My keys have been missing a lot lately. After 5 years of them always being in the same place in this house, they keep ending up between the couch cushions. I’ve been very confused by the phenomenon and wondering why I was suddenly so careless. My keys have ALWAYS been found on the counter or dryer. Why would they suddenly be on the couch?
Today I had a particularly impossible time searching for them. After 30 minutes of searching with my kids already strapped in the car, it finally occurred to me that maybe I wasn’t the one being careless with them, especially since when I asked Rose if she’d seen them she confidently reported they were on the big couch. They weren’t.
“Have you been playing with my keys and moving them?” I asked.
She said yes.
Which is a big no no. I mean, saying yes was good, but moving my keys? No. You shouldn’t do that. We can’t leave the house if I can’t find my keys.
And her moving my keys certainly explains why they are suddenly ALWAYS missing after always being on the counter or dryer for FIVE YEARS. I mean, sure, I could be messing up. I used to lose my keys all the time before we moved here. But since we got this house I can always always ALWAYS find them within 5 minutes.
I searched the house again for the keys and they weren’t turning up so I asked Rose if she’d put them in the garbage.
She said yes.
Needless to say, I was enraged. I yelled and lectured while I dug through the especially disgusting trash full of apple cores, open yogurts and bacon grease. Eventually I sent her to her room more to get her away from my anger than to punish her further.
The keys weren’t in the trash. Another twenty minutes later I found them under a Tupperware lid on a part of the counter where I have never in my life put my keys before. Still, it was probably me who put them there and not her. I had been on that side of the kitchen unloading groceries yesterday.
Rose hadn’t put my keys in the trash and was in trouble for something that had never happened. She was just saying “yes” to every question I asked and didn’t deserve to be in trouble. Her three year old brain apparently didn’t understand my questions and was just saying “yes”. I don’t even know if she’s been moving my keys at all (though I suspect she has). Maybe she thinks just touching my keys on the counter is “moving” them and that’s why she said yes.
I feel HORRIBLE. Like the worst mom ever. I just punished my kid and made her cry over something she never did. But she told me she did it! What was I supposed to do with that information? Yelling, of course, is never good, but when my kid tells me she put my keys in the trash, serene and quiet language doesn’t easily come out of my mouth. If you do something as awful as put someone’s keys in the trash, you are going to get in trouble.
We just had a long talk about how she didn’t deserve to be yelled at and she should always tell me about the bad things she’s done, BUT the reason she got in trouble was because she’d told me she’d done something bad WHEN SHE HADN’T DONE THAT. So if you haven’t done the bad thing, say “No, I didn’t do that.”
Sometimes the things you have to explain as a parent are truly surreal. “Don’t confess to a bad thing you didn’t do” seems like the obvious choice to me, but apparently I’m not 3 years old.