Aah, Sebastian. What can I say - the boy is a politician at heart! The child will 'win' on a technicality (or try his very best to get off on a technicality, if he can't win). He answers one question with another question. He dances around subjects and avoids answering the real question at hand. He's a presidential candidate in training!
3 nights ago, the boys were playing in the basement, and Isaac asked (with Sebastian standing all of 3 feet away) if the two of them could climb on the boxes we have stored under the stairs - they wanted to pretend the boxes were their spaceship. I told Isaac (and indirectly Sebastian, since he was standing right there looking at me) No, that the boxes could fall over and it wasn't safe. After I had given my answer, Sebastian says, "Well Mom, we won't let the boxes fall." "I'm sure you would be careful," I say, "but you can't always control those things. My answer is no."
Well, the next night, (or maybe last night, I can't remember) at dinner, Lucas says to me, "Guess who I caught climbing on the boxes in the basement?" That would be Sebastian. Doing the only motherly thing I could think of, I turned to Sebastian and made mistake #1 - I asked him a question that allowed for an open-ended response. "Sebastian, didn't I just tell you the other night that you couldn't climb on those boxes?" And he actually says to me, "No Mom, actually, you told Isaac that." (I suppress a laugh) I glanced at Lucas (who was also trying not to laugh), and then looked back at Sebastian and said (mistake #2 - engaging in a debate with a 5-yr-old), "You were standing right there. You heard me say No. I said it to both of you collectively, and I even specifically told you that my answer was no at one point." He sat quietly for a minute, and I could see the wheels turning. Then he says, "But Mom, tonight I was climbing on different boxes, not the same ones I was climbing on the other night. I didn't know you meant all of them."
At that point, I snapped to the realization that I had to put an end to this, and did so. But I couldn't help but wonder if the poor poor mother of smooth-talking politicians (Bill Clinton comes to mind), went through the same thing when their children were younger. For my own sanity and peace of mind, I hope so.