“Where is my stool?” I had just sat down at my computer and found my footrest was missing. I spun in a circle. Our family room was empty except for Clara. She was laying on the couch looking very much like a teenager playing a video game on a tablet she was holding in the air above her head.
“What?” she said, without looking away from her game.
“Mom’s old stool. The one that goes under my desk. Do you know where it went?”
She didn’t say anything for several seconds as she pressed some buttons. “No,” she said finally. “It was probably Gideon.”
“Gideon!” I called up the stairs. “Gid, come here for a moment.”
The little boy immediately appeared in midair at the top of the stairs and descended them in two large bounds. “Yes, Dad?”
I waved my hand under the desk. “Do you know what happened to the stool?”
He bent to look. “Um, yes. I took it. It’s upstairs.”
“Oh,” that mystery was easily solved, I thought to myself. I thought this was going to be harder than that. “Why is it upstairs; can you bring it back down?”
He shuffled his feet. “Well, yes, I guess. I mean… okay, Dad. I needed it to do something, but I can be finished very soon, and I’ll bring it right back.”
“Oh, well, do you need help reaching something in the kitchen? We have a different stool for that, where did that one go?”
“No,” he shook his head, “I needed it to log into mom’s computer.”
I narrowed my eyes at the little boy, and I heard Clara pause her game and set the tablet down. We were both trying to make sense of what the boy had just said.
“Okay, so. You wanted to log into mom’s computer, so you came and got the stool?”
He nodded, “Yes.”
“Where is mom’s computer that you needed a stool to log in to it?”
He seemed confused. “It’s next to the chair where it always is.”
Clara joined in, “Yes, but, what were you doing with the stool then?”
The boy sighed, “I TOLD you. I needed it to log in to mom’s computer!” He clearly didn’t like being interrogated.
I motioned for him to come closer. “Gideon… Gideon, my sweet little boy. No… Okay. See, we are not mad. We are just very confused. Because you took the stool, which is used to stand on.” I mimicked this motion with my hands, just to be clear. “And you say you used it to log into a computer,” I pretended I was typing, “and there is no possible way that this could make sense.” I held his shoulders and smiled, hoping the little boy would be okay with this gentle way of telling him he was completely insane.
He looked from me to his sister and then rolled his eyes at how slow we were to understand. “No…” he sighed, “I needed to log in to Mom’s computer, but I can’t spell her name. And-Re-A. But, her name is written on her stool!”
I continued to hold his shoulders as I blinked at him. I looked at Clara and she was staring at him in the same exact way. It was true. The stool had ANDREA painted on it in big bright primary colors, right along the top.
“Okay…” I said, taking a deep breath, “Okay, so, you took my stool so you could log into mom’s computer…”I heard Clara pick her tablet back up and restart the game. “Gideon,” she said with a note of admiration. “I don’t know how you do it, but sometimes, somehow, you are both a genius and stupid at the same time.”
The boy smiled proudly and ran back towards the stairs, “Yes! I know. I’ll get Mom’s stool.”