Son blows whistle on dad

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 19, 2010

Watching my 17-month old grow and conquer new obstacles each day is intoxicating. There isn’t an evening that goes by that I don’t marvel at how this tiny human learns how to meet and master new challenges.

Some concepts are easy to grasp. Gibson knows where his mouth, eyes and ears are, for example. Other concepts are more nuanced. Gibson is just beginning to understand the difference between right and wrong and what’s fair and unfair.

Clearly he has a clue: When he grabs hold of that pen he has been told is off-limits, Gibson quickly scurries away hoping to escape from adult hands he knows will reclaim the pen. When he pokes at the cat, he checks to see if Mom and Dad are looking.

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Even though he is learning how to push boundaries and test limits, I can’t help but smile at his resourcefulness, even when it comes at the expense (or the embarrassment) of dad.

Just such a thing happened a couple of weeks ago at his grandmother’s house.

A delightful benefit of my marriage is that my mother-in-law is a great cook and always prepared for the unexpected guest or hopeful and hungry son-in-law.

I rarely pass up the opportunity to do a survey of her kitchen when I come by for a visit. I review the stove, the kitchen island and peek inside the cookie jar for any delectable morsels that might be lying around.

I conducted an inspection a couple of weeks ago, when Gibson and I made a late morning visit.

As my son rushed to his grandmother’s open arms, I spied a bunch of banana muffins warming on the stove.

Being so close to noon, I knew I would have to be discrete reaching out for a quick snack lest I alert Gibson in the process. I knew the muffin would ruin his appetite for lunch.

As Gibson followed his grandmother doing errands around the house, I quietly backed into the kitchen to sneak a bite.

Not worried about my own appetite, I reached for a muffin and took one big bite.

Just as soon as I wiped away the crumbs from my mouth, I looked down to see my son begging for a bite.

“No,” I said as he tugged on my pants leg. Undeterred, Gibson whimpered and bounced up and down looking up to the stove.

“It’s too close to lunch,” I implored as I nudged him out the kitchen door.

As he toddled into the den, I returned to the stove for a few more quick bites.

As I finished my second muffin, I once again heard footsteps approaching the kitchen.

This time Gibson was tugging on his grandmother and pointing his finger my direction.

I tried to look innocent as I swallowed the last bite, but my own son had turned me in to the authority. Gibson clearly made it known to his grandmother his dad’s duplicitous dealings.

“If dad can have a muffin, I can have one too,” I am certain Gibson was thinking at the moment.

“If dad has a pen, I can too.”

“If dad has an iphone, I can too.”

I can hear the arguments running through his head.

I guess this is just the beginning of teaching and learning for the both of us.

Ben Hillyer is the web editor of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3540 or by e-mail at