I have a raincoat very similar to this one, and every time I wear it, my husband asks me if I’m getting ready to take a bite out of crime. He’s hilarious that way. Sometimes he’ll drop random questions into conversations and it will take me a moment to get where he’s coming from.
“Did you find any?”
“Did I find any what?”
As a fan of mystery novels, I feel as though I have developed a decent set of deductive reasoning skills. Motherhood helps that as well. As a parent of four children who don’t like to take blame, I tend to subscribe to the Occam’s Razor way of looking at a situation- the simplest, most logical explanation is probably the truth.
Except with Malaysia flight 370- I’m sticking with the wormhole theory until I see a crashed plane.
When something happens in my house, and no one wants to cop to it, I typically apply the Occam’s Razor philosophy.
When I was about 5 or 6 years old, my sister Shannon had a cough. My mother had bought her cough drops. One night, the bag of cough drops went missing. No one took responsibility for the missing cough drops. After scouring our room, the cough drops were discovered UNDER MY PILLOW. I swore it wasn’t me. My sister Shannon swore it wasn’t her- after all, why would she hide her own cough drops? My sister Colleen swore it wasn’t her. My father decided to get to the bottom of it- literally. He told us if the person who did it would just confess it would be over, but if no one confessed he’d have to spank us all. I’m pretty sure it was an attempt to smoke out the true thief, but the perpetrator chose to let the innocents take the punishment.
It wasn’t until about 10 years ago that my sister Colleen finally admitted it was her. ( I already knew that. I mean, I knew it wasn’t me, and it didn’t make sense it was Shannon.)
Last week, Zoe stomped into my bedroom upset because someone had taken all of the covers off her bed and thrown them onto the floor. She started accusing Parker of doing it, because he had been angry with her earlier over a video game. He got very upset at being accused. I told her that it was unfair to go around accusing people of things when no one had seen who did it. Truthfully, I knew it had to be him, but I was trying to calm him down enough to get him to admit to it.
Zoe went in to take a shower and I went into her bedroom. Sure enough, it appeared that someone had stripped her bed in a fit of anger. I remade the bed and went back into my room. I attempted once again to calmly get Parker to admit to doing it. I told him I had already cleaned it up, but that it was important for him to take accountability for what he had done. He was steadfast in his denials.
Zoe came out of the shower and started in on him again. He went full martyr, crying and stomping off to his bed, his heart broken over “always taking the blame for everything” and “everyone acting like he’s the bad guy.”
I have to say, if it weren’t for the fact that it made no sense for it to have been anyone BUT him, I would have bought it. He seemed to have convinced himself, and his wounded act seemed very genuine.
The next day I was packing them up for their weekend with their grandparents, and when I went into Parker and Nathan’s closet, I found all of Nathan’s clothes flung off the shelf and onto the floor. It appeared to have been done in the same sweeping fashion as Zoe’s bed.
So as I was driving them 90 minutes south to meet up with their grandfather, Zoe was on her phone in the very back seat, and Parker was sitting behind me looking out the window. I thought it was a perfect opportunity to get him to admit what he had done, but I knew I had to approach it in just the right way. Here is how that conversation went:
Me: So, funny thing. I kind of need help solving a mystery.
Me: Well when I went to pack your stuff, I found all of Nathan’s clothes off the shelf and on the floor.
Me: It was sort of like when I went into Zoe’s room last night and found all the covers on the floor
Parker: That I DID NOT DO!
Me: Well, whenever I’m trying to figure something out, I ask myself a lot of questions. First, who had the opportunity to swipe all of Zoe’s pillows and blankets onto the floor? Who had the opportunity to throw all of Nathan’s clothes on the floor? I think only the people who live in our house, right? So then we need to think about why someone would do it. Can you think of a reason dad might have done it? Does that sound like something he would do?
Me: How about me? Does it make sense that I would do it?
Parker: Well sometimes you throw stuff on the floor when you’re cleaning.
Me: Yes, but not this time. See I had already organized Nathan’s clothes when I spent several hours cleaning and organizing your room, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense that I would throw his clothes on the ground. And why would I throw Zoe’s bedding on the ground if I was going to have to be the one to clean it up?
Parker: I don’t know.
Me: Does it sound like something Sydney would do?
Me: You know, I already cleaned everything up. If you did it, you aren’t going to get into trouble, I just need you to be honest.
Me: Does it make sense that Zoe would throw all her covers on the floor and then come in upset that it happened?
Parker: Well, maybe she did it to get me in trouble, and she thought you’d make me clean it up. Maybe she thought you’d clean up her room, but you’d make me clean up mine.
Me: But I cleaned up both. What about Nathan? Why would Nathan throw his clothes on the ground?
Parker: Maybe because he was looking for something.
Me: I don’t know. I mean, it looked like it was done in anger, probably by the same person. Do you remember anyone being angry yesterday?
Parker: Well me, but I didn’t do it.
Me: Do you think it’s possible- I’m just throwing this out there- that YOU did it, but you were so angry, like the Incredible Hulk, that you blacked out and don’t remember that you did it?
Parker: That has never ever happened. Never.
Me: If you were me, who would you think did it, based on all the evidence?
Parker: Probably me or Zoe. But it wasn’t me.
Me: Well SOMEBODY did it.
Parker: Well it WASN’T ME!”
Occam’s razor says Parker did it, but Occam would have a tough time getting Parker to admit it, too. He’s so convinced of his own innocence, I think I’m going to stick with my Hulk theory.