playing with the big boys

If you want to work with the big boys, you have to wear the clothes, as our three-year-old grandson knows.

For a week he pulled on a fedora, clipped a tie to his T-shirt, grabbed a pad of paper and stuffed pens in his pocket and put on his heavy shoes so he could stomp around importantly thrusting his head first looking for things because, “I am an investigator, I have to talk with people and then draw pictures about what they say.”

For the week-long summer kids program, he topped off his attire on Monday with a magician’s hat, telling everyone, “I’m a wizard.”

Two days he dressed as a fireman with the red jacket, red shoes, red hat, stethoscope, fireman’s rain coat and a badge. He carried a big tool box, because, “I have to have a lot of tools to help people who have an emergency.”
Another day he went as a cowboy wearing chaps, a tool belt for his gun holster, a vest and a cowboy badge and cowboy hat.

He finished out trying out the big boy jobs wearing Christmas pajama pants, red shirt, red clip on tie, red bandana (he could not find a Santa hat) and carried around a black bag. “I am Santa Claus. I give toys to other people.” But mostly he pulled out his encyclopedia book and read stories about dinosaurs to people.
If you want to party with the big boys you have to pay your own way.
The pre-schooler earned enough money for his first trip to the Dollar Tree to purchase one item.

His parents took him to view all the things he could buy for a dollar.
He knew what he wanted, the chewable pirate teeth. His mom and dad pointed out 15-20 other things they thought he might like and asked him if he didn’t want that instead. He determinedly stuck with his preference and took it to the check-out lane. His parents watched from the sidelines.

The clerk looked down on a customer barely able to see over the conveyor belt.
“Is it my turn?” he looked up at her.
“Yes, now is when you put it up here,” she indicated the black counter, scanned his item and told him that would be $1.10.

He carefully opened his billfold, took his dollar and dime and handed it to her.
She slipped his purchase into a bag and handed it to him.
Glowing like a 1,000 watt light bulb he left the store with his first ever earned purchase.
By the next day, he had consumed nearly all of his candy and had only one comment to his mom, “why did you keep asking me if I wanted that?”

“Because it is not what I would have wanted,” she admitted.
If you want to play with the big boys, if you do the crime, you do the time.
Last week big brother broke a rule for polite living and was sent to in Time Out corner to reconsider his actions and choices. Taking it like a man, he trudged over to his time-out corner and sat down to wait out his sentence.
Over on the other side of the room, an almost two year-old baby his mom baby-sits stood up and screamed to declare his presence.
“Liam, we do not scream.”

Liam showed his budding independence, looked at the giant person telling him to stop, picked up a shoe and tossed it at her.
“Liam. We do not throw shoes. You need to go sit in time out.”
He did not go down easily, but the momma patrol captured him and sat him on a time-out stool.
Watching all this with total fascination, our 15 month-old granddaughter, grinned, looked at her mother, picked up a little shoe and flipped it across the room.
“Now, Caroline, you do that again and you will be in time-out. We do not throw shoes in the house.”

Eyes twinkling with mischief as she looked at her mom and the big boys, the sweet little thing, reached down, grabbed another shoe and every so gently tossed it just enough to count as throwing a shoe.
“Now, you have to go to time-out.”

Picking up the petite child, my daughter carried her over to a time-out stool. The little lassie sat there swinging her feet back and forth, grinning and flirting with her mother — quite pleased with herself for having gotten time for the crime — just like the big boys.
(Joan Hershberger is a reporter at the News-Times. E-mail her at