Yesterday, after I got home from work, I pulled the garbage cans in from the front street and put them on the side of the house. I decided to take a quick walk to the back of the house just to see what condition the back yard was in and found my oldest son's shoes and socks in the middle of the yard. Now I'd like to say that this surprised me, but it didn't because he has a tendency to leave his shoes and socks wherever he happens to be when he takes them off. So, I picked them up and turned around to go back around to the front of the house to go inside. My oldest had apparently heard that I was home (the noise from the garage door opening is the general clue for them) and came out looking for me.
When I saw him, I said, "Take your shoes inside. It's supposed to rain tomorrow."
His reply? Referring to the weathermen, he said, "They don't always get it right, Dad."
"Well, you still shouldn't leave them in the middle of the yard," I explained, "because even if it doesn't rain the sprinklers will go off."
His reply to that? He rolled his eyes at me! Now, at what age does a child learn that kind of behavior? Clearly, it happens before a child turns eight -- but it caught me flat-footed yesterday. The only thing that was lacking in his demeanor was an utterance of, "Whatever!" and his hand held up with his palm facing me in a "stop talking to me" position.
Compare that to my daughter. This morning she got up early and headed to the bathroom. I was just getting ready to leave for work and normally everybody is still asleep when I do. Nevertheless, since she was up, I decided to go tell her goodbye. Here's how the conversation went:
"I'm on my way to work."
"You are?" she asked, incredulously. "It's so early!"
"Yes, it is."
"You must be tired," she said, empathetically.
"Yes, I'm very tired."
"It must be a long way to work!"
"Yes, it is. See you later!"
She sure hit on a lot of truths in that brief interchange. It was very early (it always is when I go to work), I was very tired (I still am, and can't ever seem to catch up), and it is a long way to work (it takes me about an hour each way).
They're funny kids.