My three-year old son is a jerk. My husband made him that way.
We have a magic wand in our house. It came with a magic kit that my oldest son got for Christmas last year. Both our boys love it and use it with endless imagination.
But the three-year old BELIEVES. He hasn't yet sorted out the difference between 'real' and 'pretend,' so when he gave the wand to his father, my husband decided to play along.
"What do you want me to change you into? A dog? A cat? A chicken?"
"A jerk!" Aiden piped up.
"All right...abracadabra, you're a jerk!"
Maybe he'd meant duck because as soon as my husband tapped his head with the wand, my son ran to the other room quacking. He quickly returned.
"A chicken!" he said.
Dad said the magic words and tapped him on the head again. My son ran from the room clucking, then returned disappointed. Apparently, he sounded like a chicken but he didn't look like one in the mirror. What a rip off that wand turned out to be.
"No feathers! I not chicken!"
He quickly had a meltdown and really did act like a jerk. We tried to redirect him. "What if Daddy gives you muscles so you're super strong?" All it would take was a tap of the wand and some fawning over him as he performed some great feat of strength like lifting all the sofa pillows in one big armful.
"Dad will make you big and strong like him. Don't you want to be like Daddy?"
"No! I Ay-nen!"
This is how my son says his own name. When we chose this name we thought it was a good, solid, strong sounding Irish name. It is. It also means fiery. And we are yet another set of parents that gave no thought to the meaning of the name we picked for our child -- who is fast living up to that meaning.
The boy can hop 50 MPH in place in a good mood. Deny his will and he becomes a red-faced, fist shaking, fiery whirling dervish. Should any older sibling try to out-maneuver him as he tries to enter their room, Aiden lets go a maelstrom of curses for the injustice.
He was clearly not pleased with our magic scheme.
"But, Aiden, magic isn't real. It's PRETEND. It's all just play."
We clucked like chickens to show him how to pretend. Aiden toddled off, satisfied. Moments later we heard him crowing from his bedroom like a rooster. "Cocka doodle do! I Ay-nen. I a jerk!"
Sure this will be a story we'll share with him when he's older and can appreciate it. You can bet on it.