Do you ever find yourself wondering if your child has gone deaf? If the ability to reason and understand language has become an unusable part of their brain? You start to wonder if maybe they picked up some rheumatic fever somewhere that has damaged them mentally for life. Or maybe a bat to the head, like my son experienced last week.
Today I asked Caden to go around the house and make sure there weren’t any cups or plates or silverware hiding that needed to be in the dishwasher. He came back after two minutes with one cup.
“Are you sure you looked everywhere? And that there are no more cups lying about?”
“Yep, I’m sure.”
Five minutes after I started the dishwasher I sat down on my sofa to keep working away on my laptop. I looked down beside the couch and there it was – a cup. Hmmm, gee, I thought he had looked everywhere for stray cups.
“Caden! There’s a cup by the side of the couch! Pick it up and go put it in the dishwasher now.”
He walks over, looks at it and gets the typical kid face pout on his lips that I’ve seen one too many times.
“But Mom! It’s not mine!”
“That’s not what I asked you to do, go find only the cups you used now, did I? I said pick up ALL cups!”
Let me pause here concerning his little “It’s not mine!” retort. If I had a nickel – heck, with gas prices better make it a dime – for every time I have heard him exclaim “But it’s not mine!” “I don’t know!” or the classic “I didn’t do it!”, I would be a wealthy woman. Or at least moderately comfortable. The funny thing is, he hasn’t quite figured out that two out of three phrases mentioned above are typically useless for him to use because he is an only child. Nine times out of ten, it’s his (sometimes, yes, it is mine – like the cup). Ten times out of ten, he most definitely did it.
Growing up, I had the somewhat advantage of being the oldest of five kids. There were lots of fun things I could blame on my siblings because they were younger and not quite as crafty at me at learning the Blame Game. “I don’t know who left the peanut butter out but Katie likes it the best so it was probably her.” “She did it/He did it” were easy things to say. However, I said somewhat advantage because being the oldest, I also got blamed for things like “Why didn’t you stop your younger brother/sister from doing that?” My response? “I don’t know” or “I didn’t do it!”
Caden still has so much to learn about coming up with a good defense when he’s in the hot seat. That sounds like I’m encouraging him to figure out a way to wiggle out of consequences, and I’m most definitely NOT doing that. But I sometimes have to scratch my head when he tries the “I didn’t do it” route because I look around with my arms in the air and say, “Well who did? Did some vagrant child wander into our home and cause this mess/cut your hair/break my iPod/put stickers all over the door?”
Caden’s reply? “What’s a vagrant child?”