the improvement in his circumstances is purely the result of a significant amount of antibiotics that are taking away the pressure of infected, swollen tissue.  He is emboldened into foolishness by this lack of pain, and wants to eat popcorn.  This particular treat was denied to him until he threw a royal hissy fit that threatened to require major structural repair to the kitchen floor.  Mother, in all her desperate wisdom, acquiesced and, within seconds, a bite into a kernel proved that the original NO was justified.

J wouldn’t admit he’d hurt himself biting into the popcorn and, quite stoically, arched a brow, sent me out of the room and then left the popcorn on the table, unattended and uncared for, until it was too stale to eat.  In a classic “well, it wasn’t worth it anymore” move, he waited a whole hour to bring it up to the trash can and unceremoniously dumped it out, looking at me as if to say “it was highly unsatisfactory and I won’t want any more until you read the microwave instruction manual and figure out how to make it right.  Don’t apologize!  It’s not worth it.  I am disgusted by this poor display of corn popping and…just leave me be!”  Since Saturday he hasn’t attempted to eat anything that might have small, hard, sharp pieces that would hurt him so there have been no more requests for popcorn, and he is steering clear of candy of the sorts that usually send shivers down my maternal spine: laffy taffy, sweet tarts, smarties…things that enmesh themselves into holes or crawl in and put pressure.

You might question the wisdom of “allowing” J to have this type of snack.  I’m right there with you.  I should say NO, and I very often do.  However, J has a way of absconding things that is uncanny.  The existence of the baby monitor allowed us to hear very delicate, obviously “quiet” munching in the middle of the night; reconnoissance missions led us to the discovery of J, sitting in the dark in his room, munching on the 2-ounce containers of cereal we pack for him.  How he brought it upstairs without being noticed (he who is over 200 pounds and now 5′ 10″ tall,) we might never know.  He has ways, you see, and it might very well be a Jedi Mind Trick for all we know.

There are times when his body language gives away the secretive purpose of his actions.  I’ve discovered ice cream sandwiches in pockets, but only because I detained him long enough for things to start melting or the cold dessert to press against his leg until it was uncomfortable.  There is only so much I can do to police J’s actions.  I can give advice (the Good Lord knows my kids roll their eyes enough,) but I also have to give him the opportunity (as was given to TGG) to fall on his ass and learn a lesson from time to time.

J’s ability to conduct himself in a super-secretive way can cause problems.  Eight years ago we had to put a call in to the National Poison Control Center 800 number because we discovered J had consumed a small quantity of Miracle Gro.  After soothing us and helping us figure out that he wouldn’t be harmed by it, we went to even greater lengths to guarantee his safety.  You now need a retina scan, a passkey and your fingerprints to fertilize plants around here.  The jury is still out on whether this particular incident was the gateway to J becoming the tallest, biggest kid in the household…TGG certainly thinks it was.  I’ve seen HIM eyeing the Miracle Gro greedily…

Our Man of Mystery struck again on Sunday, only this time it was a cyber-attack and I didn’t realize it until yesterday afternoon.  We were sitting in the living room when I decided to do a little research on an app someone had mentioned might be good for J’s Math skills; I sat at the computer and opened our shared iTunes account.  The balance was off.  There was money  missing.  I backtracked and remembered how, on Saturday, J had asked for Chopin’s Fantaisie-Impromptu, and I’d obliged, sitting next to him in front of his iPad and keying in the password to our account.  That, my friends, was a 99¢ purchase, and a considerable amount of money was left in his balance when I did that.  Yesterday, when I went “app hunting,” there was a minimal amount of money in his balance.  “The iTunes account has been HACKED!,” I e-mailed Dada.  “What???,” he replied.  “There’s money missing!,” I typed frantically while thinking of poor J and his missing money, and all the music that could have gone with it…sigh…  “Check his iPad.  Check your wireless.  Maybe someone is stealing everything else from our computer!!!”  We are panickers here, you know.

Click.  Click.  Click.  GASP!!!!

J, my dear boy, OBVIOUSLY memorized the password I typed into his iPad.  It HAD to be him.  Who else, for crying out loud, would complete the purchase of the other 110 Classical Masterpieces in the album that had the Fantaisie one day after the Fantaisie was purchased?  I looked at my son and said “did you…” and his eyes immediately shot up to inspect the texture of the basement-level family room ceiling through the slowly rotating blades of the fan.  “You DID, didn’t you?”  He smiled.  Broadly.

Remind me never to check the online banking around him.  NEVER!



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