I can hear the PC brigade tutting at me already.
You can’t say that!
Yes I can. I can say that because it’s true.
It might not be PC.
But if Bill Cosby can say it, then I can too.
Today started so nicely. All the kids are doing their chores, things are going smoothly, all is calm on the home front.
I’m straightening our walk in pantry. I notice the shopping bag of chocolates, treats that I purchased for the school holidays, are a little…askew.
The plastic shopping bag, which was tied shut, is open. The Freddo Frogs and Mini Mars Bars are open wide and half missing. There are empty wrappers in the bag.
Why do they leave evidence? Why? If they would just put things back how they found them I would never know. Geez. My sister and I were never this stupid.
Brain damage right there.
So I’m standing in the pantry having a parental dilemma. A debate with myself.
If I pretend I haven’t seen it, I don’t have to punish them….again.
And then they get away with it.
Yes, but it’s just chocolate. Not a big deal.
I know but is a Freddo Frog really worth the hassle?
Today it’s a Freddo. In 4 years it’s your car in the middle of the night.
This debate goes on for a while. I know that I have to make a decision. I either have to walk away and pretend I didn’t see it. Or I call them in and hold an inquisition. The problem is, as soon as they know that I know there must be consequences.
As much as it might appear otherwise, I really don’t like punishing my kids. I don’t. I hate it. I try not to have to do it. If I punished them for every single thing I’m sure they’d spend their entire childhood in solitary confinement. I have to pick my battles.
Is this one of them?
The things children put you through. I never in a million years would have thought that I would be standing in the pantry trying to decide whether to reveal to my children that I know what they’ve done. Who knew, pre-parenting, that such dilemmas even exist?
So in the end I decide that I have to deal with it.
The frog is small, the bigger issue is, well… big.
I call four kids into the kitchen and I already know who the culprits are. I know their signs.
Captain Clumsy and Princess are clueless. Deflector and Actor and looking at their feet, trying to pretend that they have no idea why I have called them.
This is the point of no return. They know that I know.
“Who stole the chocolates?”
Princess: “What chocolate?”
Deflector: “Umm. I don’t know.”
Actor: Looks at Deflector. He says nothing.
I rephrase my question. You can’t ask children unspecific questions. Who stole the chocolate? has SO much wriggle room. What are you doing Rachael? That’s a rookie mistake.
“CC, did you take the chocolates?”
“Huh? Chocolate? We have chocolates?”
“Princess, did you take the chocolates?”
“No? What Chocolates? Can I have a chocolate?”
“Deflector, did you take the chocolates?”
He pauses. I’ve got him. He mumbles something and I catch the word ‘one’.
A lie. He did not have one. Despite the fact that I tell him repeatedly that stealing one thing is the same as stealing one hundred things, he still thinks if he says ‘just one’ he might get off lightly. Brain Damage.
“Actor, did you take the chocolates?”
“Well, yeah. I did. I had one.”
Sigh. Give me strength.
What happens next you should never ever do. Don’t do this at home people. You’ll only make it harder on yourselves. I don’t know why I did it. Frustration perhaps. I really should know better. I have no excuse.
“Why guys? Why!?”
“I don’t know.”
“Yes you do. You do know. And you know that you are not allowed to take things that do not belong to you. That’s stealing. Why would you steal from me?”
“I don’t know “
“I don’t know is not an answer. Why?”
“I don’t know.”
Mr Cosby is right. I am right. Children really are brain damaged.
And my brain damaged children are now not going to the cinema with their friend this afternoon.