Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Illogical Conclusions

I love the logic of children.  It's so backwards and full of fallicies, yet they believe in it so earnestly that they are willing to shamelessly share it, angrily defend it and sometimes, in the middle of a crowded department store, even throw hysterical tantrums over it.

I was walking through Target a few weeks ago with Rollie and Elsa, absently remarking about how I needed to buy this and that for the houseguests we were expecting.  I picked up some towels and said something about how Uncle Jack would like them and Rollie got really quiet for a minute.  After we continued on our way, he started whining in that wordless nasal moan...kinda the way I imagine a ghost from Long Island might sound.

Me: What is the matter, Rollie?
Rollie: Uuuuuuhhhhhhh
Me: You'll have to use your words--I have no idea what you want.
Rollie: Uuuuuuhhhhhh
Me: Come on, Rollie.  Stop whining and talk in your big boy voice.
Rollie: Put them back.
Me: Put what back?
Rollie: Put them back, Momma.
Me (sighing): Rollie, I have no idea what you're talking about.  Put what back, Hon?
Rollie (now getting teary-eyed): The towels, Momma.  Put the towels back.
Me: The towels? Why?
Rollie (stopping in the middle of the dog food aisle and stomping his feet, something he never does, believe it or not): I just want you to.  Please, Momma!  Please put the towels back.
Me: Rollie, you're being silly.  We need these towels.  The ones we have are ratty and old.
Rolle: Pleeeease, Momma.  Please put them back!
Me: But why?  I don't understand why you're freaking out about the towels.
Rollie (now red-faced, tears streaming, breath-hitching so hysterically that I'm worried he's about to throw up into a display of birdseed): Just put them back, Momma!
Me (feeling like I'm talking someone down from a rooftop): Rollie, you gotta caaaalm down buddy.  Tell me why you don't want the towels.
Rollie: I don't want Uncle Jack to use them.
Me: ....What?  Why not?
Rollie: I don't want Uncle Jack to come stay with us.
Me: ....Ooooooh.  I get it.

Finally.  Uncle Jack is Jeff's uncle through marriage.  Nicest guy in the world.  Except Rollie has never met him, and now the idea of some nebulous, unfamiliar Uncle Jack coming to stay at our house is turning Rollie's safe, little world flowing with chocolate milk and Nick Jr. upside-down.  And so he logically concludes that if I don't buy guest towels for Uncle Jack, Uncle Jack cannot possibly stay with us.  I guess what Rollie doesn't get is that Uncle Jack will stay with us regardless of which towels he uses--new ones from Target or old thread-bare ones we use to wipe off Ollie's paws.  Geez, Rollie would so bomb his LSATs if he took them now.

But that's the thing with 3-year-olds.  They are able to bridge certain gaps in logic:

If Baby Els scatters my puzzle around the room, I'm going to hit her.
If I hit Baby Els, she will cry.
If she cries, Momma will come to investigate and discover the welt on Baby Els's arm where I hit her.
If she discovered the welt on Baby Els's arm, she will know that I caused said welt and hence I will be sent into Time Out.
Therefore, I will hit Baby Els somewhere that won't leave a visible welt.

But they are unable to make sense of other things that I take for granted.  Like yesterday when he was in the bathroom doing his thing.  I heard the toilet flush, the lid slam, and then the awful sound of him screaming.

Because I'd recently read something in Parents magazine about a boy who had a toilet lid fall and crush his penis, I dropped everything and ran into the bathroom, certain I was about to find the kind of carnage that makes men everywhere hiss through their teeth and curl up in a fetal position.

"What happened?" I asked, barging in on Rollie.
"My thumb!" he cried, holding is hand against his tummy and bawling.
"Let me see it," I gently held his thumb, expecting to see gushing blood, a fingernail hanging by a shred of skin or, at least a throbbing blister.  But his thumb was fine.  A little red, but fine.  "What happened?" I asked again.
"I wasn't paying attention and I closed the lid and it bit me on the thumb," he sobbed.
"Oh, Honey." I sat down on the floor, my heart still pounding against my chest.  "I thought the lid slammed on your penis."
"Why did you think the lid slammed on my penis?" he asked, the tears instantly gone.
"Because I heard that it happened to a little boy once, so I thought it happened to you."
Rollie thought for a second, then asked, "Is that what happened to Baby Els?"

I laughed.  I had to.  I love how he thinks.  I could almost hear the thoughts following each other like a line of blissfully uninformed rail cars:

If a toilet lid were to slam on my penis, my penis would probably fall off.
Then I would look like Baby Els.
Baby Els has no penis.
This must mean that Baby Els had a penis when she was a tiny baby, but a toilet lid fell on it and now she no longer has a penis.  Eureka!

I remember thinking like that.  Hell, sometimes I probably still do.  Thoughts and conclusions I made during my formative years are only recently being decimated by the fact that I can actually look things up online now.  LIke, I'm just now discovering that the earth actually revolves around the sun.  For the longest time I swore the earth revolved around me.  Weird.

So there you go.  My thought for the day.  I'm gonna go tether the toilet lid to the tank now.


  1. Rollie's logic line is priceless. That was a LOL moment reading about what happened to baby Els! Thanks for the laugh. I really needed one today!


    Ps: Speaking of Parents magazine, how about a screen shot or a scan of the issue you were in? I never did find it...

  3. HAHA! I agree. . .where can we find the parents magazine article? Maybe I"ll just have to get a hard copy.