My sons like to play a game at the dinner table. One of the boys picks a topic, like fruit or dessert, and we each take turns naming our favorite. It was my son’s turn to name his favorite Halloween costume when he asked my wife, “Mommy, who’s that guy…that red guy?”
Stacie said, “What red guy?”
As my son held one finger to his forehead and moved his other hand up and down like he was jabbing a spear in the air, he said, “You know. The red guy…with the fork!”
My wife said, “Oh. You mean the Devil.”
With a wide smile, my son said, “Yeah, yeah! I want to be the Devil!”
My sons’ revelation did not surprise me. There have been times when I swear he was evil incarnate. When he was a toddler, his tantrums were spectacular. His screams would have made a banshee blush. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, he’ll crawl into our bed and wake me up. Just when I am about to fall back to sleep, Lucifer must whisper into his ear, “Do it! Dot it now! Knee him in the kidney!” For Halloween, he didn’t want to be Luke or Han. He wanted to be Darth Vader.
For the most part, he is a sweet and thoughtful child. He no longer melts down. He always looks out for his younger brother. We can’t get near a homeless person without my son pestering me for a dollar so that he can give it to the person in need. Besides, as a kid, Luke and Han weren’t my favorite Star Wars characters either. I liked Boba Fett. Boba Fett wasn’t good or evil – he was just in it for the money. My son’s twin brother can relate.
The other twin loves trains, construction cones, and his bike. But his most prized possession is his piggybank. He rarely spends the money he has collected from the tooth fairy, or from rifling through our couch cushions. I’m happy he’s a saver, but his desire to fill his piggybank is bordering on maniacal.
A few years ago, I was reading a book in our living room, when I heard a blood curdling scream from upstairs. I thought, “Oh no. The banshee is back.”
I dashed upstairs to find my son on his knees huddled over his upturned piggybank, a couple of dollar bills, and a pile of coins that he had scattered on the ground. He looked up at me with teary eyes and said, “My flat money! It’s gone!”
He pointed at his twin, who was standing across the room shaking his head, and yelled, “He stole it!”
Flat money is my son’s expression for dollar bills. He had lost six teeth and only two bills remained. He was accusing his brother of stealing the money that the tooth fairy had left him. My other son was holding his transparent plastic piggybank and the number of dollar bills inside exceeded the number of teeth he had lost.
With his wide eyes magnified by his glasses, my son did not look the picture of innocence. But he said, “It wasn’t me. I didn’t do it! Grandy gave me some of this money.”
He solidified his defense when he said, “I save my money. He spends his!”
My son had a point. Whereas he is a saver, his brother, whether through charity or buying the first toy that catches his eye at CVS, is more than willing to part with his money.
Instead of holding an inquiry and hurling potentially false accusations, I defused the situation by reminding my upset son that he had spent some of his money on toys. I told him it was okay, and that if he saved, it wouldn’t be long before his flat money returned. I also gave both my little devils some heavenly advice – thou shall not steal, nor covet thy brother’s piggybank.