Walking home tonight, Kyle said to me, "Mom, you don't really have eyes in the back of your head, do you?"
I smiled; telling me kids about my "other" eyes was a remarkably effective ploy for years, but I'd ditched it recently in favor of time-outs and other more punitive strategies (no Game Boy for a week! Or perhaps ever again!).
'What do you think?" I asked, as Kyle leaped and wiggled behind me, doing who knows what.
"Well, you can't see what I'm doing right now," my almost-10-year-old replied. "So I think...no eyes back there."
"When did you figure out that I don't have eyes in the back of my head?" I asked.
Kyle shrugged. "About four years ago," he said.
I explained that people often say Moms have eyes in the back of their heads because they always know what their kids are doing. "Like I always know what you guys are doing," I said.
My fourth-grader flashed me a sly little grin. "But you don't know what we're doing in the cafeteria at lunch," Kyle said. Teaser.
You know, I keep my kids pretty close at hand. Living in New York City, where space is almost unbearably limited, makes it easy to keep tabs on your children.
But I guess the rope is getting stretched now. Because I don't know what they're doing at lunch, what they're talking about in the playground. And the three of them have secrets now, jokes they tell only to each other, games that don't include me or their dad.
But we'll always have time-outs.