Saturday, September 18, 2010


A few months ago, Diana was trying in vain to entertain Elijah at the Evanston library. Suddenly, a (these are Diana’s words) completely nerdy 5 year old latched on to our son. He suggested they play “Spy.” Not knowing what a spy was or how one plays it, Elijah immediately accepted the invitation.

Diana, seeing an opportunity to not have to constantly entertain the boy, let Eli go off with the nerdling. What Diana didn’t know is playing “Spy” involved the nerdling proclaiming Diana their boss. Which meant she had to send them off on missions.

At first, she was into it. “Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to find me a monkey wearing a sweater. An argyle sweater.”

But after a while, she became bored with her role as mission giver outer and started phoning it in. “Uh, find me a book. Or not. I don’t care.”

The nerdling whined that Diana wasn’t fulfilling her job as spy boss. Diana told him it would take one phone call for him to get reassigned to a listening outpost in Siberia.

But the spy game had an affect on Elijah. He loves being assigned missions at the house. “What’s my mission? What’s my mission?”

We’ve found this to be a great distraction tool on long road trips. Where his missions exclusively involve finding things in the passing scenery.

Given the fact that his viewing radius is roughly 2X2 feet from his carseat, we make it fairly easy for him. I look ahead a block or so and spot a bicyclist or a Target store or anything else that will pass directly in front of his face roughly 2 seconds later.

It ever ceases to amaze him that the thing I just asked him to locate just happens to be right under his nose.

But, like the library, his ability to keep asking to play the world’s easiest game doesn’t ebb.

“What’s my mission? What’s my mission?”

So after the second straight hour, we get into the “Find me a black car” phase.

“Find me a black car.”

“Found one! What’s my mission?”

“Find me a…white car.”

“Found one! What’s my mission? What’s my mission? What’s my mission? What’s my mission?”

Then comes the cheerful suggestion that we play “Who can stay quiet the longest?”

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