I took the two older boys to a crowded Target on a rainy Sunday afternoon. We made a deal. They had to behave in the store in order to get a treat afterwards – Skittles for Josh, lollipop for Matthew.
They behaved exactly as expected. They ran through aisles. They elbowed each other for carriage positions. They grabbed boxes I told them not to. They fought. They wrestled. They bumped into other people. They blocked aisles. They screamed. They left me. They rolled on the floor. They knocked things off shelves.
They were the most rambunctious children in the superstore, but all things considered (rainy day, distracted father, loads of temptations), they were fine. I wanted to drag them by their ears only a couple of times, so it wasn't as bad as it could have been.
Once we were settled in the car, they asked for their treats. I said no. I told them they hadn't really earned them. They whined, so I told them they could still earn them by doing two things. They had to help me carry the bags into the house. And they had to solve a riddle.
"What's the riddle?" Matthew asked.
Before I could speak, Josh said, "What's mean and grown-up? And has three boys that don't listen?"