I'm learning to not get all hot under the collar about honesty, particularly as it pertains to a certain 6-year-old boy. Because it seems that his definition of honesty is quite a bit different from mine.
This morning he locked himself in the bathroom for about 30 minutes. This isn't unusual, the bathroom is a favorite play-place of his. But normally there are sounds of water, or at least of toilet paper unrolling and being stuffed into his clothes to make padding so he can bounce off things without injuring himself (at least that was the theory).
Today there were no water sounds. After a little while, just a little tinkle, like of glass falling and hitting the counter.
Using my super-mama hearing, I decided it sounded just like my glass thermometer falling onto the counter. So I called in: "Max, that wasn't the thermometer, was it? Did it break?"
OK. Maybe it just fell and didn't break. That's fine. I go back to cleaning the cat litter boxes--fun! More time passes, child is still sequestered in the bathroom, still there are no sounds of water. You know how you know something is wrong because it's too quiet? Well, my mama senses were tingling. "Max, are you sure everything is OK?"
There's not much more to this story. He eventually came out of the bathroom and went into his room. I went into the bathroom to find a broken thermometer and a large bead of mercury on the counter. Then I went into his room to find him sitting on the bed, with a few beads of mercury around him on his bedspread. They must have gotten onto his pajamas and then fallen on the bed.
A call to the pediatrician, a call to poison control, looking up mercury clean-up on line. An hour later and we're mostly contained, rooms are ventilated, and we're off to clay class, where my still mercury-sensitized eyes are noticing every shiny thing on the side of the road and noting it so I can come back and pick it up with my eyedropper and take it to the hazardous waste facility. I still need to get powdered sulfur to bind any remaining mercury, and take everything (bedspread and pajamas included) to hazardous waste. And get a new, non-mercury thermometer.
It seems that honesty is situation- and age-dependent. At 6, being honest means telling the truth unless doing so would mean you don't get to play with the really cool mercury bead anymore. I had assumed that he wouldn't be able to lie so easily to a direct question, but I failed to take into account the allure of the mercury bead. I'm assuming that this will change as he gets older, but for now I must remember to not necessarily accept verbal assurance. If it's a case of health and safety, I'm going to require additional proof.
Max lost his first front tooth last week. He now has a lovely sibilant s sound, and can drink through a straw without opening his mouth. A very important talent, I'm sure.
He'd lost his bottom two front teeth a while ago. This top one has been loose for a looong time, maybe a month? Lately it had gotten very loose, so that he could do really gross things with it, so I'm glad it's out.
That's dad's Echo Lake hat (ravelry link here), which he'd stolen this afternoon. So yes, it's too big. I offered to make one that fits him, but he prefers dad's.
[Scene: darkened bedroom, middle of the afternoon. A frazzled mother is asleep on top of the bed. A 6 year-old boy bounds into the room, onto the bed, and next to his mother. Mother reluctantly begins to awaken.]
Boy: Mama, I need you to help me find my egg.
Mother: Hbmblmh? What egg?
Boy: My pink egg, with the skirt. I put it on the paper and it's not there.
Mother: Huh? Pink? Egg? What pink egg? What skirt? What paper?
Boy: My pink egg with the eyes and mouth and skirt. I put it on the paper on the big table, and then when I came back from looking at the cat food, it was gone.
[Twilight Zone music plays]
Mother: Cat food? You were looking at cat food? Why?
Boy: Because it's not a triangle like it was. And then my egg was gone. Come on and get up, mama, I'll show you the paper.
* * * * * *
You know how when you wake up from a nap at the wrong time, nothing seems to make sense? Like your brain is still off somewhere, even though your body is technically awake and functioning? Well, yesterday's (unintentional) nap was interrupted by a boy with a story that I think would seem irrational even under the best of circumstances.
For the record, his pink egg with the skirt is this one. He had put it on the dining table on top of a newspaper that was there. And then (here's the crux) had moved it to the playroom train table (or else the cats did). So when he returned from noticing that the cats' dry food was new and therefore differently shaped, his egg was not where he thought it should be. It all makes sense now, right?
In totally unrelated news, I'm having trouble with my mother. I don't want to go into details here, but it's obviously grief-related. Holidays are difficult, always were, even before my father died. I can't tell her this, but it makes me feel a little bit better to say it here: I'M GRIEVING TOO. I feel like I've lost both of my parents, because my mom doesn't want to talk with me. I know it's still really recent, but I do hope she's able to let us back in one day. OK, maybe that didn't make me feel much better. Writing it made it feel more real.
We're off to violin, Max will be playing in his group recital this afternoon.