Plan Your Work, and Work Your Plan
Planning and situational awareness are important in any conflict. For this battle, it would be no different. Though I might have the experience of my thirty five years, an adult intellect, and the final say in any toy-purchasing decision, I was far from invulnerable. By using a downright brilliant tactic, my dear son, who still wears Iron Man pajamas and sleeps with a night light on, outwitted his own father, right before my eventually tear-filled eyes.
I'm at my favored position on the couch, optimally placed for surround sound. Various M-rated activities are on the screen. Bullets flying, blood everywhere, and the roar of explosions fill the room. Connor comes in to talk to me, standing to the side of the TV, where it seems, from my perspective, like he cannot see the screen. To further the illusion, the lad holds his hand up on the side of his face, as if to block the TV from his sight. He proceeds to ask me some random things, just general father son chitchat. I answer as best I can, most of my attention still focused on the game. This goes on for several minutes.
Then, my oldest son walks by, notices the situation, and begins to yell. "He's watching through the mirror! He can see it all!" Big brother has officially ratted Connor out. "You all think he's so innocent and he's just playing you!" Connor begins to laugh, maniacally, like some deranged mad scientist caught just before his plan to destroy the world comes to fruition. Perhaps the following diagram will shed some light into the inner workings of his devious mind.
Artist's representation of the events described
Quite impressive, isn't it? Everything about this encounter was rehearsed. He had pinpointed the exact place he could stand and look as if he was being a good boy and avoiding the screen, while at the same time, the mirror allowed him to see everything. I wonder if he had scripted out the exact topics he would discuss with me, in order to maximize his chances of viewing. In any event, his execution of the plan was flawless, and had it not been for his older sibling, he might still be using this method today.
This leaves me in an odd situation as a parent. On the one hand, I'm disappointed that Connor doesn't accept our rules for these games. On the other, I feel bad for even playing them at all if there's a chance he'll see. I must admit a tiny voice in the back of my head tells me I should be proud of my son's ingenuity and resourcefulness.
So what is a parent to do? The best answer is also the most difficult: be patient. Time is, after all, on your side. There was a time when my oldest son was banned from watching certain games, yet now, he's matured to the point where he can handle them. In the grand scheme of things, it won't be too much longer before Connor and I will be wading through the blood of fallen enemies or blowing up scores of zombies with a pipe bomb together. Part of me looks forward to that day very much; the other part wishes, against all reason, that he will stay eight years old forever.
After all, if he's this devious when he's in second grade, imagine what he'll be like when he's in high school!