03/04/2011 By Shawn Burns

Erin is a sneak. She scampers around the house, clandestine prizes behind her back, or in her shirt, and ends her maneuvering under a table or bed.

It’s most often something she wants to use as a toy that isn’t a toy, and that she’s been forbidden to play with. When caught, and reminded about that pre-established fact, her reply is almost always the “Oh-oh” of a false epiphany.

I don’t really know why she always thinks she’s getting away with something when she never gets away with it. Perhaps kids are insane, by definition.

Or perhaps Erin has more than a little of Coyote in her. In the Christian West we fear tricksters. They are descendants of Judas. But the Trickster is welcome in my home. I consider cleverness a virtue, not a society-destroying vice. Erin, and Adrian after her, will be well-equipped to be both Coyote and the ones who can spot Coyote. Coyote is a teacher, not just a villain. We learn from him if we don’t fear him.

But Erin is going to have to try harder than merely closing her eyes when she walks by. I can still see you when you do that, baby girl.