The new series of Sherlock is already almost over. It’s like Christmas, there is a big sense of anticipation but when it comes down to it, you realise it’s all about three days that are over too soon.
Ok, there’s not quite as much anticipation for Sherlock as there is for Christmas. It’s a loose simile.
Over Christmas we had a mystery to solve in our house that turned into a bit of a parenting lesson. So here’s my Arthur Conan Doyle-style post about it.
A week before Christmas I bought our dog (black miniature labradoodle, goes by the name Caesar, approx 19kgs, brown eyes) a large bag of doggy biscuits. Four days after I bought them, they had ALL GONE. I approached my son and asked if he knew what had happened to them.
“So, you didn’t give Caesar any treats?”
“No, I didn’t.”
Hmm. I was sceptical.
“Ok, I believe you. Thanks for being honest.” And the topic was closed, the mystery left unsolved.
The next occurrence was shortly after Christmas Day, on which Caesar received a doggy stocking. He tore into the wrapping and got straight down to business on the green Christmas-tree-chew. There were beef jerky treats in a packet, and another packet of chicken-y chews. These went into the cupboard to be distributed gradually.
However, two days later I discovered both packets were EMPTY! They should have been at least half full.
RIGHT, THAT’S IT! I thought. Someone is about to be outed!
Instead of fully utilising my powers of deduction, I decide, based on previous over-generosity with dentastix leading me to consult google to check dog wouldn’t be poisoned, that my son is the perpetrator (blonde, brown eyes, about 3ft tall). I march up to the criminal, pause the telly, and pull out the bad-cop routine. (First mistake – should never be bad-cop-parent first and foremost)
“Did you give Caesar all of his Christmas treats?”
“Did you give Caesar all his Christmas treats? I just found both packets empty in the cupboard.”
“No, I didn’t.”
Note: this is where I use all my wisdom to gently and lovingly coax the truth out of my son… Wait for it…
In case you’re not familiar with sarcasm, this was not my best parenting moment.
“I’m not going to ask you again, did you give Caesar all his treats and were you lying about the other ones too?”
My son gives what hindsight tells me was a tell-tale side-glance at the paused telly.
Husband and I have a mini-conference about lying/irresponsible behaviour and decide son needs to come upstairs where we are tidying and sorting post-Christmas haul so we can supervise his untrustworthy behind, therefore he will miss Blaze and the Monster Machines.
He cries and then decides denial is the way to go again.
We decide he’s learned his lesson.
But, just as happens in Sherlock – when you think it’s all over, there’s another twist in the tale…
The big reveal
A week later, I go to feed the dog and find his box of food pouches is empty. I lift it out as well as an empty carrier bag that had treats and bones in and notice lots of little brown “bits” all over the bottom of the cupboard.
Then it dawns on me. They are not bits… They are droppings.
Deduction number two: all the dentastix I’ve given Caesar of late look chewed at the top… Peculiar, I had thought, then thought nothing else of it.
No. three: two packs of dentastix were open and I had only opened one. There were also droppings at the bottom of this multipack (honestly, do these creatures consume and evacuate at the same time?!) and little sweet shredding’s of packaging.
No. four: large gap at the back of the cupboard, which is a low cupboard, that vermin could easily crawl through.
No. five: said cupboard has a child-lock and only opens with a magnet that we keep high up. The accused has learned the art of dragging chairs across the kitchen and climbing up high, but when I considered it further, I realised before then I had never known him to help himself to the magnet.
No. six: the accused doesn’t tend to lie for long. It is easy to coax the truth out of him and I can tell when he’s lying. In fact, I was so sure that he doesn’t lie that I marched into school and told his teachers that he didn’t bite a couple of children who had accused him of that because he was so insistent that he hadn’t. Turned out no one had actually witnessed it and he was vindicated.
Well blow me down. MICE. After I had a mini-freak out at the thought, I commenced feeling like a complete dipstick for my behaviour.
“B, you know when I asked you if you gave Caesar all his treats?”
“Yes, I know. I realised that mice have been getting into that cupboard and eating Caesar’s treats. I’m really sorry I didn’t believe you.”
(Shrugs) “That’s ok!”
Parenting 101: Don’t be so quick to believe your kid is a liar. First, explore all options – exercise your powers of deduction.
Secondly, say sorry when you mess up. Kids forgive so easily.
Too easily sometimes.