Do you ever have the experience where you say something that seems reasonable to you, only to have your words kick off a landslide of catastrophic consequence that you never could have imagined?
It happened to me last night. And while I wasn’t wishing for the magical power to slip back in time and start over, I had to laugh. Because from a completely uninvolved perspective, it was pretty funny.
See, we spent our weekend assembling some ginormous Ikea cabinetry that we’d purchased in our last-ditch effort to resolve the piles-of clothes-on-the-floor scenario that we’ve called our bedroom for the past 6 years.
It was a weekend of unfortunate events… of torrential downpours at exactly the WRONG time, of erratic and drawn-out traffic jams, of painfully gashing my big toe in exactly the worst spot while trying to move heavy furniture in bare feet… But all that is another story for another day.
At least this gives you an inkling of our state of mind by the time Sunday night rolled around.
The scene: We’re sitting at the dinner table, munching on ravioli and preparing for the bedtime routine. It is already WELL past CJ’s bedtime.
Me: CJ, what do you want to do tomorrow?
CJ: I don’t know.
Me: Do you want to go to the Science Center?
Me: Ok. Well I can tell you one thing… you’re not watching TV. You’ve had entirely too much TV this weekend.
CJ: (highly dramatic) Awwwww!!!! But WHY, mom?
Me: Because too much TV will ROT YOUR BRAIN!
Me: It will turn you into a dummy!
CJ: What’s a dummy?
Me: It’s someone who walks around going…. “Doh…” (lolls tongue, crosses eyes, and generally tries to look dumb)
This is the point where the thing that I thought was funny, entertaining, good for a dinner-time laugh… turned out to be NOT SO MUCH.
My version of funny dummy = CJ’s WORST NIGHTMARE.
CJ: (eyes wide as our dinner plates) That’s a dummy? (stricken expression) Nooooo!!! I don’t want the dummy to come!
Me: Huh? What just happened?
(Jay shrugs in resigned bewilderment. Meanwhile, CJ is escalating into full-on freak out)
CJ: Take the TV away! I don’t want the dummies to get me!
Me: CJ, there aren’t dummies. They don’t “get” you…
CJ: I’m scared of the dummies! (and he really does seem scared)
(He runs and jumps in my lap, clasping his little arms around my neck. His eyes are bright with unshed tears)
Jay: CJ, dummies aren’t scary. They’re just people who act dumb.
CJ: I DON’T WANT THEM!!
Me: But they’re not even real! Well, I mean they’re sort of real, but… (looks beseechingly at Jay for help)
Jay: It’s like how some people are mommies, and some people are teachers, and some people are friends…
Me: (whispers loudly) You’re NOT helping…
CJ: Some people are dummies?
Jay: (to me) do we know anyone who’s a dummy?
Jay: Well, anyway, sometimes people ACT like dummies. Like when you sprayed water out of the tub all over the bathroom, you were acting like a dummy. But you’re not a dummy.
CJ: But I don’t WANT to turn into a dummy!
Me: (hits self on forehead) Heaven help us.
Jay: Nice work, Jen.
CJ: But the dummies can’t get in if all the doors are locked, right?
There’s only one conclusion that can be drawn from all of this:
I’m a dummy. (Shhh! don’t tell CJ!)
And as a dummy, I have to warn you…
Don’t be a dummy.