I have a son who thinks I am psychic – not really but almost. He can’t figure out how I know where he’s been, what he’s been doing, and in what order he did those things and for how long he did them.
One day he was looking for his prefect badge that he had misplaced and asked for my help. I guided him through his activities of the day trying to jog his memory and perhaps find what had been “lost”. He was astounded I knew what he had been up to all day.
“How did you know all that?” he asked flabbergasted.
Inside me a battle was raging. Should I tell him my secret and give up my status as psychic? I thought it a marvelous opportunity to teach him something, and besides he looked so in earnest that I decided to reveal the secret to my psychic powers:
“I just follow your trail,” I replied.
“Here let me show you son.” We started out in the dining room (luckily it had been a busy day and nothing had been cleaned up yet.)“Here are the remnants of your breakfast … and lunch. See the banana and orange peels, bread crumbs, the margarine tub with the butter knife still in it, and your empty cup and dirty plates.”
Next I usher him into the living room. “Here is your shirt you took off this morning to put on your school uniform. See over there on the couch are your school uniform, and backpack, with your school shoes tossed on the floor nearby from when you came home after school.”
“Yeah, so what’s your point?”
“Let’s keep going son. It should become evident soon enough.” This was followed by a shrug, so off we went to the bathroom.
“Here is your toothbrush right where you left it on the counter when you finished brushing your teeth this morning. And there is the comb with hair gel still clinging to it in globs from when you put too much gel in your hair and had to comb it out. In the sink and on the wall here behind the sink is the extra gel you combed out of your hair and flung off the comb. Over there is the towel drawer still open from when you took out a washcloth to wipe your face, and there on the floor NEXT to the dirty clothes hamper is the washcloth you tossed in that general direction.”
“Okay … so…”
“To the hall now,” I say as my enthusiasm to teach him how much I do for him and how I know so much about him begins to wane.
“Here are your dirty clothes from when you cleaned up your bedroom.”
“Yeah, but you said I had to clean my room, so I did.”
“No son, you relocated the mess out here.”
“But my room is clean.”
“Never mind. Here is the linen closet door still open from when you took out clean sheets to put on your bed, and here are the dirty sheets in a pile on the floor next to your dirty clothes.” Exasperation starts to build up inside me as he begins to roll his eyes.
“Yeah, but my room is clean, Mom.”
“Okay, let’s have a look in there then. “ I am almost ready to abandon the exercise and return to my status as psychic. Have I revealed too much already??
“See, Mom, it’s clean.”
“Yes, it’s about the only thing. Over there though your phone is charging so you must have spent quite a bit of time texting friends and listening to music while cleaning your room.”
“AND…, your clean clothes are hanging out of your open drawers, your school books are like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and your sheet is wadded under your pillow, so I estimate that you spent about 5 minutes actually cleaning your room.”
“Okay, okay, I think I get what you’re trying to say. But where is my prefect badge?”
“Try looking in the pile of dirty clothes in yesterday’s dirty school uniform pocket.” Eyes rolling he humors me by rummaging through his pockets and then freezes.
“How did you know??!!!”
“Never mind. I have a headache. Clean the house, will you? I’m taking a nap; being a psychic is exhausting work.”