Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Pants on Fire

Sunday Sam went into his little sister's room where the bookshelf is housed to get a book to read because I had just declared the Wii off-limits and apparently he couldn't find his NintendoDS because in case you hadn't heard I am not only the queen of the run-on sentence, but also the cruelest mother on the planet for making him do something as ghastly as READ. After he'd been in there awhile I heard him exclaim, "WHAT THE?" followed by the sound every mother cringes when she hears - "MAWWWWWWM!" It's not the tender sweet sound we long to hear our infants coo at us, it's not the word we hear when our child is hurt and needs us to make it all better - no, it is the sound that makes our spines stiffen, our faces grimace and our eyes squint. It's the sound of tattling.

Here he came, stomping up the hall, waving a Captain Underpants paperback in the air, hell bent for election, ready to gather up a lynch mob and string someone up.

"Mom! Someone taped all of my books shut!"

My initial response? *blink blink* followed by "Huh?"


I was intrigued, to say the least. I went back to the bookshelf and yep, sure enough, Captain Underpants 1-6 were taped soundly shut as well his wimpy kid books and as several others. Funny, no Junie B. Jones books were taped shut. No Judy Moody either. Hmmm...something was fishy.

Now, let me explain the dynamics of sibling relationships in our house these days. Abby is the queen bee, the one-week-away-from-being-a-teenager-I-am-SO-much-better-than-you absolute princess of everything around her. She has very little to do with her younger brother and sister and when she does it's a mere eye-roll, a scathing remark or the toss of her Chi-ironed hair over her shoulder and poof she's gone in a cloud of glitter and body splash. Kady idolizes her and Sam just wants to annoy her to death. She ignores them. However, the two younger children have just one goal in mind from the time their precious eyes open in the morning until their darling little heads hit the pillow at night - to fight with each other. And to do so in such a manner that I now have a streak of gray in the front of my hair that makes me look like Stacy London from What Not to Wear. You think I'm kidding. I'm not.

Now, I know siblings fight. My sister and I fought - so profoundly that apparently, as mother has since told us, there were nights she'd cry herself to sleep wondering where she went wrong and what she did to make us hate each other so. When Abby and Sam didn't fight I figured that being barely two years apart was the key. I should've known that Sam and Kady being three years apart - just like my sister and I - there would be fighting and lots of it. I really should've known.

That all being said, as soon as I became aware of the book-taping escapade I had a pretty good idea of who the taper was. However, I didn't want to accuse wrongly so I simply asked both girls, "Did you tape your brother's books shut?" Abby, of course, scoffed at the mere suggestion of there being a moment of time in her imminently important day to do such an immature act and Kady blinked innocently and said, "Of course not, Momma. I would nevvvvver do something like that."

Bingo. We had our perp.

She is creative and she is sneaky, but she is a horrible liar. I mean, really, really bad. She just can't do it. She's going to have to get better if she's going to utilize the sneakiness to its fullest potential. Just sayin'. So instead of starting a big ruckus right then I simply said, "Well, I can't imagine who would've done it. Maybe TotOne or TotTwo? But why would they do it? Hmmm...." She shrugged and batted her eyelashes again. "Well," I said, "I'll just have to have everyone in the living room for a meeting as soon as y'all get off the bus tomorrow afternoon." That seemed to satisfy Sam who was carefully picking scotch tape from the holy grail of pre-pubescent humor and Kady bit her lip and picked at a piece of paper in the floor.

Yesterday my three kids, the Tots and my friend Kim's daughter, Nattie, got off the bus here and when they got to the house I asked them all to have a seat in the living room. Sam was all business - he just wanted justice. Abby settled in to watch the show with smugness written all over her bad self - probably secretly hoping a flogging was in order for the offender. Kady plopped down primly in the big chair and said nothing. The Tots and Nattie sat down with looks of utter confusion on their faces. I started with The Golden Rule then asked if anyone liked it when someone tore up their toys or books or games. Heads shook all over the room. I then said, "Well, last week someone taped all of Sam's books shut and I would just like to know who that person was." Of course everyone was looking at everyone else as well as declaring, "Wasn't me! Not me!" I went on to say, "The person who did it (as I was looking straight at Kady) isn't in trouble for doing it, I just want that person to know that taping books is disrespectful and could've torn up the books. Anyone wanna tell me anything?"

