Monday, October 15, 2012

Excuses, Excuses

I'm always rather amazed at the excuses that Makoto comes up with as to why he didn't do something that he was told to do. I don't mean the silly stuff like the Dalek ate my worksheet or things like that (Though he does come up with them from time to time), but I mean the more logical ones. Makoto is a rather logical little kid and his excuses are somewhat plausible... for a given value of plausible. After all, we are talking about a 5-year-old here so you have to accept a few things regarding his worldview. But to give you an example, take yesterday and the Battle over the Legos.

Yesterday was a busy day for me as Saturday I didn't manage to clean as we went hat hunting for Daddy's birthday (We didn't find one), snack hunting for the Halloween party (We found that), and our usual weekend shopping trip. That left Sunday for the weekly run of the vacuum cleaner as well as my planned assault on the bathroom.

It being October, it's soon going to be way too cold to think about scrubbing it down, rinsing with cold water, and then having the window open to let it dry.

During vacuuming though, the boys are not allowed to play with toys, the issue being that Daddy wants to get this done and not have to pick up yet another mess that was made while waiting. I admit, it's a trial for two small boys as for about a half an hour they can't play either upstairs or downstairs with their toys until I clear the room. So it was after the vacuum was finally put away that Makoto came to me to ask if I would PLEASE make him another Lego car.

No, said I. Daddy must clean the bathroom. Besides, here's the book, you can follow the directions.

Then came logical excuse number 1.

"But I can't find the parts, Daddy."

Then, said I, dump out the bucket to find them. BUT! If you do, you have to clean them up again, ok? I am not going to clean them up again, ok?

See, previous Lego cars have been a begging child who claims that he can't follow the directions (Which he can, he's proven that with the Duplo set), followed by promises that if Daddy builds it he would indeed clean up the Legos, and have always ended up with me sitting on the floor scooping Legos back into the bucket while Makoto is downstairs watching TV. No, this time I would not do so.

Promise made, Legos dumped and I attacked the bathroom with the power of Scrubbing Bubbles! Or was in the middle of it when, "Daddy! I can't find..."

Yup, Makoto was back. To make a long story short, I ended up, yet again, on the floor building another Lego car for him because he couldn't find the pieces (Though amazingly, once I told him what to look for, he had no problem finding them quickly). I admit that I shouldn't have given into him, but... well... as Beloved notes, I tend to turn back into a 10-year-old boy myself when allowed to play with Legos so...

But then the problem was the cleanup. Makoto swore that, yes, he WOULD clean up, but first Mommy was calling for the boys to come down for lunch.

And then he wanted to take a nap.

And then, well, Daddy had to leave for drill with the firefighters, but he promised, he promised that he would have them cleaned up by the time I came home. Thus when I left the after-party I called Beloved to find out that, no, the Legos hadn't been touched at all and instead all 20,000 of them were still scattered over the floor in his room. This called for a fatherly ultimatum, i.e. "Tell Makoto that if the Legos are not picked up by the time Daddy gets home, Daddy is going to take every Lego he can find and Makoto won't see them again till he's 22!"

Now it normally takes me a half an hour to walk from the firehouse to my house, depending on traffic, train, and how drunk I am. This time I decided to be slightly nice and dawdle a bit. That and I wanted to practice marching as I was getting teased about how big gaijin take big steps. But in any case, it took me closer to 40 minutes to finally arrive at the house to a hysterical 5-year-old in tears and snot.

No, the Legos were not picked up.

Sending Makoto upstairs to await his doom Beloved told me, trying to stop laughing, that Makoto had been coming up with excuse after excuse trying to get her on his side. His hands were too small to clean up all the Legos. Hikaru wasn't helping him (By which he meant that Hikaru hadn't done all of the work himself). He couldn't finish cleaning because Hikaru had taken some of the Legos.

All of which I admit were pretty good, logical, and somewhat plausible excuses. Going upstairs, still in uniform, I find Makoto still crying, a Lego bucket almost 3/4 full, and a pile of Legos still on the floor. Now this is a difficult moment as a father. On one hand, I want to impress on Makoto that he should have started this earlier. He had 6 hours to get them cleaned up, 6 hours that he did nothing. On the other, I don't want to scare him and he did get most of them up. On the gripping hand though... I admit that I was trying really hard not to laugh at him standing there dribbling snot and tears and choking out one excuse after another about why they hadn't been picked up and could Daddy please help him. It probably means I'm a terrible father, but... Yes, I admit he looked hilarious.

And, finally, I admit that I didn't really have the heart to deny my sons what was one of my favorite toys growing up. I still have fond memories of building Lego robots with my best friend and until the day we moved out of the house when I was in my mid-teens, we were still finding Legos that had been lost.

So I ended up telling Makoto that I was going downstairs to change out of my uniform and that he needed to get everything up as best he could until I returned. And they were, mostly, and I helped him with the last few handfuls of the small stuff. He did come up with one really good excuse about the whole mess, because apparently the reason why he didn't get them cleaned up was because he was trying to figure out how to build another one for Hikaru so they wouldn't fight. A sigh from Beloved told me that, no, he and Hikaru had been fighting non-stop, but I have to admit, that was a pretty good excuse.

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