Writing is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.

— Winston Churchill

A Four-Year-Old’s Diversionary Tactics

My four-year-old has an advanced sense of diversionary tactics. In fact his ability to divert attention and make me laugh is so advanced, so perfect, that any 13-year-old would trade his Wii for my son’s talent to drop his mother’s jaw to the floor and clutch my mid section in an attempt not to laugh so hard I’ll pee my pants. And, he can do it in less time than a PMSing woman can eat chocolate.

Take yesterday for example. I’m in the kitchen when all of a sudden I hear Aaron screaming from the bathroom. He sounds so panicked that all I can think is he’s finally dropped the toilet seat and all those plans I have of becoming a grandmother are squashed for good.

I throw open the bathroom door to find him atop the porcelain throne, his face furrowed into an old man’s expression, and his hands white-knuckling the commode seat. Picking up on his panic, I do a quick mom scan for blood, and I’m relieved to see my dreams of grandparenting will live for at least another day.

“Aaron, what’s wrong? What happened? Are you OK?”

“I peed in my eye,” he sobs.

Trying really hard not to laugh, I grab a wash cloth and clean his face, which is just about the time I realize I’m standing in a pool of pee. I look around and see there’s pee everywhere … his pants, the door and the wall are all soaked.

“Aaron what a mess!” I exclaim. “What happened? You’re supposed to point it down.”

Sensing my complete exasperation with the idea of having to once again clean his bathroom, he quickly changes his tone from crying to contemplative.

“Ummm. Mommy. It’s not my fault.”

“Really! Who’s fault is it that there’s pee all over the bathroom?”

Looking down at himself he shrugs and says, “Well. Mommy. I think there’s something wrong with my peepee.”

“Oh really? What exactly is wrong with it?”

“Look. It’s all wrinkly,” he says with mocked concern while regarding his penis as if it’s not even a part of his body— as if it’s something with a mind and life of its own. “It can’t point down,” he explains. “See those wrinkles? That means it’s really, really exhausted. Maybe it’s getting old.”

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