Nada. I got nothing more than what I'd been getting, "Wasn't me! Not me!"

So then I said, with a heavy sigh that suggested the weight of the world had been set on my shoulders at that very moment, "Well, then until someone confesses and tells the truth no one can play in the bedrooms. Y'all will just have to stay up here. And if no one tells the truth by Christmas break I guess y'all will still be sitting here after school every day." Of course, this brought outrage to everyone in the room - except Kady.

Then I see a hand shoot up quick as lightning and this teeny tiny voice say, "Miss Kristin! I know who did it! It was Kady! Kady did it! I sat there and watched her do it! She said she was mad at Sam and she was going to tape all his books shut! I promise! It was Kady!" All this from little bitty Nattie. Paul and I both bit our lips in order to keep from busting out laughing at the absolute sincerity and desperation in the announcement. Apparently the thought of no toys until Christmas break or beyond was just too much. I looked at Kady and asked, "Kady, did you?"

"NO MOMMA! I WOULDN'T DO THAT! I don't know WHY she'd say that!"

Uhm....because you did it? Just a thought.

So the kids continued to sit and I was so frustrated at Kady's absolute refusal to budge! OH MY GOSH she takes after her father! And in my own frustration I brought out The Big One - God. Because we're Baptist and guilt is pretty much all we know. So with another heavy-hearted sigh I said, "Kids, whoever is not telling the truth, you may be fooling us, everyone in this room, but do you know who you aren't fooling?" I bit my lip again as hands shot up all over the place. "God! You can't fool God, Aunt Kiki!" (Boy howdy, don't I know it.) I confirmed this and reiterated again how lying makes you feel all yucky inside and sometimes you have trouble sleeping and sometimes food doesn't taste right and things that used to be fun aren't anymore because you're all yucky inside.....and everyone looked guilty -everyone except Kady.

And on we sat. And sat....and sat.

The Tots were talking between themselves and I heard, "So....ya think Mom'll carry this on when we get home?"

"Who knows. She could."

"Yeah. That's what I was thinking, too." Then they both sighed.

Courtney and Aunt Janet came to pick up Conner and heard the whole story and both found amusing the stubbornness that was going on and Aunt Janet was just very impressed at the boundless creativity of taping books shut. Aunt Janet always makes me think a different way. I can be angry or frustrated about something my kids did or didn't do or I can be feeling inadequate and inferior about being a parent and she has this knack of helping me see it a different way. I love that about her.

After they left I said, "Okay, ya know what, I'm going into the kitchen to fix a glass of tea. If anyone needs to talk to me, I'll be in the kitchen. Ya know....if anyone needs to confess anything."

Once in the kitchen Paul and I laughingly conferred over where to go at that point. The 7 year old perpetrator wasn't budging. Paul suggested taking them each into a room by themselves. I said, "OOH yeah! And I can shine a light in their face and ask them where they were on the night of January 12th." He blinked at me and flatly asked, "What does January 12th have to do with this?"


So went to the back of the house and called TotOne back first. She hit the door and immediately and vehemently proclaimed her innocence - "Aunt Kiki, you KNOW I didn't do it! I have homework every day and you make me stay up front to do it!" I shushed her and said, "Sweetie, I know who did it. I'm calling everyone back here so the person that did it can tell me in private. I just need you to pretend like you're talking to me so it looks legit." Then, because she is one of the most precious people on earth, she nodded solemnly and then she pretended to talk to me. Like, she moved her mouth like she was talking, but she wasn't. Because she was PRETENDING. Just like I told her. I love that kid more than I could ever express.

