You want to believe your kids. You want to believe that when they say they saw the bogeyman in their closet with blood soaked fangs, a sharpened ridge of spines on their back and a thirst for child flesh. You know, however, that it’s simply a shirt or some other outfit hanging in their closet that takes on the grisly form they described. Yet, you know that they think they saw it and you believe that they believed it.
My three year old is finishing up her first full year of Kindercare in a couple of months and it’s been a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because she gets that socialization and structured learning that she’s going to need. It gives my wife and my father-in-law a much needed break from having to watch her while I’m at work. It also gives my wife the chance to go back to work as well. The downside is that you get the four months of chronic ear infections and a membership to the green mustache brigade. You also get the reality check that your kid is a hellion at school as well as at home. Sometimes, we can bribe the kid for good behavior. For this week, we promised that if she was a good girl, we’d go to McDonald’s on Thursday night.
We did this because we had a bit of an issue with the little one drawing on chalkboards with unapproved writing tools. I picked her up on Tuesday and saw a chalkboard in her cubby. I have no idea why it was there, nor do I know why it had appeared to have been scribbled on with a marker. I gathered my kid from the next room and off we went. She immediately apologized to me for something. I asked why she was saying she was sorry. “I didn’t mean to do it. It was an accident. Are you mad at me?” I still have no idea what she had done. It was almost as if she was trying to get me to absolve her of any wrong doing before knowing what she had done. I asked her what happened. She rattled off a story about a chalkboard. I pieced together the fragments and figured out that she drew on the chalkboard with something other than chalk and got in trouble for it. The teachers did not tell me what happened and I didn’t ask. Putting a chalk board in the cubby doesn’t tell me much and there was nothing on her report that indicated there was a problem.
I asked my wife to inquire on Thursday when she dropped her off in the morning. When I talked to my wife that afternoon and remembered about the chalkboard, I asked if she had talked to the teacher but it was already too late to discuss it. I figured I would ask when I picked her up. When I went into her room at the end of the day, I saw the chalkboard in her cubby. It looked like it was still there from the other day. I gathered up all my kid’s things and went to go collect her, outside. I asked about the chalkboard and her teacher said she drew on it with marker before and then did it again, today. Now, I was upset. I had just had this heartfelt apology on Tuesday about the chalkboard with a promise that she’d never do it again and now I find out that she broke that promise.
Once we got in the car, I asked her why she drew on the chalkboard with marker.
She said, “I didn’t do that today.”
I said, “Your teacher told me you did it.”
“But I didn’t do that today.”
At this point, I noticed a difference in her voice. At anytime when she is lying about something she has a certain tone to her voice. This particular instance was different and it sounded totally sincere. But, I didn’t let her know that. I wanted to draw more information out of her and see if she really was telling the truth.
“Honey, why would the teacher lie? She has no reason to lie to me. You run the risk of losing McDonald’s.”
“Daddy, I didn’t do that today.”
“Ok, well, I want to really believe you.”
“I love McDonald’s and I want to go there.”
“I know. It’s just that I need to discuss this with your Mommy and decide if you deserve to go.”
“Daddy, I deserve to go.”
“Why do you deserve to go?”
“Because I want to go and I love McDonald’s.”
“OK, but I still plan on telling Mommy about the chalkboard and we’ll see.”
“You know what, Daddy?”
“Snitches are witches.”