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morgan is a bad kid. if you listen to anthony at least. actually if you listen to anthony, morgan has to be one of the worst kids ever. every bad choice made in our house over the last eight months was made by morgan. for example, i recently found one of marty's valentine's decorations on the floor. it was a red cupid that was adhered to an upstairs window. i found it on the hallway floor and missing its head. when i saw anthony, i pointed at the fallen cherub and asked him what happened.

ANTHONY
someone took him off the window and then they pulled him head off.

TROY
but who would do something like that?

ANTHONY
morgan.

TROY
morgan did it? you're sure about that?

ANTHONY
yes.

or on another occasion months earlier i found writing all over one of our nicer chairs.

TROY
anthony, did you draw on this chair?

ANTHONY
no.

TROY
no? can you then tell me who did draw on this chair?

ANTHONY
yes.

TROY
who?

ANTHONY
morgan.

TROY
morgan?

ANTHONY
yes. morgan did it.

TROY
morgan wasn't even over here today. how did he draw on this chair if he wasn't even here?

ANTHONY
morgan drew on that chair daddy.

and this is how it goes. over the last many months, every defiled, soiled or broken object in our home has been attributed to, by anthony's account, this lad named morgan. who exactly is this mischievous spirit roaming our halls at all hours of the day and all days of the month? we do actually know a morgan. he is the son of one of marty's best friends. he is in class with alex. he lives in the neighborhood next to ours. and to my knowledge he is not a professional or apparitional brigand.

but even with my nearly perfectly confidence that the morgan we know is not our man, i will say that anthony's conviction about the matter has gotten into my head. since this began, i've caught myself eyeing morgan, suspiciously wondering if this young fellow could be sneaking into our home in the middle of the night and creating this quiet but consistent havoc. he is wiley. no one will say he's not. but then the realist in me returns, shakes this off, and i come around to the more plausible theory that i'm, once again, being out-witted by one of my children. i'm starting to sense that anthony believes a good offense can be achieved by keeping your opponent perpetually off-kilter through guile and deception. our little blonde-headed destructor has surely sown seeds of doubt and uncertainty in a mind already overstocked in doubt and uncertainty.

and in typical fashion what is most upsetting is simply that i didn't think of the morgan ploy first. i could have used it when meting out punishments and when a child loses dessert or can't go to a playdate and they whine or complain i could just say, "hey, i'm sorry but it's not my decision. morgan made the call. it's out of my hands." i think the kids would initially ask who morgan is and why he gets a say but i would, like anthony, shirk the question and talk around it as if it wasn't asked, letting them stew in uncertainty. in time they would come to accept the morgan-issued-directives with reduced questions and little fight. but sadly i don't get to use this technique because i'm too busy trying to defend it as it is being exercised on me by my three year old son who had the true beginner's luck of thinking of it first.

FEB2010

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