I’ve tried several times to deter my two daughters with ominous warnings of snakes, spiders and mice, but they are still persisting in converting our barn loft into a clubhouse. Why have I been opposed to this conversion? Fear, I guess, of snakes, spiders and mice…and also I know who gets to provide most of the labor…me. These reasons are more than enough for me to never, ever start. But how do I get Keely and Shelby off my back, especially when they are being so reasonable about the project? Just yesterday Shelby told me that she would like to have the clubhouse finished by Christmas. Which Christmas, I wondered? This next one evidently and since it’s only July now, I couldn’t hardly argue that she was being overbearing with her request. In fact, I was quite proud that she had the wherewithal to put a deadline on the project, knowing that if she didn’t, it might not ever get done. She just turned 11 years old. I was impressed. Maybe I just think my kids are smarter than everyone else’s…or maybe in her brief 11 years on planet Earth, she has picked up on one of my most endearing character traits, procrastination and knew that the project would be hopeless without a deadline. What could I do? One of my biggest defenses in dealing with my kids and why I didn’t do something they asked me to do is that they didn’t give me enough notice. “Dad, why didn’t you build the jet fuel propelled hovercraft that I wanted for my sleepover tomorrow night?” “Well, Keely, you just asked me yesterday. I’m still looking for the parts.” They took that argument away from me and blindsided me with preplanning and reason. So, there’s no big moral lesson here, just that if you have young children, be prepared; they will grow up and learn to outthink you. I’ve got to get on my game face.