Thanks to my very generous aunt and her husband in California, my parents brought along a lovely, 2-lb. box of See’s Chocolates for Christmas. If you’ve ever had See’s, you know how fortunate we are and you will probably also send cash for larger pants for all of us. [Please?]
Now, as you might imagine, a closed box of chocolates is incredibly tempting to a small child, never mind that it’s on the sideboard with dozens of visible homemade cookies and a snowman cake. It’s closed and therefore forbidden, and that’s all that matters when you’re four.
On Christmas night, Lyle, ignoring my increasingly annoyed requests to quit [the hell] playing with the box, knocked it to the floor during dinner. Somehow it made perfect sense that my father would take this as his cue to play the kindly grandparent who immediately opens the box and allows the little one to choose a chocolate. Curses! Foiled again! [And I’d just like to point out that if I’d thrown a box of chocolates to the floor when I was four, the same man would have probably at least suggested that I deserved a wallop to the rear end and sent me from the room, but such is the progression from parent to grandparent, and you gotta respect that.]
Lyle asked at breakfast today if he could have a chocolate. Between hidden mouthfuls of illicit gingerbread cookie and sips of coffee, I (ever the hypocritical parent) said, “No, let’s wait until after lunch.”
I left the room to use the bathroom a while later and when I returned I immediately noticed that the top of the See’s box was halfway off. The next time I saw Lyle I inspected his hands and face for signs of chocolate; there was none, but he couldn’t suppress his smirk.
“I was just checking to see if you had eaten chocolate this morning, Lyle. I was surprised to see the top of the box halfway off.”
He smiled bigger, and because he is getting sneaky but continues to be honest at all times, said, “Well, I was gonna sneak some, Mommy, but then I heard a creaky door!”
“Ah, I see. So you didn’t want to get caught, hmm?”
“Yes,” he said, still flashing me his sweetest grin and looking at me with his big brown imploring eyes.”Can I have one?”
I laughed. “Listen,” I said, “come over here.” I opened the box and found the smallest one that seemed easy enough to break in half. “We’ll share one.” His joy knew no bounds as we shared an ooey gooey caramel chocolate at 7:30 AM.
After a bit he looked at the box and pointed to the word ‘See’s’. “Mommy?” he said sweetly, “Now I know why they’re called ‘See’s’. It’s because you should just see if you could have one, and not try to sneak one!”
I left the table thankful that some kind of moral had come out of that exchange, because I was pretty certain that I had just been a major Christmas pushover.