There we stood, my daughtors and I looking at the lines of marker on the couch. I knew who did it. They knew who did it. And yet we stood looking at it, waiting for the guilty party to admit to it.
My kids are still generally amazed when Mom or Dad knows exactly who did what and when. Of course any given clue they leave is generally a dead giveaway. A page found ripped out of a book they were just reading…what possibly could have happened??? Yogurt fingerprints in the kitchen…better put on a pot of coffee, could take all night to crack this one. So imagine their shock in Dad’s sleuthing capabilities when the evidince of vandalism wasn’t discovered until hours after the act, with not so much as the mark cap left behind. Though she put back the marker, my older daugher singled herself out as the only suspect the moment she moved from drawing lines and shapes on the couch to a letter. The letter Y. Her name is Lucy. Book her Dad-o.
Though I knew who it was, I wanted to see if she would fess up to it and/or if her little sister would rat her out. I called them both to the scene and asked if they knew who did that. The younger wasted no time in saying she didn’t do it, the culprit was silent. I asked her directly now if she did it. She said no. Using the younger again for leverage, I asked her if Lucy did it. She wasted no time in saying that she did. Such an adorable little snitch. However, still nothing from the guilty party.
Next I showed her my key piece of evidence, Exhibit Y if you will, the letter that only she could have written. Still nothing. I narrowed down the list of suspects right in front of her – I know I didn’t do it, I know Mommy didn’t do it because she was at work, I know Evie didn’t do because she can’t make letters yet, and I know Brooks didn’t do it because he’s only a baby. So that only leaves you Lucy.”
I had her. No way out of this one. Only chance was to confess try for plea deal. Or so I though. Turns out she had somebody else to pin it on.
“Maybe it was the Easter Bunny”, she said.
Every now and then when you are suppposed to be mad at your kids they go and do something incredibly cute or funny and you have to force your way though your discipline without cracking. This was one of those times.
“It wasn’t the Easter Bunny.” I quickly answered.
“Why not?” she pressed.
Uh-oh. Can’t go down that road. If intentional, what a genius move on her part. I mean, what’s my play here? Do I make something else up about the Easter Bunny, like I have some kind of direct line of communication with him? That’s a slipperly slope. Today it’s confirming with him that he didn’t put purple Crayola on my couch, and by next Easter its making sure he knows their preferred egg-shaped candy. And does it go on from the Easter Bunny? If I give any legitimacy to this accusation, what is she going to try to pin on Santa?
The truth was certainly not an option. I quickly pivoted back to pointing out the blame and explaining that I knew she did it and she needs to clean it up and go to her room. She cried, it mostly came off (thank you washable markers), and the law abiding reputation of holiday mascots was kept out of it. For now.
My ultimate hope is that she learns to admit when she’s done something wrong, but if she is going to try to deflect blame I guess I would rather it be on fictional characters than other kids. A he-said-she-said is going to be way easier to figure out if the he in the scenario is Captain Hook. And I guess I’m even a little proud that she wouldn’t even try to pin something on her little sister. Yet.
Though of course, the little sister is watching. A few days later I asked her what happend to her night light. The Easter Bunny was her prime suspect.