We were driving home from school two days ago, and Olivia shared with me that she got a red light at school. She is at that blessedly honest age where kids are willing to give you this information, and you hope that by not freaking out, they will continue to be open with you.
That notion was quickly squashed when I asked her in a patient and loving voice, "Well, what did you do to get a red light?" She said, "Oh, I don't remember." Well, of course I didn't believe her for a second. I usually let this slide, but for some reason, this time I decided to push it. Probably because I'm just as stubborn as she is, and I wanted her to know that she didn't get my goat.
"I don't believe you, Olivia," I said. "I know that you know how you got a red light."
"REEEEEEAAAALLLY, Mommy! (whiny tone now) I don't reMEEEEEMber!" she said. Over. And over.
Back and forth a few times, me being patient through gritted teeth. Why can't I just let it go? I decided I can't at this point, as it would go against my good parenting sense. She would then know that her little ruse worked.
"Well then," I said to her, "I'll just tell you now - there isn't going to be any swimming when we get home if you don't find a way to remember how you got that red light."
Now, it's hard to see the humor in the moment, since you can't watch her expression and hear her thinking noises. She really, and I mean really, thought that she was pulling one over on me. Finger on chin, tilted head, mouth scrunched thoughtfully to the side. Dramatic pause. Just enough time to locate that missing piece of information.
"You know, Mommy, I think I just rememebered how I got that red light," she said finally.
"Oh, really?" I said.
I don't even remember what she did...usually, it's either talking with her friend in class too much, or not sitting still in her chair. She got to swim for telling me the truth, and I admit I got the satisfaction of a successful parental questioning technique. I'd better enjoy it now, because I feel certain it won't be long before she perfects her technique, and it's going to be a lot harder to identify the half-truths and extract the information I need. *sigh*.