When you have little kids, it\’s kind of hard to tell where exactly on the intelligence continuum your children are. I mean, I don\’t really hang out with a lot of three year olds (unless I\’m buying them beer) so I\’m not sure whether my son is smart compared to another three year old, or smart compared to cauliflower.
But there\’s one thing that he does that just kills me, and has me completely convinced he has a career as a lawyer ahead of him. Right now, we\’re trying to potty train him. And as \”incentive\” to tell Mommy or Daddy that he has to go potty, we offer jellybeans as a reward. (The burning him with cigarettes as punishment for pooping his pants didn\’t seem to work well.) The rule is: tell Mommy or Daddy that you have to go on the toilet, and you get two jellybeans, payable upon washing your hands afterwards.
Naturally, once the pants are off and he\’s squatting on the can, the negotiating process begins. \”I get five jellybeans,\” he announces, knowing he has to start high, to get me to up my offer. \”Two is the rule,\” I say. \”Okay, four jellybeans,\” he retorts. I\’m telling you, in a past life this kid had to be running a Turkish bazaar. But it\’s just so cute, it\’s impossible not to give in. I have to admit, I have occasionally caved and upped my offer to three jellybeans, because when he looks at you with those big eyes while crapping, it really tugs at the heartstrings.
But this is why I\’m convinced his negotiating skills are going to lead him to be a good lawyer. In effect, when he\’s on the toilet, he\’s \”passing a bar\” anyway. Although when he finally is serving as U.S. Solicitor General and arguing cases before the Supreme Court, he may need to refine his tactics a little:
CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: \”Mr. Schneider – exactly what constitutional principle is your client invoking when he asserts his right to publicly offer \’mustache rides for five cents?\’\”
SOLICITOR GENERAL SCHNEIDER: (Pulls down pants, squats in the middle of chamber, looks at the Chief Justice with sad eyes and quivering lip) \”Chief Justice Roberts, I will gladly answer that question for five jellybeans.\”
CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: \”I only have four here, and one of those is a black licorice jellybean. And as the Court ruled in 2013, black jellybeans don\’t really count as regular ones.\”
As a side note, we had to go to the grocery store this morning to pick up more jellybeans (the Starburst kind, which are outstanding), and as we wheeled through the store, he would hold up the bag and announce to whoever passed by that \”THESE JELLYBEANS ARE FOR MY POTTY TRAINING.\” Some people seemed annoyed, but others appreciated knowing the true purpose of the jellybeans. As a result, I think I am now going to announce why I\’m buying certain products to everyone in the store. I\’ll walk by people and yell \”I\’M BUYING THIS SOAP, BECAUSE QUITE OFTEN, I SMELL BAD,\” or \”I\’M BUYING THIS JACK DANIELS BECAUSE MY DAD DIDN\’T COME TO ENOUGH OF MY LITTLE LEAGUE GAMES.\”
Incidentally, as far as potty training goes, we have now been accident-free for two straight days. Or, I should say, \”he\” has been. Daddy is still hit-or-miss.