Monday night, I returned home from Bible study and, by the darkened rooms and sounds of noisemakers going, was led to believe that all of my children were (allegedly) sound asleep. The beautiful bride and I were in the midst of domestic responsibilities when her mommy radar went up: “Someone is awake”. I took that as my cue to climb the stairs to see who was awake, for what reason, and what it would take to get them back to bed. My suspicions led me to believe that our middle child, who vacillates between crashing as soon as his head hits the pillow or staying up for an extra hour singing to himself, was the offender. In fact, I was so convinced of it, that in the 4 seconds it took me to scamper up the stairs, I already had concocted a disciplinary tactic to address the middle child’s behavior.
Instead, it was my eldest. He was on his way to the bathroom, and by the glow emanating from the bedroom, I could tell he was in the midst of some late-night reading in his bed. Though not verbally, I debated whether to correct him for being up much later that he was supposed to be, but since the kiddo has a great love for reading (a love we deeply desire for him to continue) I was unsure whether I could be the ogre (on this occasion) to request him to stop.
I caught him in the midway point between the bedroom and the bathroom. Clad in white astronaut jammies and clashing tan socks, he saw me before I saw him. He whipped into the door of the bathroom, then popped right back out. With a combination of enthusiasm, conviction, and bewilderment, he uttered the following to me:
“Yes?” (eager to hear what excuse or reason was going to roll off of his tongue)
“There are 112 countries that have English as its official language. ONE HUNDRED AND TWELVE!”
(*Note: this came from the mouth of a 5 year old, late at night, and thus the information still needs to be confirmed. Do not use this anecdote for a research paper or your own trivia purposes until it is confirmed. I had a choice tonight – either confirm the fact, or write about the encounter. I think you see what I chose.)
With this fact sharing complete, he continued back into the bathroom. I stood at the top of the stairs stunned, not knowing what to do. I was equally fascinated by this bit of trivia, but flummoxed as to what to do next with the boy. I kept standing there until he came out, still unsure of my response. He looked at me, I looked at him, and all I could say was “tell me more in the morning”, kissed him on his head, and looked and listened for the sound of him crawling back into the top bunk and the “click” of the light going off.
Whether by intention or not, I now realize I delivered the following message to my child: if you are still awake when you should be in bed and asleep, and reading through an atlas, and you share with Daddy a fascinating piece of information (and really, whether you are 5, or 35 like me, or 85, why would you not be fascinated by this info?) then you get a free pass.
I’m comfortable with having issued this free pass, and truthfully, I’m anxious to hear another piece of trivia Tuesday night.