Two weekends ago I took the boys to Roosevelt while Kim wrote more of her dissertation. All the cousins were to be there for Easter and the older cousins were excited about putting together clues for a treasure hunt in order to celebrate spring fecundity we know as Easter. Little X (whose just barely 2 years old) got the easiest clues, Casey got a little harder clues, Riley got even more difficult clues. They each got 3 or 4 apiece and then the final clue led them to their Easter baskets. Adorable.
Riley has done such treasure hunts before, and he’s always been pretty good at them. Only this time he seemed to be having trouble listening…focusing…or following directions. I’m not sure where the disconnect was. First, he got a clue that had something to do with music and included something related to being the “hero of the guitar.” Riley immediately shouted, “Upstairs.” He started to run upstairs when I stopped him to ask him why he was heading upstairs. He insisted that his guitar was up there. We kept trying to re-direct him, saying things like, but it says, “hero” too. I think that’s an important part of the clue. Well after SEVERAL attempts, Riley was finally able to be directed to the family room where he found the next clue taped to Guitar Hero game. A few moments later, Riley got another clue that was something like this.
Where the cousins are always together
And they’ll stay like that forever
Look behind the frame
And you will find your fame.
Riley again shouted, “Upstairs!” and started to lunge toward the stairs. I was starting to get frustrated because I didn’t think he was listening. I read him the clue myself thinking maybe he wasn’t processing it as he read them himself. The second I was done, he responded, “Upstairs!” I then asked (as patiently as I could) “Why do you think upstairs?” His response, “The clue. It’s upstairs.” My response, “No. It isn’t. Think. What do you think of when you read “frame.” Where could it be? His cousin Roo then added another word to the clue, where the cousins’ “faces” are all together…. Nothing.
Finally, X, grabbed Riley by the hand and led him to mantle where behind the picture of the cousins was another clue.
It was cute. Heartwarming really. X is a brilliant little kid, and as cute as he is smart. So it was adorable to see the toddler, who couldn’t even figure out how to verbalize the clue, lead Riley to the location. We all laughed and gave X kudos. I tried not to be mad at Riley. It was a moment that was worth the frustration at Riley in order to see X lead the way. But I was a little concerned by Riley’s apparent lack of focus. Oh well. It all ended well. In fact, the final basket was UPSTAIRS – where Riley wanted to go all along, and all frustration was forgotten as he tore into his basket of candy, stuffed animal, and, best of all, MONEY.
A week passed, the candy was gone, the money was spent, but I was still a little preoccupied with Easter. One afternoon, we were all riding in the car and somehow we got on the subject of the treasure hunt. I told Riley not to worry about it and assured him that we’d find ways to work on his critical thinking. Kim and I talked about how the clues were tricky and sometimes are meant to lead folks astray. Riley’s response reminded me that he’s not the only one who needs practice listening and focusing.
He said, “I tried to tell you this several times, but can I explain to you now why I wanted to go upstairs?”
I replied that he could and that I promised not to interrupt.
“I thought the clue was behind Roo’s bed. I thought it meant bed frame…not picture frame. Because you know how those girls go up there together and I have NO IDEA what they do, but they just go up there and sit on that bed and they stay there FOREVER. That’s why I thought it was behind the frame…”
Tricky indeed. Maybe he’s too good of a thinker for our little treasure hunt. And maybe I need a little lesson in focusing…and listening.