Friday, October 18, 2013

Teddy's first contract

Our boys have always played together a lot.  We credit Charlie's kindness as a big brother a good deal for that.  He really loves Teddy, and he gives him time.  We've sometimes lamented that Teddy has skipped some of the kinds of play he might have engaged in at a given stage because he wanted to "play up" to the level  at which Charlie was playing.

They still do play together a lot, but the demands of middle school can really tax Charlie's availability.  It can be hard to say whether he still wants to play with Teddy the same amount but has too much of his time consumed by schoolwork and practicing his trumpet or whether he's starting to pull away from their tight playmate relationship.  He often wants to read when Teddy wants to play.  When Teddy complained to Charlie on a recent morning that Charlie always says in the morning he'll play with Teddy after school but then never does, I didn't want to hear the whining anymore.  I suggested to Teddy that he get a piece of paper and write down what Charlie said he would do and then have Charlie sign it.  Our home's general counsel was already on her way to work, so she couldn't review the document, but to my amateur eye, this looks like Teddy's first contract.
"You said you would play with me this afternoon"

It's simple and to the point - written in Teddy's own (downsloping) hand and signed by Charlie.  That signature might not hold up as evidence in a civil case, but an attorney must crawl before he can walk.

As it turns out, Charlie breached this contract.  He took an especially long time doing his homework that day, and the afternoon evaporated with no sibling play.  Teddy pointed this out to him.  Much like arguing with the referees in a sporting event, it won him nothing at the time.  On a later occasion in the week, however, a reminder of this welshing served as a guilt lever, and Charlie put down his book and went and played with little bro.  The argument that ensued over what they would play and in what order pointed out why contracts get very long and detailed.  LSAT prep begins soon, no doubt.