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Solving the mystery

I came home the other day to a happy child and a slightly perturbed wife. After the traditional greetings and “Daddy’s home!” hugs, I was informed, in no uncertain terms, that Heather had found crayon drawings on the display screen of her camera. And I could clearly see that the little one was in the dog house over this.

None too pleased, I reiterated in my stern-and-grumpy fatherly voice that crayons were only to be used on paper, in coloring books and the ilk.

“I didn’t draw on Mommy’s camera!” she emphatically denied.

The lectures and life-lesson learning about the concept of lying have been a hot topic lately and both Heather and I seized upon the opportunity to make sure she understood that although drawing on Mommy’s camera is bad, lying is far, far worse and carries with it more severe consequences.

“But I didn’t draw on Mommy’s camera! I didn’t! I didn’t!” she cried.

As a parent, sometimes you know when your child is lying. The expression will tell you, the tone of voice, a series of ‘ums’ and conflicting stories, or better yet, each hand gripping a ball of cat fur will tell you that, yes, they were indeed picking up the cat, even while claiming otherwise. But it works in the opposite sometimes as well and as I looked at Heather, we exchanged that glance that acknowledged the “if we believe her AND she’s lying, we’re going to lose this battle in the war” vibe that hung over the conversation.

Then I saw the light bulb go off. Plink! Right above Heather’s head and a slight, but only slight, smirk (of sudden realization) permeated her expression.

“I have crayons in my purse,” Heather sighed. And that day, she’d taken the camera to take pictures of Zoe at gymnastics class.

Exchanging another look, at once and jointly we knew that this was going to invoke the dreaded “I’m right, you’re wrong” taunts of our four-year old. And as fun as that is, we like to avoid those situations at all cost.

We were pleasantly surprised when the panic-stricken child (the looming fear of punishment for a crime she didn’t commit is quite stressful, you know) grew a smile from ear to ear. She threw up her arms in an exaggerated shrug and while looking directly at mommy, said, “We solved the mystery!”

1 comment to Solving the mystery

  • Lydia

    I have had only one who lies (but seems to be growing out of it now, we hope), and it can be so hard when she is so convincing and one doesn’t have knock-down evidence. One doesn’t want to punish her unjustly, but with a track record already of lying, she is easy to disbelieve.

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