Thursday, January 31, 2013

Guilty As Charged

One thing I've learned about being the mother of boys is that loyalty starts at birth.  Growing up as one of three girls, I witnessed a different  approach to sibling relations that centered mainly around well-held grudges and appearance-related insults.

But boys are different.

I'd heard before about boys defending each other, sticking up for one another, and experiencing a strong sense of camaraderie between brief bouts of roughing one another up.  This is the relationship I imagined for my children.

This is not the one we got.

They have managed, for as long as Graham could speak, to protect one another, but not in the traditional sense.  Instead, whenever a crime has been committed, they escape persecution by blaming each other, no matter the offense, so that the real perpetrator can't be revealed.  For years now, our daily conversations have gone this way.

"Who put my bra in the Christmas tree?" 

"He did it."

"No, he did it."

"Well that's helpful."

Since I knew I didn't put my own lingerie on display, I was pretty sure it was one of them.  If not, Joel had some explaining to do.  And this is how all investigations played out, until Tuesday when a sofa cushion and a smear of blue Sharpie marker caused me to pause and gather the evidence.

"Who did this?"

"He did it."

This could be tough.  Let's consider the suspects.

My neighbor boy that I watch was in the basement at the time and had no alibi.  But when I prompted him about the vandalism, he seemed genuinely innocent and preoccupied with his keys.

Cael's prior Sharpie-related conviction made him the obvious suspect, but the huge fort of blankets and pop-up tents he emerged from had clearly taken time to construct, and I was confident of his whereabouts.

The cat, while lacking the opposable thumbs necessary to hold a marker, was already on my list after wetting the guest bed, so I seriously considered detaining him in the laundry room for revenge, but decided against it.

Oscar is cute but not quite smart enough.

There was only one suspect left, but Graham assured me he wasn't there.  "I was going potty!" he exclaimed, and nearly naked appearance backed up his claim.  But there was something about his defense that left me feeling uneasy.  Maybe it was the tone of his voice, or the twinkle in his eye.

Or maybe it was the marker on his butt.

Case closed. 

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Leave your own "ism". Cael and Graham double-dog dare you.