Not Me!


When I was a kid I thought these Family Circus comics were so funny!

Can you imagine a bunch of kids all saying it wasn’t them? That would be so crazy! I was an only child, and only once, once in my entire life was I ever not responsible for some transgression I was accused of. Left the oreos open? Me. Milk on the counter? Me. Toys on the floor? Me. Once–once–I was not, in fact, the person who ate all the Cheetos. My dad was. Ah, that was a great day.

But now I have four kids–or, more relevantly, three kids. One is ten, and asked if he left his popsicle stick on the counter he will say “oh–sorry!” and throw it away.

Then there are the other three. They say, in unison, “not me!”

And one of them is lying.

And it makes me way, way angrier than it should. Not because I think the liar will grow up to be a politician or cable television call center representative, but because, pretty simply, there is a sticky popsicle stick on the counter. Again. And again. Because there is bowl of crackers in the basement where no food is allowed. Again. Because there is a big pile of paint-covered paper towels on the table. Again. And it feels like there always will be.

Tonight was particularly stupid. Rory and Wyatt each bought Silly Putty today. The same kind, of course. And at the same moment, they both placed their hand on the same blue egg on the counter and said “that’s mine!”

The other egg was sitting, open, on the other counter. Its mate was on the floor. Its putty has yet to be seen, although I have no doubt it will turn up in the carpet or stuck to a sofa cushion or the dog soon.

There was no way to tell whose egg it was. They both insisted. I put MY Silly Putty BACK IN THE EGG! I put it on the counter! RIGHT HERE!

Evidence pointed to Rory as the lying party. She had a Silly Putty earring on one ear, and a matching Silly Putty earring had been seen on her other ear minutes before and had then been picked up from the floor immediately behind her. But they weren’t big earrings. They could have come from the putty in the egg on the counter. Hell, I don’t know how much Putty is in a Silly Putty egg. It looked full. But really, I have no idea.

I admit to being just totally, unjustifiably angry. One of them was being really unfair to the other. They bought the Silly Putty with their own money. And now I really should take it away from them both. I tried to force them to find the other Silly Putty. Then Rory declared that she didn’t care and would take the piece that had been earrings. But by then I was mad, too mad to let it go. One of you is LYING, I said.

I really do know you’re not supposed to get all worked up about that. But it’s so hard not to. I mean–I really think one of them knows. Very little time had elapsed. And if I’m honest, I think Rory was lying. I think she thought I’d be even angrier, and this time at her and her alone. But I’m not sure.

In the end, I called them both liars too many times. I made the whole Silly Putty thing un-fun for everyone. Rory decided to take the small piece and the empty egg. Wyatt said, “see? She was lying!” But I really don’t know. He can be just as bad i not worse. It took me twenty minutes to get over being generally pissed about the whole thing.

And then I gathered them up, those three little ones. And I said, look. One of these days I’m going to know. You’re all going to say “not me!” and it’s going to turn out that I know that only one of you had an orange popsicle. You’re all going to deny being the kid who came in and used my favorite purple pen to color all over my office blotter pad, and I’m going to look at one of your hands and find ink. I’m going to mark your lollipop sticks, and when one of you throws it on the floor of the car, I will know.

I’m sorry. I know it’s pitiful. But this is going to be my mission for at least the next week.

One Response to “Not Me!”

  1. Gina says:

    Don’t wait to know who did it. Just tell them you
    DO know(even if you don’t). You’re the mom, the all powerful great and wonderful mom, you Know It All.
    When she finally asks, how did you know? I tell my daughter I can see it in her face. She does have a “tell” a teeny tiny smirk when she lies, no one else can see it, I can because I Am Mom.
    I say, I already know who did it, I am just waiting for that big kid to come to me with the truth.
    And there is a wait, it never comes right away when
    I want it, I’ve learned to wait her out.

    Trust your own instincts. If you are wrong, you can always apologize and that is another great lesson your kids can learn from you…I know my daughter learns best by example…If I show her how to do something, she gets it way faster than from my lectures.

    It’s never a good idea to call them liars…don’t label your kids. Especially Rory, she’s probably already doing too much of that in her own head.
    Plus, you don’t want any self-fulfilling prophecies
    when they are teens! …well, she always said I was
    a liar…