Sometimes errors are awesome. Especially when orchestrated with an ulterior motive in mind.

...unless I get a hold of them.

Last week, I was getting in the car when I spotted a candy wrapper left nearby. I picked it up and was about to put it in the trash bag normally used for the usual — old to-do lists, gum wrappers, pesky 50s that somehow got into the stack of 100s that I keep in the trunk. Then a flash of parental brilliance hit me like a foul ball while I was looking away: I can use this wrapper for subversive parenting!

Now, I’m not sure why, but littering has always chapped my hide. I mean, why do it anyway — if you think on a broad scale, you’re just messing up your own living room.

The lesson I had in mind was “Don’t litter” and “If you see some, why not pick it up.” Pivotal to teaching this lesson is the fact that Gabriel is very observant. Also, he loves treats (although he’s been known to eat only half and “save some for later.”)

Gabriel’s booster seat was in the back left of the car, and he knows that the door pocket doubles as an ad hoc trash can from time to time. So, instead of dropping the wrapper in the trash bag, I leave it in the back, next to his seat.

The next time he was riding with me, sure enough, he spotted the wrapper and said, “Hey, you ate some candy!” BOOM! He took the bait, and that gave me the chance to tell him that, no, it wasn’t my wrapper — that I had picked it up from someone’s parking lot. “Oh,” he said.

I’m banking on the hope that he’ll come away with the idea that it’s good to clean up litter. Who knows, right? As with most things parental, I can only do what I can do and hope for the best.

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