The Misadventures of Cheri

Mortifying my kids one swimsuit at a time

The Letter of the Law vs. the Spirit of the Law

on November 19, 2008

I was chatting on Facebook with my husband’s darling cousin, Kendra, yesterday. I love her so much that I now claim her as my own. I don’t put “husband’s” in front of cousin anymore. Oh that she didn’t live in New York! Oh that when she visited her parents in Seattle I could get my act together to go and see her! Oh that the name of my blog was “What is it NOW!!” just to be cute. Anyway, our conversation reminded me of one of my favorite stories about Tyler from his childhood.

The story I’m about to tell is, what I’m told, very typical of my husband as a child. What’s funny, is that it’s very, very typical of our son to this day. So typical in fact that I thought maybe his mother was telling a story about Austin.

When Tyler was three, his mother had what every parent dreads all year long. An over-active three year old and a Christmas tree. I know. Take a minute to let the shuddering stop if you have to. Betty had made it very clear to Tyler that he was NOT to touch the ornaments. He could look at the ornaments all the live long day, but he was not to touch even one of them.

Betty was feeling confident that Tyler would obey the “no touching ornaments” rule. So she headed down the hall to the bedroom because not only was she hugely pregnant, she also had an 16 month old daughter to tend to as well . . . . I don’t call her “Fertile Myrtle” for nothing. She said once she got to the bedroom she heard the most awful noise. Probably in the midst of changing a cloth diaper, she yelled to Tyler, “Are you touching the ornaments?” Her reply was the angelic and completely convinced of his innocence voice of my husband saying, “No, mama, I no touch dee orn’men. Ty no touch!”

But the noise got louder and louder until she finally had to run down the hall to see what the racket was. My husband, ever the obedient child, was, in fact, not touching any ornaments. He had stuck his entire arm in the tree, avoiding the ornaments, grabbed the trunk about half way up and was shaking the life out of the tree. But hey, Tyler figured he was in the clear because he wasn’t touching any ornaments.

I am convinced my husband and son should write a book. The title would be “How to Obey Without Really Obeying.” It would be a runaway best seller.


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