In our house, you get to choose what’s for dinner on your birthday. Above all else, Sarah loves duck magret, and begs for it frequently. Duck is delicious, but it is also very expensive, and as such, reserved for fancy. This year for her birthday, Sarah requested duck. Her birthday happened to fall on an especially busy day of child-related activities which did not leave me time to shop or prep in advance. And so we went out for sushi, and I issued and IOU.
Life ensued, Passover intervened, and three weeks later I still owed her duck. On Friday night I decided to make good on my promise. She has been very much aggrieved over the last few weeks that I hadn’t paid my debt, so I wanted to surprise her. Sarah hates surprises, so I knew this would cause her some mental anguish, but I figured she would be so pleased when she learned what was for dinner that it was worth making her squirm a little.
She knew something was up when I would not tell her what was for dinner, and David and I banished her from the kitchen to whisper conspiratorily about menus, and shopping lists. Supremely uncomfortable with not knowing what it was, Sarah declared that she would accompany David to the market. I countered that I would go the market with David. I did it in part because the thrill of leaving our children alone in the house may never wear off, but also because I didn’t want to deal with the relentless nagging about what daddy was buying at the supermarket.
We drove to the market, and it was just like an old-fashioned date, the kind we had when we were childless, and had nothing better to do with our infinite free time than to go marketing together. While we were on line I got a call from home. I figured Sarah was just wondering what was taking us so long, and was surprised to hear an anguished tone in her voice.
Sarah: Mommy, I did something really bad, and I feel very guilty about it, so I need to tell you what it is.
Sarah: A few weeks ago, I was watching over your shoulder and I now know what the pass code on your iPad is. And I knew you and Daddy were planning something, and I couldn’t stand it, because you know how much I hate surprises, and I knew you were looking at recipes before you left, and NOW I KNOW THAT WE’RE HAVING DUCK FOR DINNER. And I’m really, really, really sorry, but you should also know that I was so excited when I saw what you were making, and also you would have been so happy if you’d seen the look on my face when I found out, I actually screamed, and so I’m really happy, but I FEEL SO GUILTY!
She paused for breath, and I laughed. She composed herself, and continued, in her normal tone of voice, “And I think you should change your passcode.”
I couldn’t really be mad — it was such a minor offense, and the only reason I have a pass code on is to keep Sacha from playing Angry Birds whenever the fuck he wants. I was very proud of her for being honest, and pleased that she trusts me enough to confess her sins without fear of divine retribution.
And so I told her that as her punishment, she had to let me blog this. She countered that she would have editorial approval, and I denied the motion. And now, we are even.