Innocent Until Proven Guilty

Last night while my little ankle biter was finishing eating his dinner – wait, check that…  Last night while my little ankle biter was finishing playing with his dinner – yes, that’s more accurate – I decided to multi-task and unload the dishwasher.  The dog supervised as we chatted back and forth about politics, healthcare, apple juice versus fruit punch, and other topics relevant to a 20-month old.  When I put the last utensil away I walked over to his high chair to see that every morsel of food was gone.  I know for a fact he didn’t eat it; once he starts stacking bites on his sippie cup I know the eating portion of the night is done.  So naturally I assumed he fed it to the dog, which is something I strongly discourage him from doing.

I bent down to eye level and said “Tot, did you feed your dinner to the dog?”  He looked at me, confused, and didn’t say anything.  He knew I was being serious mommy.  So I asked him again, “Junior, did you give your dinner to the dog?  Did you?”  I took his lack of response as a yes, because naturally he’d say “NO” if he didn’t do it right?

I sighed, wiped off his hands and told him it was time to get up.  He still seemed perplexed as to why I was frustrated.  When I pulled out the tray of his high chair I saw a pile of sandwich pieces wedged between his sweet little thigh and the seat cushion.  He hadn’t fed a morsel to the dog…  At that moment I felt like a poopy Pamper.  Although I never yelled at him, I was sternly trying to get him to admit that he’d done something wrong, when in fact he hadn’t even thought about it.

I picked him right up, told him I was sorry and that he was such a good boy, and gave him a nice hunk of angel food cake.  I put multi-tasking on the back burner, perched him on my lap, and we watched Mickey Mouse Clubhouse together for 30 minutes.   It’s not like he’ll be permanently scarred from that 22-second interrogation; the cake and Goofy far made up for my false accusations.  But I mentally swatted myself on the bare leg for jumping to conclusions.  He’s not even two; he’s going to feed the dog and break stuff and tell silly white lies and tag things around the house with crayons.  I know it, but sometimes I just forget…  I’m not good at admitting when I’m wrong to my husband, but somehow it was second nature to apologize and tell my son what a dingdong I was.  I think it’s because I know he won’t use it as ammunition later; well at least not for a few more years…

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