As part of the birthday festivities, I told Aaron and Max that they could each pick out one book to give to Bradley. (I have an ever-growing stash of books purchased for next-to-nothing that I keep on hand for just such a purpose as this.)
Now, I must confess, I already had it in my head which two books I wanted them to choose: a touch-and-feel puppies book (because Bradley is in love with dogs) and What Does Baby Say?, a board book by Karen Katz (because anytime we read anything by her, Bradley laughs at every page).
And so I tried to rig the book selection.
Um, yeah, you read that right.
See, I wanted them to feel like they were getting a choice...without actually giving them a choice.
So I purposely threw in two other books I knew they'd have no interest in: Guess How Much I Love You (a classic, but not one my boys are enraptured with) and Gossie and Gertie (cute, but easily glanced over). I set out all four books and called Aaron into my bedroom to make his "choice." (Bwahaha.)
Immediately, he went for the book about dogs. "Bradley loves dogs, doesn't he?" I hinted. Aaron moved on. Painstakingly, he went through each book page by careful page.
Suddenly he stopped, in the midst of Gossie and Gertie. "Look! There's a spider!" And he pointed to a teeny, tiny, minuscule spider, a mere dot on the page. I could have smacked myself in the forehead.
Sure enough, five minutes later, he came to me with Gossie and Gertie. "I'm going to give this one to Bradley. It has two spiders in it!" (He found another one later on.)
"Oh? Because Bradley loves spiders?" I questioned innocently. "I thought Bradley loved dogs. Shouldn't you choose the book you think Bradley will like best?"
And this is where the real battle began.
"Well, I like it, and so I'm giving it to him."
"But I just don't know that it's the one Bradley will like. You should think about him first."
"Then why was it in the pile?" And Aaron fixed me with a hard, probing look. I was caught. Why, indeed? Aaron continued, "It's my choice, and this is the one I choose."
Much as I hated to admit defeat to a four-year-old, his reasoning was beyond argument. You cannot imagine what a kick Mike was getting out of this whole episode. Every time he walked past me, he gave me a knowing smirk. He was delighted at my being caught in my own trap.
I showed the three remaining books to Max and held my breath. Bless his heart, he immediately chose the one about puppies. At least one boy in this family thinks like me.