So, let me preface this post by saying, without reservations, I have the best kids ever.
Monster, 1.5 years old, is a smart, funny, loving toddler exhibiting many totally incredible problem solving skills.
Brat, soon to be 6 years old, is charming, sweet, smart, funny, clever, with a penchant for total chaos and devilry.
Bugs, soon to be 12 years old, is awesome. He is helpful, smart, funny, loving, charming and clever. Maybe too clever. Not for me, no child is too clever for me. He's too clever for his own good.
He spent the first couple days of summer vacation with his nana and grampa. They had a good time, and a lovely visit.
The girls and I went to my sister in laws' house for the weekend. I'd spoken with nana, and asked her to have Bugs home at 3pm on Sunday, in time for the Canada Day celebration and fireworks. No problem.
At around noon on Sunday, Bugs refused lunch from his nana, she offered to make something else, and he refused. So he convinced nana and grampa to take him home. That he wasn't hungry, didn't want what she was making, and grampa could take him home.
He was "old enough to know and have my keys to get in. Plus, dad is home."
What he neglected to tell them is that I wasn't home, and dad sleeps in ear plugs.
So, nana said, THREE times that she was going to give me a call and let me know that grampa was dropping him off. Bugs said, "No, don't call her" over and over again. And nana trusted our wonderful boy, and did as he asked, and didn't call us.
So, grampa took Bugs out for lunch, and dropped him off at home.
He didn't have his keys (he knew when he left on Friday that he didn't have keys because I asked him then if he had them). So, his plan was to play outside by himself, and get dad to let him in when he got bored with playing outside.
Only his plan backfired because dad sleeps so heavily. Bugs couldn't get in. He knocked, and knocked and couldn't get in.
And it was +30 degrees outside, plus 35 with humidity. It was HOT. Hot, hot, hot.
So, eventually, Bugs made his way across to his other grampa's house, and hoped that his grampa would be there to let him in (luckily for him, his grampa WAS home). Bugs implied to that grampa that his nana and grampa had dropped him off, willy nilly. Of their own accord.
He neglected to tell grampa #2 that he INSISTED on being taken home at that time. Knowing full well that I wasn't going to be home until 2 pm.
He omitted, thereby lying, that it was his own choice to be left outside. That he pretended to find keys that weren't there, so that grampa #1 would drive off and leave him there.
So, when I spoke with nana, to find out exactly what had happened, from their point of view that caused my child to be left outside (potentially for 3 hours), that is when I found out that Bugs had told them he had keys. Told them he could get in. Told them it was fine with me, and begged her not to call me to double check.
So, I pointed out to nana that Bugs saying, "NO! Don't call mom. Trust me, I know what is okay, and I have my keys, and I'm old enough (BLAH BLAH BLAH)" should have sent up HUGE red flags.
If there is nothing to worry about, then nana calling me shouldn't have been an issue. And I pointed out to nana that Bugs is quickly becoming a teenager, and NO TEENAGERS SHOULD BE TRUSTED.
Not to say that they are all bad, or even that they are all liars. But what's the harm in double checking their stories? What's the cost of letting them know that while we trust them, we are still going to verify what they tell us with someone else- someone older and possibly someone wiser?
I see no harm in letting my kids know that while I love them; would die or kill for them; when it comes to the little stuff- like whether or not a friend's parent said, "Yes, I'll pick them up and drop them off".
Or, "No, I don't have homework this year".
Or, "Don't call my mom, I can get in"- I will spend the two minutes to corroborate their story.
I call that good parenting. Because teenagers lie. Not necessarily to be 'bad' or to do something underhanded, sometimes they lie because it's expedient, and there is something they want.
I remember my own mother double checking EVERYTHING I said. It never bothered me- unless I was doing something I shouldn't have been doing. And yes, we went through a thousand hoops to make our stories more believable. But mom knew anyways. Because she bothered to check. And just KNOWING that she would check kept me from doing a thousand WORSE things- just in case.
Because that's what a good mother does. They double check everything a teenager tells them- until the teen is so convinced of being caught that they stop trying to lie. I told my mom just about everything, because I was firmly convinced she'd catch me anyways. I believed, and still do, that she is omnipotent, omnipresent, and all powerful: all knowing, all loving and all seeing. That's what I think a good mother should be.
And my momma is. In fact, I'm pretty sure she can see me right now. Fine. I put the crackers away. Happy?
EDIT: Bugs' punishment for this little episode was having to call grampa #2, admit that it was his own lie that got him into the scrape (and he did call, albeit bawling his eyes out the entire time) and write a letter of apology to his nana and grampa for intentionally misleading them into a precarious situation (where I could have placed the entire blame on them and been a complete bitch about it).
And the best part, the absolute best, was the part where I told him, had nana called me, I'd have given the okay for him to play outside- I'd have simply come home earlier. He was gobsmacked that he could have done what he'd wanted to do in the first place, simply by asking permission.