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Mama's gonna buy you a mockingbird

Chris's birthday is next Wednesday (which, be sure to stop by then, because I have a fun birthday game planned), and it's one of those that is divisible by 5 and therefore requires a slightly better than normal gift. At least to my mind. I've had the gift in mind for months, and two weeks ago I scheduled a meeting for yesterday that just happened to be near a store where I could acquire said gift, so I had it all worked out. Go to my meeting, go birthday shopping, make it home in plenty of time to hide the evidence, forget to wrap it until three minutes before he gets home on his birthday. But, as I was explaining this plan to Mia at dinner on Sunday night, I realized it had a fatal flaw. I was taking Mia with me. Mia is a snitch.

I mean, she's 2, right? She can't help it. But when it was my birthday, Chris took her (and me, whatever) to Target to let her pick out the decorations and he told her not to tell me and it took all of four minutes for her to let it slip that she had chosen Elmo plates. And it is at least partly our fault. At dinner every night, we ask Mia to tell Chris what we did that day. She used to just stare blankly at him and then demand more grapes, but these days she is pretty good at it. She can tell him that we went to storytime and what the stories were about and who we saw there. Sure, sometimes she tells him what we did three days ago, but she's more or less accurate. I couldn't see any way out of it. I had to take Mia with me, there were at least even odds that she would recognize what I bought, and if she did there was about a 90% chance that she would tell Daddy all about it at dinner. I decided there was really nothing I could do other than warn Chris that if she told, he would be receiving his gift a week and a half early. There are worse things, I suppose, but I have been planning this one for quite a while and I was a little bummed about it.

But, she hasn't told him. At least, not yet. Possibly that's because I was diabolically clever and forced the sales guy to use a code word ("puppy") rather than ever mentioning the item by name. And maybe it's because I told Mia we were buying Daddy a puppy, which I admit is slightly cruel to the child, but looking for the puppy did serve as a good distraction from what was really going on. I suspect, however, that the kid is just smarter than we think. Not smart enough to keep a secret, which she just doesn't have the ability to do at this point. Just smart enough to understand that sure, Daddy gave her $5 to tell him what we bought, but Mommy gave her $10 to keep it quiet. She certainly no stranger to the concept of bribery - we used to pay her to sleep through through the night - but hush money was a new one. She's discovered a whole new source of income.

Comments (19)

I'm intrigued!

When one of my sisters was 3 she kind of started to understand the secret concept, but she would still tell you what she got, such as 'Katherine, I didn't get you a pen for your birthday'.

OOOOOOOOO now I am excited to find out what Chris is getting for his birthday this year.... If I give me $15.00 do you think she'll spill the beans?

Not just a pretty face! Way to work it Mia!

That is too funny! Garrett likes to whisper what the surprise is and then remind the recipient "but shhhh, don't tell - it's supposed to be a seeeeee-cret".

My husband got up early (4 am) the day after Thanksgiving to hit one store for one item that was really reduced in price. It took my oldest son (who is 11) less than 24 hours to fall into a trap I set and spill the beans. I was looking through the BedBathBeyond sale ad and saw the coupon and thought outloud I'll just get a frother myself (for my chai teas/lattes) - now that I have this $5 off coupon - apparently my husband bought a gadget that does more than just froth and my son could not help but grin and make crazy eyes at this dad across the room.

bribery really is the best.
seriously.

I love this age! ;)

Matthew told his grandmother and grandfather exactly what he picked out for them for Christmas on the phone the other day. Even my husband could not remember what Matthew picked out and came to me to ask if he has been accurate - Matthew was 100% accurate of course! It was quite humorous but still... I like the puppy diversion no worse than telling your child his nose will fall off if he picks it (you can thank my husband for that wisdom...)

Heh. When my brother was 3 or 4, he picked out a Christmas ornament of a gingerbread star as a present for my mom. When we got home, Mom asked him what we'd done, and when he said he'd gotten her a Christmas present she asked him what it was. Without hesitation, he said, "a brown star."

My dad was mortified that he'd spilled the beans, but my mom had NO idea what he was talking about, and was kept guessing right up until she opened the gift on Christmas day.

Kids will snitch, but sometimes it works out anyway. I'll keep the fingers crossed that she either keeps quiet or when she tells him, it'll be in a way that only makes sense if you already know what it is.

I thought for sure you were going to say that you told her it was a "bumblebee toy"....

Kids are such miniature Donald Trumps, it's not even funny. I remember when I was younger, but still substantially that much older than my little brother to have some spare cash from my part-time job, I paid him not to tell on me to my mom on numerous occasions. Smart little things, aren't they? How come we haven't caught on to this?

Unless Mia figures out your code and tells Chris that 'Mommy got you a puppy for your birthday...BUT IT'S REALLY A DIRT BIKE!!!!', then Mia and Chris high-five each other and you're screwed.

Is it a dirt bike?

That's great that she's keeping the secret! You're so sneaky with the bribery and all :P

One of my kids (the youngest daughter) was my shopping buddy and she never told anyone what they were getting. From the time she was very small, even Mia's age, she would love surprising everyone else. She's never changed.

I think this is exciting. I'm guessing Chris is the same age as my eldest son is going to be in a couple of weeks. We have lots of December birthdays in our family!

I still can't keep a secret, but no one is paying me to try and keep quiet.

I'm TOTALLY missing out on a cash opportunity. Damn.

Way to go Mia!

Can't wait to hear what it really is.

What, we don't even get a HINT??!! PUHLEEEEEZE???
;-)

Hope the luck holds... good job with the code word!

I say it a lot, and it's worth repeating. I want to parent JUST LIKE YOU.

She's two and she can figure out the difference between a $5 bill and a $10? You have a gifted child. Or a sneaky one...

If it isn't a surprise Chris can always get "the trifecta"

~Jef

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So the Fish Said...

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