Trick-or-treat: My kids are stupid
When my 5-year-old son shouted back to me from the door of a stranger's house on Halloween night, "Mom, she doesn't have any chocolate, is it OK if I pick something else?" I realized that my sense of humor is lost on my kids. They are too earnest for my tastes.
See, I (jokingly (totally not jokingly)) told my son to make sure he gets lots of chocolate. The for me was implied. He did not pick up on the implication. He took it as a rule or mission of Halloween. He took it as advice from his mother who looks out for him and knows more about Halloween and the world at large than he does.
And nothing I said for the rest of the night could change his mind.
"Honey, I was just joking. Get whatever candy you like," I said.
"But you said to get as much chocolate as I can. I'll get chocolate," he said.
"You are evil. You better blog about this," husband said.
Every house was the same. My kid shouted back to me, "This one has more than one kind of chocolate, does it matter which I get?" and "This one has chocolate and Skittles. I really like Skittles. Is it OK if I pick the Skittles?" Or, he said to the kind stranger holding the candy bowl, "My mom wants me to get chocolate. Do you have any chocolate, maybe in your pantry?"
He had no idea that I was planning on stealing any candy from him. It would never occur to him that I'd want candy or play such a trick.
I seem to never learn the lesson that kids don't pick up on subtlety, irony, sarcasm, and jokes meant for the adults in the room. I made my daughter cry once when she saw me give an ice cream sandwich to her brother and to each of the 3 neighbor's kids and then asked "Can I have one too?" I said, "No. I'm giving ice cream sandwiches to all the other children but I'm going to give you onions for dessert." Even though I assured her I was joking and quickly handed over the ice cream, she cried again a few days later when she asked for dessert and I said, "Onions for dessert!" Kid cannot take a joke.
While other parents anxiously await their children to achieve milestones like tying shoes and learning to read, I'm waiting with baited breath for my kids to grasp sarcasm, trickery, and actually funny jokes. It was with no small amount of pride when I witnessed my 5-year-old lure our 2-year-old neighbor to the window with promises of a flying wolf outside, and then run to steal food off of the 2-year-old's plate. "Oh, the wolf must have flown away," crunch, crunch. Atta boy!