Friday, May 11, 2007

Parents as mystery sleuths

It stuck me today that parents have to act as mystery sleuths to figure out what child is doing what when your back is turned. It reminded me of the game "Clue." It was the case of the 4 year-old in the hall bath with the soap bottle and the 2 year-old in the master bath with the toilet paper.

Child number one is using the hall bathroom for a potty time, so I take child number two to the master bathroom to use the potty. I forgot to get a diaper for her so I go to the hall bathroom to retrieve one. Child number one had closed the door and didn't want to open it for me (warning sign). When I open the door to get the diaper, I discover that child number one has been playing with the liquid soap pump bottle and there is goopy soap on countertops, and doorknobs. After correcting this young miscreant, I return to the other bathroom with the needed diaper. Child number two had spent her time happily by unwinding the toilet paper into the trash can. Fortunately, this happened after Daddy had come home. He was outside doing yardwork, so I sent the girls out to spend time with Daddy. Mommy stayed inside and burned off the anger by practicing piano until my brain was tired. By the time they all came back in, I was no longer so mad and could be a sane Mommy again. Of course I caught them in the act so it wasn't as much a mystery.

Today a wet spot showed up on the dining room table. This was a mystery. It didn't look like a puddle like someone spilt water from a cup. It was evenly distributed and yet splotchy. And which child is the most likely culprit? In a quick process of elimination, we determined that it was the 4 year-old, in the dining room with a spray bottle. She tried to act innocent, but couldn't keep up the pretense.

The 2 year-old isn't mysterious in the same way. Her actions are pretty blatant. But her reasoning is mysterious. Like why she kept trying to take her shoes and socks off outside in the tall, brown, prickly grass that she didn't like stepping on. Then she would lose one of her socks over the side of the play gym in said prickly grass, and need someone to retrieve it for her.

Our 3 month-old hasn't done much mysterious yet. Though we occasionally come back to find him turned 180 degrees from his last known position. It's just a matter of time....

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