"My brain did it."

April 24, 2013

Notable Stats 

Brains per body (BPB)  – The maximum number of brains your child claims to have at any one given time.

Exoneration Quotient (EQ) – The speed by which your child passes blame to an extra brain.

Our children have multiple brains. They have emphatically explained their actions by expressing with a straight face that “their brain did it.” No, they didn’t do it, the dog didn’t do it, their brain actually ate their homework.  By osmosis, I guess.

I suppose it isn’t far off the mark to express that your brain caused you to make certain choices. There were times when I wanted a do-over during a baseball game or when I chose that particular contractor who hacked up our landscaping. I could have been mad at my brain, but then as a grown up, the heat still comes down on you. You have to live with your choices, watch them unfold, and hope at times, you can do something to counter their effect. Although it would be nice to take your brain out, pin it all on him, and let it go to jail on your behalf.

Our kids seem confident that their brain is this sneaky, nefarious being that lives outside their body and acts as some sort of puppet master. Their brain has no counsel, no representation to counter their accusations, so it is an easy fall guy. Our son was not sure why he used an object to carve on the leather couch, even after numerous advanced warnings. His brain told him to do it, it directed his hands to ignore all warnings because his brain was hungry and needed to be fed a plate of defiance.

I haven’t asked them why their brains are such troublemakers. Why can’t  their brain give a hug to their sister? Why can’t Mr. Brain make its Mom a thank you note? Why can’t Mr. Brain put its shoes away in the closet? Poor brain gets none of the glory and all of the blame. Convenient.

“Officer, I wasn’t speeding, my brain was speeding.” I think this would still earn me a ticket and probably a trip to a physician at the same time. But as my wife has said to our kids “you are responsible for your brain.” Or “your brain is part of your body, they cannot be separated.” Since our son is now up to five brains, I am not sure how he keeps straight which one was at fault. Seems easier to just accept your handiwork and move on, as opposed to  interviewing all of your brains to determine which did what. Does he have a brain that specializes in interrogation? I don’t know.

I understand that impulse is hard for any four year old. Especially one that is so tactile in his evaluation of his world. Touch first, worry later. Take in that “no” or “don’t” as an invitation to “do.” I know they say you should not use negatives. Instead, frame the positive way to instruct, but as every parent knows, you run out of steam after the seventh time, you tend to rush to what shocks them into stopping, stepping over alternate brains all along the way.

It gets really tough when the younger child starts borrowing the multiple brain mantras. Now we have two sets of distinct and dishonorable brains causing havoc in our home. Brains are hanging from island counters, smothering little sisters, refusing to put on socks, eating food off of the floor, pulling on dog tails. Those neurons are firing in an attempt to support anarchy and must be punished, so it seems. No dessert for your brain, which unfortunately means, also none for the now brainless child. (Since the brain is outside of their head). Come to think of it, that explains a lot. Their brain is out of their bodies and therefore whatever they are doing is without thought or rational processes coming from an empty head. That makes more sense than blaming the brain itself. Since I am not sure where I would put a brain that has to go to timeout.

- Doug Glanville

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