As a parent, I now realize how idiotic a child’s “version” of an event sounds. When I was a small boy, “someone” in my family drew on the wall of our house. My brother and sister were, and still are, quite accomplished artists. The drawing (referred to in our family for all of time as “The Michelin Man”) was at best, anatomically challenged and artistically bereft.
I, of course, wanting to avoid punishment, denied any culpability (to this day, in fact). At the time, I thought my cunning plan of outright and stoic denial to the “alleged” offence was watertight. Now I know my lie was as obvious as if I had been caught, crayon in hand.
Thankfully, Missy rarely tries to cover things up. She is much more likely to throw herself down, burst into tears, and confess like a habitual car thief, high on sodium pentothal.
This presented a little problem recently. I was in the kitchen, bumbling along, preparing Missy’s dinner. Well, to be honest, preparing it “man-style”. That meant nothing came together anywhere close to when they were suppose to, and food items were spending equal amounts of time in the pan and on the floor.
Missy was with me because as well as being quite the accomplished (if miniature) cook, She loves to be around while food is being prepared – or if I’m cooking – while the can is being opened.
This day I had abandoned canned beans on toast and opted for more of a gourmet meal.
So, the fish fingers were ready, but the peas were still frozen; the cucumber wasn’t sliced and the corncob was still boiling away. In my rush to try and get things moving, some peas escaped onto the floor.
Let me firstly say, in our house, we, well me anyway, strictly adhere to the 3-second rule. You know it? If not, it is a rule, handed down from generation to generation, stating that: Any food items that fall on the floor, and are picked up in under 3 seconds, are deemed safe from germs and fit to eat. Now, I haven’t had this fact scientifically tested, but I am sure it’s true. In my childhood house, the timing of those 3 seconds was, um; let’s just say it was not up to Olympic standards.
So, back to the present – the peas were on the floor, waiting for the “3 seconds” to expire. I told Missy not to touch them while I busily tried to get this highly complicated and culinary challenging meal ready. I mean, frozen vegetables and fish fingers; it would make a compelling MasterChef episode.
As I began to plate the meal, or in my case it was a bit more like being served in the chow line at a military camp, than delicate food placement, I notice the peas mysteriously gone from the floor (or “holding area” as I prefer to call it). A guilty looking child looked up at me.
“Did you eat those peas, Missy?
“Darling, you won’t get into trouble, I just want you to tell the truth”
“I didn’t eat them, Daddy”.
This went back and forth for far too long, and me being me, I couldn’t let it go. I interrogated her as if she was a Russian spy, caught in an air-conditioning duct at the Pentagon. I knew she was guilty, and I wouldn’t let up till I got a confession.
Then she started to cry. A HA! Here was my chance to use her emotional state against her. But even in tears, she displayed a firm, Navy Seal kind of teary determination. Suddenly, I began to doubt myself. Maybe she didn’t eat them? All of a sudden, I am the guilty one. I have falsely accused my daughter and made her cry. Bad Daddy!
To this day, although I have let the incident go, sort of, I wonder. Has Missy inherited my stoic denial gene? The peas were on the floor, and then they were gone. We don’t have any pets, and as far as I know, peas can’t spontaneously move…
Maybe I should refer to my wife’s opinion:
“Enough with the peas! Get over it!!
I will make a note in my diary to ask Missy at her 21st birthday.