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The Dark Side of Four

Last week my mom had Bryce come over to spend the night, and Quinn was outraged at the injustice. "Next week it will be your turn," we told him. "My turn? Next week I get to go to Megama's house and Bryce stays here with you?" How many times have we heard this question over the past seven days? I lost count on day one, let's leave it at that. Today was the day of reckoning: The Day Of Quinn's Turn. When my mom showed up to load him into her car along with his six dozen required dog pillows and blankets, his face was beaming, his body was twisting, and he couldn't get out of the house fast enough: "Bye!! It's my turn!! I'm going to Megama's now! See ya later!" No separation anxiety here.

John had a session tonight, so that meant Bryce and I had an evening to ourselves. I asked him if he wanted to go eat dinner somewhere, and he named the place that serves his favorite chips and queso. I told him to get his shoes so we could go and he said, "well, how 'bout you just play with me for a while? That's what I want." I suggested Candy Land in an effort to avoid my pet peeve of pet peeves, role playing. Bryce LOVES role playing. That's the only way he's ever played. For four years. I thought Candy Land would entice him since we can never play it when Quinn is around unless we want all of the colorful gingerbread gamepieces to be flung across the room in a fit of rage when we refuse to let Quinn throw the game cards into the trash can. Bryce's response when I brought it up was, "well, how about we play MY game first, and THEN we can play Candy Land." HIS game, the FIRST game that we had to play turned out to be the DREADED game of role playing:
"You be Princess Spotty
and I'll be Super Noir and pretend that this evil ball came and stole everything out of your castle and you need Super Noir to save the day." Oh, what the hell?, I thought, I'll just go along with the kid, let's see where this thing goes.

I started to notice a trend with Bryce tonight. As Princess Spotty, I asked Super Noir to retrieve my stolen pet dragon and horse, and also my bridge. After Super Noir was done, I tried to spin things into a positive light: "Let's have a party to celebrate the safe return of my pets!" Bryce immediately turned to the darker side of the story: "NO! The evil ball has to go to jail. Pretend you have a jail in the castle and make him go there!" Uh, okay. Well this could be a good lesson - consequences and all that. After a few minutes Bryce said, "Pretend it's been a year and the evil ball's sentence is over. "Okay. Evil ball, did you learn your lesson? No more kidnapping, right? Okay, you're free to go. Now, NOW we can have a party to celebrate!" Bryce was concerned about the party but he had a plan: "Well, okay. But if any bad guys try to come down the chimney, the dragon can just blow a fire into the fireplace so the bad guys will get burned and have to run away!" Man, this kid is bringing me down. I decided the "game" was over and it was time for dinner.

After dinner Bryce and I went for a walk. On Fridays at his school, his class watches a movie, and apparently today the movie was about dinosaurs. More specifically, as I found out while listening to him repeat himself ad infinitum, it was a fictional movie, because apparently humans were involved and were involved to the point that they were killing the dinosaurs. Wha...? Like the kid isn't obsessed with heavy, depressing things enough as it is?? He kept saying, "those poor dinosaurs, I can't believe those people killed them, I can't believe they're dead." I finally said, "Bryce, you know people weren't around when the dinosaurs were. They aren't extinct because of people. That was just a movie, it wasn't real."

I. AM. AN. IDIOT. What exactly did I expect to get out of this conversation? Did I think through my statement? Why can't I be like other parents who say, "hey, how about a cookie?!" when they want to distract their child from unpleasantries? During our walk, because of my STUPIDITY, Bryce started asking for specifics about how exactly the dinosaurs did go extinct. "Well, scientists aren't sure," I said. "One theory is that there was a huge asteroid that hit the earth and caused a huge cloud of dust and debris to block the sunlight. The earth's temperature changed and the dinosaurs couldn't survive."

Questions I've been answering since I opened my big mouth:

What are asteroids?
How big are asteroids?
Is the dust cloud still there?
Why do asteroids fly through space?
Do we know where they are?
Do we know if one's coming?
What if I were a T-rex and an asteroid hit me?
Will an asteroid hit our house?
If an asteroid hit our house, would we be hurt?
What if it was just a little asteroid and it only hit the grass?

While playing Princess Spotty and wondering why my kid always turns things into scary, sad, or negative experiences, I must have forgotten that HIS MOTHER CAUSES EVERY BIT OF IT. Luckily for both of us, Bryce actually doesn't seem to view any of this as negative or scary...more like, interesting. At the end of our dinner, he looked at me and said, "I'm glad Quinn's at Megama's. I really like it when it's just me and you. It's a lot more fun like this."

Fun. Dark, but fun.

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