My son is on a coloring kick. I bought him two new coloring books yesterday because he stayed home sick and I wanted him to have something else to entertain him besides me. (This back fired as I was forced to color tiny parts of almost every page in EACH coloring book while he decided my next color or my next part to color or how to breath or how I should do my hair and my make-up...you get the point.) One of the coloring books came with four over-sized crayons (monotone: "yaaaaa"), which have quickly become THE only crayons that are worth his attention in this house.
One of the first things he wanted to do this morning was to color. I had tried to put the crayon bowl away in hopes he would just forget about it, but he wore me down with about ten "Where is it, Mommy?" and I told him where I put them. He picked out the four over-sized crayons, brought them over and left them by the couch.
Now, it might seem odd that we let him have at the crayons whenever he wants at his young age of three, but he's actually a really good kid when it comes to doing the "right" thing versus the "I'm three and don't really know any better" thing.
Fast-forward to this evening. Our norm is him running into the living room, taking his shoes and jacket off, and sitting on the couch while I get his milk and cereal bar for a snack (yes, the boy likes cereal bars, okay?). Today, as I'm pouring the milk, I hear, "Oh! I'm going to cover it!"
Ding-ding! My mom brain kicks in.
"What are you covering?" I asked. And yes, I really did expect an honest answer because, well, that's just who he is as a person. I turned around to look, and he was lying belly-down on the couch. Odd, I thought.
"What are you doing?" I asked him.
He peered over the couch arm with his big baby browns, all innocence.
"I want a wipe, Mommy," he said.
"What do you want a wipe for?" I asked. "Did you get boogers on something?" He's been a snot factory for days now and I figured he leaked so much it go on he couch.
"Mommy," he said seriously, "I want a wipe."
I walked over, grabbed two wipes, and said, "What are you doing with them?" Instead of expecting an answer, I stood and waited for him to do what a 3-year old would do: Do exactly what he wanted to do with the wipe without trying to hide it.
As he bent up into a push-up position, I saw the long, yellow crayon mark on the couch.
"Uuuuuuuccccchhhhh!" I inhaled. "Teeeeeoooooooo."
He rubbed furiously.
"It's okay, Mommy," he told me.
"Teo, just stop. I'll clean it."
He immediately crumbled. He grabbed his "monster friend" (an ugly doll), pushed his face into monster friend, and refused to look at me.
See, I know something he doesn't know. When we bought the couch years ago, we had it scotch-guarded by the furniture store prior to delivery. And, as the years of odd spills have proven, the scotch guarding works. So even though it was crayon, and I wasn't sure what to do to get it off, I wasn't too worried about it.
What did worry me was that we are now entering the phase of guilt and trying to cover up what we've done wrong. That I do not like.
So I talked to him, told him I wasn't mad, that it wasn't good that he did that and not to do it again, but it'll be okay, and I will clean it for him.
He wouldn't look at me. He wouldn't eat or drink. He was self-punishing. Finally he said he wanted to eat his bar, and I told him to. While he did that, I got the rug cleaner and figured I'd give that a try. As I was rubbing the crayon out (it did work), he decided he had to "help" me by rubbing the paper towel with me.
I told him not to sit on that part of the couch so it could dry.
When my husband came home, my son made a big production about not sitting on the part of the couch because it had to dry, but when my husband asked why it was wet, our boy only said, "it's wet, Daddy, it needs to dry." He's 3, which means he's not so great at lying, but he's no dummy.
(I texted the whole scenario to my husband before he came home, and I also told him not to say anything to the boy about what happened because I already did and the poor kid didn't need a dad-induced guilt trip since he did a self-induced guilt trip fairly well. Plus, I'd like to cultivate a parent-child relationship where we have complete honesty with each other and he won't be afraid to tell us anything.)
(Yes, I know I live in a dream world.)
(And yes, I lie about Santa and the Easter Bunny, but those are okay falsehoods.)