What’s the truth? What are you supposed to do when one child tells you one thing and another something else? Are you supposed to believe the one who doesn’t usually end sentences with ”…only joking!”; or the one who seems the most ernest? The most consistent story? Or the biggest puddle of tears?
”Mama, I didn’t break the mirror” Miss 6 informs me whilst showering in the morning. My curiosity rises through the roof, but I keep my cool… ”what mirror sweetie?”
”The wardrobe door”… Still keeping my cool, not the slightest bit aware of the extent of this broken glass but trying to remain very approachable and calm. I left the bathroom after a few minutes (which felt like forever) to unsuspiciously go and check in the bedroom. Sure enough the mirror door is chipped on the side and has a crack across the width of it. Miss 3 is sat on the floor playing. ”Hey honey… what happened to the mirror?” I ask, VERY unpresuming. Her story is clear, no deviations, no hint of overt fantasy… The lawyer in me believes her!
Back in the bathroom, Miss 6 tells me that she thinks I probably did it when I moved the wardrobe last week! Which I wasn’t really buying and which swiftly turned into an accusation at Miss 3, and denial denial denial. I hadn’t even asked her if she’d done it! I hadn’t even begun to say anything about it… But I was quite quick to intervene and suggest that she stop repeating that it wasn’t her. In my ’mama wisdom’ (haha – that’s a joke!!) I was thinking it was better for her not to repeat a mantra of denial incase she had done it… Is it maybe easier to return from a path you’ve hinted at, rather that one you’ve sprinted down.
A whole chain of thought was developing about how I would really like to lovingly encourage an environment where it’s absolutely ok to tell the truth, or just straight out own up to things. There’s never any point beating yourself (or anyone else for that matter) up about something that was an accident. Things are going to get broken. What started out as a game can absolutely end up in an unexpected destruction. I think we’ve been quite consistent about just saying ”whoops!” and reacting very calmly when glasses, bowls, plates, jugs, possessions in general have been accidentally knocked and shattered. ”Are you ok?… Did you get a shock?… Whoops! Let’s clean it up…” A telling sign of this consistency was when at 2 and 3 years old our oldest broke a few things at her grandparents and others houses, and just said ”whoops!”, it didn’t seem quite so appreciated a reaction in those instances :-(. So we had definitely added ”sorry” to the repertoire.
What now? Whilst having these calm thoughts in my head the situation had just escalated. Miss 6 had now come up with two additional ideas of how it probably happened – none of which include me having done it, this time – but each interspersed with more denial, and tears. ”Why do you think Miss 3 says it happened like this …?”, ”I just don’t know mama!” …”But why do you think she’s saying that?”. Yes, I was certainly feeling like the mock lawyer competition at college (Trial by Jury) was coming into it’s own at that moment! …Retrospectively I realise I was quite naively thinking I’d be able to ’trick’ an answer out of my ’oh much too clever for that’ 6 year old!
More tears! She was definitely translating this entire line of questioning into accusations… Which I hadn’t even begun with in my mind… Yes – we all think differently! ”But I DIDN’T DO IT Mama! …I DON’T KNOW WHY she’s saying that …Why don’t you believe me?!”
Mr M comes in and expresses that I might not be handling this so well! Unbelievable, I could just hit my own head against the wall… I want to encourage a calm, peaceful, loving, caring environment where it’s ok to just tell the truth… That’s all I want to express here! And my very efforts have resulted in none of the above!
So going back to my first question, what are you supposed to do?
We dropped it, went down to have breakfast; haven’t talked about it since (2 days ago); still don’t have a good answer! But later that same day someone says the phrase ’perfect love casts out all fear’ …Was that the hammer hitting the nail on the head? Whatever I was doing, it would appear that Miss 6 didn’t feel it as LOVE! And there we are, right back to where I started at Christmas and in January, Love Languages (see here); and how to communicate to my 6 year old in such a way that she feels LOVED.
As far as the mirror goes, it’s quite possible that nobody knows 🙂