"Mom," A. Peevie asked, "Can I make brownies?"
"No," I said.
"Please, mom," he wheedled. "I know how."
"Hmmm," I said. "Really? You know how?"
"Yes," he said. "I've done it before."
"You know how to follow the directions on the box?" "Yes." "You know how to find all the ingredients, find the right pan, turn on the oven?"
"Yes," he said confidently. "But I might need your help to turn on the oven."
"Fine," I said reluctantly, "But I don't want to have to get up every two minutes to help you." I was busy lying on the couch while my uterus turned itself inside out. "And I'm watching People's Court. I don't want to have to answer a million questions."
"No problem, Mom." He grinned a big grin, and headed off to the kitchen. I could hear him pulling a chair over to the pantry to pull down the brownie mix. The kitchen was quiet for about a minute while he read the directions.
"Mom!" A. Peevie called, "Can you turn the oven on for me?"
"No, A.," I called back, "You can do it." I told him what buttons to press on our digital stove dashboard while my uterus and I remained supine on the couch.
Thirty seconds later: "Mom, what size pan should I use?"
"Where are the pans?"
"Can you come get the pan down for me?"
"What should I mix it in?"
"Where is the vegetable oil?"
Worried: "We don't have any vegetable oil!" After A. Peevie and I ping-ponged about the vegetable oil several times, my churlish uterus (try saying that three times fast!) and I crawled into the kitchen, pulled the vegetable oil off the pantry shelf, read the label out loud in a disgruntled voice, and crawled back to the couch.
Thirty seconds later: "Mom? What should I use to mix it?"
"Where are the spoons?"
"Is this mixed up enough?"
"Can I lick the bowl?" This was an awesome moment: he was asking if he could lick the bowl before emptying the brownie batter into the pan. I clarified the correct order of operations, and went back to Judge Milian.
Thirty seconds later: "What do I use to get it into the pan?"
"What's a spatula?"
"Where are the spatulas?"
"Can you help me put the batter into the pan?"
At this point, I felt like setting the entire kitchen on fire so I wouldn't have to answer any more questions about brownie-making. But Judge Marilyn had exposed the defendant as a lying liar and had rendered her judgment; my uterus was taking a break from twisting itself into a one-legged king pigeon pose, and I had nothing better to do--so I helped A. Peevie finish the brownies.
Moral of the story: When they say they can do it "all by themselves," don't believe them.