Mornings, during the school year, are always a little harried around my house. My oldest son stays home to catch the bus to his school, but the rest of us must gather our things and try and be in the minivan by 7:20 am. There are always problems. Sam may not be able to find his Power Ranger motorcycle to take to day care, or Savannah may be angry at the world because she was forced to get up too early. But not today.
Today, everything was great until I opened up Sam's door to get him in his booster seat. Sam is four and while that means he can't find his socks in the middle of the floor, he notices just about everything else.
I hear him yell, "Eeeeww! That's nasty!"
"What?" I say with the exhaustion of a parent that hasn't slept 8 hours in a row since before my first child was born.
"There is Jell-O on the seat."
Sure enough, under the edge of his booster seat is what appears to be an entire cup of orange Jell-O that has escaped the boundaries of the little aluminum foil covered cup that is been mysteriously opened, and tilted. It seems that often a parent's job is to be a detective and discover the culprit to every misdeed. I don't always understand the point of finding out who did something, but being well trained in this aspect of parenting, I automatically queried, "Did you do this Sam?"
"Not me," he answered with the coolness of a chilled cucumber.
"So the cup is under your seat, but you didn't do it?"
"Nope," he said as a halo began to form over his head.
"Ok, who did it? I know your brother didn't do it because he didn't eat his lunch on the way home from daycare in the five minute trip from the YMCA. I didn't do it, and your mom didn't do it. So, who did it?"
"Maybe Savannah did it."
Savannah is now getting into the car and has no idea what we are talking about, but at six, and stuck between the two boys in the family, she doesn't need to know what's going on. She knows the right answer. "It wasn't me."
As a good detective, I had to run down the list of suspects one more time. "I didn't do it. Your mom didn't do it. Calvin didn't do it. Savannah didn't do it, and Sam, you didn't do it. So who dumped the orange Jell-O on the car seat? Wait, I know! Maybe it was an alien."
It is wonderful to see the wheels turning in a child. Sam shouts, “Dad! I know what happened! While you, and mom, and Calvin, and Savannah, and Ducky (the cat), and Kona (the dog), and I were all asleep, a Nightmare snuck out of the closet. He came down the stairs, and went out to the car, and he dumped Jell-O all over the seat."
By now, I have finished cleaning up all of the Jell-O mess. Amy turns to me and says, "Do you buy that story?"
"Sounds like a good one to me!"