“Mommy,” says Short, his squeaky voice full of innocence, “what are you doing?”
“I’m just typing my blog, well, I should say, struggling to type my blog because I'm not sure how I should edit this; I need to re-work it a bit ... ”
“Can I help?” he offers sweetly, setting down his Lego truck.
I laugh. “Oh, honey-bun, maybe another time.” I give him a quick conciliatory hug.
“Really, Mommy, I’d be good at it.” How can I resist those sincere blue eyes and those chubby cheeks with dried-on blackberry jam from breakfast? To placate him, I print out my blog and hand him a red marker. “Short, you can make any corrections you want.”
This ought to keep him busy for ten minutes, I think to myself.
He’s in the next room for all of two minutes. It is very very quiet in there. He walks back out. “Mom, did you forget to use spell-check? Because ‘meticulous’ does not have an ‘e’ at the end. Also, where you said ‘frequently,’ I think ‘often’ might have been a better choice.”
He hands the papers back to me and also the red pen (he forgot to put the lid back on). I glance down to see what other corrections he’s made—there are smears of red all over the pages. I see that where I have typed “disparage”, he has crossed my word out and written in “disparate.” I notice he has capitalized the word Francophile. He deleted my entire second paragraph, and has written in the margin in all caps: WORDY. He has also crossed out a phrase I wrote (“fit like a glove”) and scribbled next to it: cliché.
I’m on the second page now. I misused “there” and he circled it. I was attempting to do a stream-of-consciousness thing for part of it and he has made a large “X” through it and has written simply “run-on.” Two sentences later, I make a quick and entertaining analogy about a zoo, and he’s written “good—expand.”
I don’t know how much more I can take. “Short,” I begin, “Come on! You corrected all this? I ... I ... well, this is preposterous!”
Short shakes his head and looks me right in the eye. “Mommy,” long pause for it to all sink in, “the only thing that’s preposterous is that you didn’t ask for my help sooner.”