A couple days ago Jake informed me that his water bottle was leaking. His $10 water bottle that Target is perpetually out of (I've tried to buy more) because everyone and their brother swears by this water bottle because it doesn't leak.
So, I looked at it, and sure enough it had a huge leak. Huge. I was completely frustrated. There were no cracks or holes or anything. Upon closer investigation (and honestly through dumb luck) I undid a little piece near the top and flipped it around hoping it would seal the spout tighter. Sure enough, it worked great; no leaks! I told Jake it was fixed and explained what had happened:
Me: Somehow this plastic thing got flipped around and wasn't sealing the spout. But, it's fixed now.
Jake: I didn't do it...I...
Me: [bending to his level and speaking in a matter-of-fact voice] Jake: I'm not blaming you. I have no idea how it happened. Maybe one of us accidentally attached it wrong after it was washed. Maybe one of your friends at school thought it would be funny to flip it around. I have no idea, but it's fixed now so it's fine.
I proceeded to go on with our previous conversation, but Jake was curiously quiet. After a bit he said:
"Mom...I have to tell you something. I actually did that. I was playing around with it and it popped off and I put it back on. I'm sorry for not having told you the truth."
Could someone explain to me what a parent is supposed to do in this situation? I mean...I honestly didn't see this coming from anywhere! I took a breath, gave him a hug and said I appreciated his honesty and we all make mistakes, but we learn from them. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to make it look like I knew all along that he had done this.
I told Mike later and he said, "Finally...you were able to make the guilt work!"
The thing is: I WASN'T EVEN TRYING!
Can you imagine what would be possible in this house if I honed this new "Mom-Guilt" ability and actually put it to use?
Jake and I went about our business but about five minutes later he came up, gave me a hug and said, "I'm so glad I told you about all that. I feel so much better now."
And without knowing he just zapped me of any evil-genius I was planning with my new-found power.