When he was 5 years old, my youngest brother Will had two self-named stuffed animals, Mommy Bear and Petey, that he slept with every night. Mommy Bear was a soft and furry pink bear and Petey was a brown dog with dark floppy ears. The whole situation was obviously quite adorable.
Flash forward 8 years into the future to tonight and Will is now 13 years old. At his request, I was walking him to bed. As he was snuggling his way in, I couldn't help but notice Mommy Bear and Petey still resting on either side of Will's bed. There was no use trying not to smile. Finally settled into bed, Will look at his "stuffies", as he calls them, and reversed their positions. Petey, who was near the wall, was now moved to the outside of the bed and Mommy Bear was moved from the outside of the bed to in-between Will and the wall.
"So, Will," I playfully began, "Do Mommy Bear and Petey each have a preferred side on the bed?"
"No, that's not it," Will said, as if it were silly to think that Mommy Bear and Petey could tell him their bed-side preferences. "I just want it to be even and fair for both of them."
Thinking I figured it out, I asked, "So one side must be more desirable than the other, right? Which side is the better one that you want to make them share evenly?" I expected that one side was more condusive to cuddling with Will or some such cuteness.
"There is no better side. They both have pros and cons," Will said, sounding like my Web Systems Instructor discussing the pros and cons of a distributed hash table. "The side closer to the bed is safer, but it also may be more crowded." He gestured for effect and continued methodically, "While the outside of the bed has more room, but it is also more dangerous because you could fall."
With that I bid him goodnight and hastily made my way out of Will's bedroom because I knew I wouldn't be able to hold in the kind-hearted laughter much longer.
Sometimes I get frustrated by the nuances of the young and unmolded. "Why can't you just do what everyone else does on this one unimportant thing so we can focus on these other very important things?" But then I am reminded that some things just aren't more important than which side of his bed my brother's stuffed animals sleep.