Spuddy Buddy, like any respectable seven year old boy, grew weary of all the incessant errands we ran yesterday, and like any respectable seven year old boy who is weary of errands, he got in a little Trouble With Mamadah at semi-regular intervals throughout the day.
Spuddy doesn't like to be In Trouble With Mamadah. (You probably wouldn't either.)
At bedtime last night, I could tell he was feeling a little down about the whole day. Knowing I had pushed him pretty hard all day, I felt it would be merciful to lighten things up a little before sending him off to dreamland. So after we went through the usual story-and-prayer-and-sometimes-a-hymn routine, I said, "Okay, big fella, we've had quite a day and I think we need to go over a few rules."
He looked dismayful. "Okay, Mamadah."
"First of all, you are NOT to throw snowballs here in your room."
"HUH?" He look genuinely confused.
"I mean it. I don't care how much it snows in here, you know better than to throw any kind of balls in this house. NO SNOWBALLS. Got that?"
"Umm... (giggling tentatively) yes ma'am." He stared at me quizzically whilst I somehow maintained a stern face.
"Okay, another thing that's bothering me: From now on, you keep horses out of here. This is just not the place for them."
I should mention here that a) we don't have any horses, and b) have never let horses in the house. Just so you'll know. He was getting big belly ha ha giggles at this point.
"And another thing -- and this is what concerns me most, young man -- if those penguins come in here again tonight, DO NOT SPEAK TO THEM."
"PENGUINS? Huh huh. What penguins? Hee hee heee."
"Don't tell me you haven't seen them. I'm not kidding, DO NOT speak to them. Now get to sleep before they show up so they won't be inclined to speak to you. You don't want to be rude if you can avoid it."
He was gasping for air at that point. I sang him a folk song to settle him back down, with him shaking from suppressed giggles every few bars. In the silence that followed the song, his breathing began to settle into a rhythm, and I thought he might be asleep.
But then several minutes later he whispered, "Mamadah? You were kidding weren't you?"
I whispered back, "Get to sleep so you don't have to find out."
He giggled a little and went straight to sleep. And you know what? He didn't speak to any penguins all night. Such a good boy.