You didn’t know this, but my son invented brainwashing. This was about a year ago. He was 4. Alas, he has shown no signs of remorse.

When my second child was born, Calvin was 2. He retaliated by not acknowledging the existence of said younger brother. He waited for us to take it back. When we asked him his brother’s name, he would say, “That’s baby Max.” Which, of course, it was not. Max was a cousin born a few months previously. Calvin expected us to realize that this alien didn’t belong, and surely wasn’t welcome as a permanent addition.

When Calvin was 4 and Gozer was nearing 2, Calvin realized the potential of his experimental procedure. You see, his favorite color is green. This is very important to the story, since no one, and I mean No One else may have that same favorite color. It is against the laws of nature. Gozer, as the younger sibling of an extremely verbose boy, was likewise verbose, and delighted in learning as many new words and phrases as he could, as fast as he could. He repeated everything he heard.

He often heard Calvin saying, “My favorite color is green.” Soon, Gozer, too, was saying,
“My favorite color is green.” Well this would never do. Calvin would only drink from a cup that was green, only eat from a spoon that was green, and only wear a shirt that was green. Unfortunately, we only had one green cup and one green spoon. When Gozer announced his preference for green, and his desire to drink from the green cup, there was war.

Soon enough, I overheard Calvin telling Gozer in the other room, “Gozer, your favorite color is red.” Whereupon Gozer would disagree, only to have Calvin repeat, “No, your favorite color is red.”

Within 2 days, Gozer was announcing that his favorite color was, yes, red. He would only take the red cup, and wear the red shirt. He was apoplectic that there was no red spoon.

That was a year ago, and things have not changed. There has not been a fight for the green cup in a year. Calvin still prefers green, and Gozer still prefers red. Brainwashing works. I’m fairly certain Calvin has used the same methods on me, but I just… can’t… think…

Tune in tomorrow, when I will tell the story of how a lawyer in our church congregation approached my husband and asked if he could pre-sign Calvin to be his CEO in 18 years.