One year when the kids were young (maybe 3, 6, 8 and 10) we were on our way down to the US for a two day trip. Our morning schedule to leave was very tight, and not wanting to fall into the usual pitfalls of having young children, I sat down the three boys and very seriously explained that they were going to help get ready. They were do as I said, exactly as I said, and nothing else. Three little heads bobbed up and down in agreement.
"Go and get two pair of pants, and put them into your knapsack." Off they scurried to comply.
"Now get two t-shirts and put them in your bag." Instant obedience.
"Two pairs of underwear."
"Two pairs of socks."
"One pair of pyjamas." Back and forth they went, strictly adhering to my instructions.
"A book and something to do in the car."
Yup - I was winning at this parenting thing.
Meanwhile I had packed away everything else you need for a road trip with young children - DVDs, Juliette's special diet, our clothes, Juliette's clothes, a bed rail, snacks, pillows and blankets for the car...in it all went. And when I turned around and everything was ready...we were early. Oh yes, I should probably write a book about this, I thought.
"Into the car!" was the last order and one, two, three, four in they went. We pulled out and were on our way.
Just as we were pulling up to the US border, I turned around to give that lecture to the kids - the one that goes "don't say or do anything!" so that we will sail right through. And just for good measure, I added "But if they do tell us to get out, just quietly get out of the car and follow Mom and Dad-"
"But I'm not wearing any shoes."
"I'm sorry - what did you say?" I ask my 8 year old.
"I'm not wearing any shoes."
"How can you not be wearing any shoes? How did you get into the car-"
"I'm not wearing any shoes either," pipes up the six-year old.
This is the part where I nearly lose my mind.
"Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me?" I don't even know what to say.
"Well, you told us to do exactly what you said, and you never told us to get on our shoes."
Mouth drops. Speechless.
He got me there.