Next in the lineup was TotTwo. Again, he hit the door proclaiming innocence. I said, "Dude. Chill. I know who did it. Just hang with me for a minute or two, okay?" and he nodded. Then proceeded to dance for me. I nearly fell in the floor laughing. I'm thinking we should have interrogations every week just for the entertainment value alone.

Next was the tapee, Sam. He was still indignant and did nothing to entertain me because he just wanted a public hanging. Or perhaps a drawing and quartering.

Then I called Kady back there. She walked in like someone had just hollered, "Dead girl walking!", stood there about 2 seconds and busted into a wailing mess of tears and snot and guilt. Somewhere in the midst of it all I heard, "Oh Momma! I'm so sorry! I wanted to tell the truth I really did but I didn't want to do it in front of everyone because I was so embarrassed and I KNEW God was watching and is He sad because I lied? and I disappointed you and OH MOMMA! I'M SORRY!" I hugged her and said, "Okay." She stopped wailing, blinked a few times and her mouth dropped open in a gesture of absolute incredulity. "What?" I smiled and said, "Okay. Thank you for telling me. I told you that whoever did it wasn't in trouble for taping the books. In fact, Aunt Janet said you are a very creative prankster, but let's not do it again, okay? No matter how angry you are at your brother." Relief flooded over her.

Then I took away TV privileges for one day for the lying.

Hey, I'm trying very hard NOT to raise a hey-let's-tell-my-parents-I'm-spending-the-night-at-your-house-while-we-use-our-fake-ID's-to-try-to-get-into-a-bar, lie about my weight on my driver's license kind of person here. She needed to know lying isn't acceptable.

And just because my driver's license says I weigh 125 pounds, it's technically not a lie. I did weigh 125. When I got my first license -- at 15. They've never asked me to change it and I'm not offering. It's not lying. And I don't feel yucky inside about it.

I feel nostalgic about it. But not yucky.


Melessa Gregg said...

If it makes you feel better, I've written my new weight each time I've renewed my license. They never have noticed that change on the paperwork and put the new number on the new license. I guess they aren't used to such disclosures. Not that I'm complaining...Apparently, the DMV isn't interested in that much honesty.

I love the way you told this oh-so-familiar story. My Tristan and Caroline are 22 months apart and they fight just as much. She's never taped a book shut, but she did deliberately pee on his bedroom floor when she was about four. I think my comment was "What do I even say to her? There's nothing in the parent books about this!"

MrsCoach said...

Ok, because I may be a bit of a bad influence on Kady with the encouraging of shoe hoarding and feather boas I have to admit, when I first read this I thought "that's freaking genius to tape the books shut". I still think that, by the way. I kind of even admire her for not cracking under pressure in front of the others, but using tears and snot as needed to gain a softer sentence of no TV. The lying is wrong, I get that. I'd have been livid if it had been my kids but since it's yours, it's just hilarious as heck. Remind me to work on her poker face on our next jaunt to the tribe and a two hour wait. It's the least I can do since you always drive.

Jill of All Trades said...

That was soooooooo funny and a new one I've never heard. LOL LOL LOL

Robin said...

This why having only 2 is soooo much easier. If something happened to one of them the other one did it.

Case closed.

Rae said...

I always love to see a new post because I know I'm ready for an entertaining treat!
This reminds me of my kids!
See my blog post about the Lie Detector:
You are gifted with words- a cross between Rosanne Barr and Danielle Steele! :)Great!!!

Stewed Hamm said...

"Bingo. We had our perp."

You know, I'm liking this new turn that CSI: Miami has taken... I wish they'd bring back the sunglasses shtick, though.

"Taped all the books together, did she? Then I guess it's up to us to ... turn the page.

melyssa said...

I love your posts. And my driver's license says 125 pounds as well, although when I say it outloud when they ask, my voice gets all squeaky and high pitched and suddenly I can't sit still, so I'm thinking I'm about as good as liar as your offspring.

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