I am not sure what started the discussion but I was in trouble – big, big trouble.
“What was I saying,” I began my train of thought again, “before I was so rudely interrupted by someone?”
“I had to tell y’all that. I finally had both of you together and had been holding that in all day,” my child said in his defense.
He’s a talker. Where he gets it from, I don’t know. For all I know, his father may be a Chatty Cathy and has hidden it all these years.
“Cole, you have to stop interrupting people when they are talking. It’s rude and disrespectful.”
And I know it’s important to him but I can be in the middle of discussing switching cell phone providers with Lamar and be interrupted by the rundown of his latest Minecraft experience.
“What I have to say is important,” he said, a tone of dogged determinedness in his voice.
“What I am saying is important too, Cole,” I replied. “You got in trouble if you interrupted your teacher in school; same principle applies with me. So, please be quite.”
I took a breath to re-start my earlier conversation. “I can’t remember what I was even talking about before.”
“So I get to talk!” Cole announced.
I sighed. He launched into the recap of the last episode of Stampy Cat verbatim.
“Cole, I really need to talk to your father about something.”
“I’m still talking,” he said.
“Cole, I need to tell your father something. So you need to wait please.”
His lips pursed in protest.
I got maybe four words out before he said. “I have rights, you know.”
“I have rights,” he declared again. “I may be a child, but I have rights. MLK died for my rights.”
“Martin Luther King Jr. died for civil rights.”
“That’s what you’re violating – my civil rights.”
“You don’t have any civil rights; you’re a child.”
“That’s what you think. I may be a child, but I am a human – a civil human. And I have rights.”
“Only if I say you do.”
“I have rights and you know it. Can you vote?” he asked.
“What? What does that have to do with the fact I am the boss, applesauce?”
When losing a battle of wits with a child, it always helps to restore balance to the natural order of things by using the “I’m the boss, applesauce” rhyme. Kids can’t argue with rhymes. It would disrespect Dr. Seuss.
“Just answer my question -can you vote?”
“Alright, then. At one time, you couldn’t vote.”
“Not until I was 18. I was considered a child.” I tried to emphasize the child.
“Before that. Women couldn’t vote. Just like other groups of people were not allowed certain rights and freedoms. Children are those people too. I am franchise child.”
“You mean disenfranchised?”
“Whatever it is. But children have rights and you are violating my rights.”
“You are violating my rights by being rude and interrupting me all the time, Cole. I never get to say a whole…”
“How can you say you have rights and I don’t? Does that make sense to you?”
“Because. You are a child. I am the parent. I set the rules, you follow them.”
That did not sit well with this child of mine.
“I am going to start my own children’s rights movement then,” he announced. “I think children have rights – we should not be shushed when we want to talk, we should not have bed times that happen when the sun is still out, and we should not have to take showers – yeah, I said it – showers every day. If we want to be dirty, we can be dirty. If we want Dairy Queen for all of our meals, we should have it. It is time children had someone to be their voice. But, first, I am going to need a snack and a beverage. All this thinking and organizing has made me hungry. So where do y’all want to take me to eat?”
My child, the future leader of the children’s rights movement, was going to need a snack before he got started.
Lamar, who had been silent through the whole thing, glanced at me.
“All this, just because you got your britches twisted about him interrupting me. You’re gonna go down in history as the cause of the children’s rights movements. You should have just let the child talk.”
I sighed. Of course, the mother would be blamed. Maybe after organizing the children’s movement, he could start a mother’s rights one as well.
He was already asking me if I would handle the marketing for him.
Maybe I should have just let the child talk.