Outsmarted

Reprinted from the 5/28/14 edition of The Platte County Landmark

I guess it’s a rite of passage for all fathers with their sons –the day the son finally bests the elder in some way. I just never thought it would come so early.

So let’s back up here and let me explain a few things to start. Every year, the boy and I take a yearly “Mother’s Day trip” which is code for “Boy’s weekend away so Mom has a weekend to herself.”

The boy’s weekend normally consists of a trip around Memorial Day weekend, eating junk food, pizza, soda pop, staying in hotels, swimming and watching lots of baseball. We’ve been to Omaha to see the AAA Stormchasers, we’ve been to Northwest Arkansas to see the AA Naturals and this year we chose Lexington, Kentucky to see the A league Lexington Legends.

As Brett, age 11, continues to mature, he enjoys the trips less and less. If given a choice, he’d probably enjoy a weekend locked in the basement playing video games. But he will look back on these vacations fondly someday and I absolutely love them. They are the weekend of the year as far as I am concerned.

Brett is growing up so quickly. This will be our final trip before he enters middle school. When I was his age, I hated middle school so I know he’ll be in for some challenges. But these three or four days provide a great time to talk, laugh and did I mention eat junk food?

Anyway, we don’t have a lot of rules on these trips – really only one – that we try something new every trip. Brett’s not the most outgoing at first and he is a finicky eater. He’s at the stage where everything on his plate needs to resemble a chicken McNugget AND not touch anything else on his plate. This morning, we went to a diner and ordered two eggs, bacon and a biscuit. We’re in Kentucky, so everything was covered in gravy. His head about exploded.

To combat this, I made a rule several trips ago that he HAS to try something new every trip. And on this venture, I upped that number to THREE things. Over four days, this really only meant he’d have to take a bite of grits or a mushroom or, god forbid, a vegetable of some sort. He didn’t get a vote, so off we went.

At dinner the first night, I was determined to get this “try something” form of torture a test right off the bat. I ordered crab stuffed mushrooms at the restaurant. Brett, ever the future lawyer or politician, said, “What if I got a veto for these?” This seemed logical, really. So I said, “How many do you want?” Brett had a wink in his eye and said “Three seems right. I’d like three vetoes.”

Okay, so we shook on it and I launched my first salvo knowing that I’d have many more opportunities. “Alright, crab stuffed mushrooms. First bite.”

“Veto.”

And then it hit me. I had three attempts to get him to attempt something new. I had then been tricked into giving him an equal amount of vetoes. I had been checkmated. By an 11-year-old.
I sat there slackjawed. Stupefied. How did he do that? How did I fall for it?

One thing is for certain, it probably won’t be the last time I’m one-upped (or three vetoed) by my son. But the trip was still amazing.

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