I went to pick up my daughter a few weeks ago but she wasn’t ready so I went in to visit with Henry. At one point he said he had to get his gum and walked over to the end table and slid it into his hand and kept his fist clenched. It must have been ABC gum (already been chewed) because I didn’t actually see a wrapper or anything.

I remember thinking it odd that his parents were allowing him to chew gum, but I had just been around another three year-old who had been chewing some so I resigned myself to believing that this must be the age they start now. I have no problem with kids chewing gum. I’m more concerned with where it ends up — and I know from experience that three year-olds are not reliable for keeping it out of hair, clothes or furniture. 

The next day I went to get Henry and bring him to my house for the day. He said he had his gum in his pocket, and I was not particularly pleased about it. Again I was surprised at the idea of his parents allowing this but I try to keep my mouth shut. 

Of course the word “try” is relative around here. I have good intentions to not be the over-bearing parent/grandparent/mother-in-law kind of person and can usually manage to wait at least a few weeks before I open my pie hole. This time I lasted a few days because now it was coming into my house. 

“Why is Henry allowed to chew gum?” 

“There is no gum, Mom. He only pretends he has it. In fact yesterday when I picked him up from your house, we got halfway home when he started freaking out because he left his gum at your house and that I needed to go back.” 

And here is where I know where he gets this from because his mother told him, “It’s okay Henry, I have your gum in my pocket.” 

And he fell for it. 

But since then Henry has driven deep into the imagination station. He often pulls his ‘laptop’ out of his pants pocket to show me videos of kittens and doggies doing silly things and he laughs as if we are really watching more than the palm of his hand. 

The other day it was raining and I told him he needed a coat. He said he also needed his “gumbrella” and that he had one in his pocket. I said “really?” I think my questioning him even that lightly, made him see the fine line between fact and fiction because he then referred to it as his shadow gumbrella. And now everything that comes out of his pocket is a shadow something or other. Shadow phone (with filters, mind you), shadow television, shadow camera, shadow Nintendo switch, even a shadow friend. It’s basically everything anyone else has that he doesn’t.

Like his own shadow Alexa that plays his music. His mother asked who he listens to and he said “I listen to John Katko.”  Yeah, I can’t stop laughing either.

I can’t wait to see what’s next, but I’m telling you — Mary Poppins has nothing on this kid and his magic pocket.  


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