The case of the missing Mario Brother ….

Recently Connor received a Nintendo DS for his birthday.  He has been wanting one for more than a year.

Initially his argument was because EVERYONE at school had one.  I said: “Everyone?” and he said: “Yes, everyone!”

I indicated that surely everyone could not actually mean all 700 + kids, but he assured me that EVERYONE does actually mean EVERY O.N.E!

Once I ran through his class, it then became apparent that maybe 1 child per grade has one ….. maybe ….. which clearly shows that Connor has the ability to stretch the truth ever so slightly.

But moving back to reality.

A discussion ensued and Kennith and I agree that we are not wildly in favour of flipping a child a R1500.00 (or there abouts) item and saying “there you go enjoy!”

We are more in the school of, well yes we can afford the item, but we would like you to contribute towards it so that if-it-gets-lost-or-gets-dropped-into-the-toilet-then-you-feel-slightly-more-remorseful school of thought.

So we hatched a plan that involved Connor doing odd jobs and sundry and saving half toward the unit.  It was great.  I had a dedicated person-who-picks-up-dog-poo and also can be paid to keep his sister quiet on Saturday mornings so I can sleep in.  There were really only pro’s on this one.

<the con was that he would not do anything unless there was money involved>

Worked well, lad was really committed.  He saved the money.  We took the money from him and went and bought him a Nintendo for his birthday.

Listen I am totally fine with you getting all righteous on me, that we should have let him keep the money and then bought him a Nintendo anyway, but that is not the way we roll.

To sooth the guilt of fleecing our child, we did go and buy him at least 10 Nintendo games to get him started.  He got a super cool game station and a “klomp” (see me rocking it northern suburbs style!) of games for his birthday and Christmas combined.

Anyway, happy lad!

The rule we set in place is that he is not allowed to take the station or the games to school.  They are not to leave the house without permission from us.  Connor agrees, and everyone appeared happy.

Nintendo was a bit of happiness, and Connor’s fine motor and eye co-ordination improved.  He was really good about not playing it all the time, and we were all happy campers over in Parow Land.

About two weeks ago Kennith is doing stock take of Connor’s games and realizes that two are missing.  Kennith goes off his head.  Connor starts to have a panic attack.  Everyone is running around the house trying to find these games.

<the games by the way are about 30 x 20 x 5mm – so not terribly big>

Games are not found, Kennith is really upset, Connor is crying.

I am trying to remain level headed (for once – this might actually be the only time!)  My theory is that if they have not left the house then they are in the house.  If they are in the house they will pop up sooner or later.  Theory make sense.

About a week later Pepe finds one of the games!  Three cheers all around.  Supports my theory that they are just in the house …. somewhere.

But still no Super Mario Brothers.

Still trying to be the voice of reason.

I contact one or two of Connor’s friends and some kids have been over here with their Nintendos and there is a good chance that Connor’s game could have ended up with another kid’s pack.

This afternoon (it’s been over two weeks now) I get an sms from another mom who has a child in Connor’s class.  She tells me that the aftercare teacher has found a Super Mario Brothers game and could it belong to Connor?

Okay so the scenarios are as follows.

  1. It is Connor’s game and it is at school.
  2. It is not Connor’s game and his is still missing.
  3. I could just go and buy another game and drop it behind the couch and miraculously wait for Pepe to find it.

The possible outcomes are as follows.

If …. it is Connor’s game and it is at school.

Then young master Connor is going to be in a world of trouble, for two reasons.  He took the game to school against our permission and also has been lying about it after repeated questioning.

If …  it is not Connor’s game and his is still missing.

Then young master Connor has shown that he is actually a bit “loskop” with his belongings, which does not bode well for future big ticket item purchases.

If …. I could just go and buy another game and drop it behind the couch and miraculously wait for Pepe to find it

This seems the most humane plan, however if it gets dropped behind the couch and weeks pass, then my issue is going to turn to Pepe as then I am going to keep glaring at her each day thinking “move the couch and clean woman!!!”

So after the discovery of the game at school, it would seem there is no way to prove whether it is his game or another kid’s.  There is no unique serial number and they all look identical.

Kennith feels strongly that it is.

My issue is that it is circumstantial.

It is the same game, at the same school, in the same after-care, and has been mentioned by a kid who Connor probably spends the most time in his day with.

If this kid knew that Connor NEVER brought his game or the unit to school, why would he think THIS game belonged to Connor? Suspicious isn’t it?

Kennith feels strongly that Connor is lying.

I have to believe Connor is telling the truth, even in the face of overwhelming circumstantial evidence that appears to indicate his guilt.

If I believe that Connor is lying, even though he is standing before me promising me to my face that he telling me the truth, then when can I believe him?

I think of all those kids whose main gripe is that they do not talk to their parents because their parents do not trust them.  The old litany so often heard from kids of “well, they think I am doing xyz anyway, I might as well just do xyz as it does not matter!” goes through my head.

When all is said and done I need to believe that Connor is telling the truth.  I actually can’t believe anything else.

If I believe he is lying about this, then the result is that I probably can NEVER believe him again, about anything.

Or maybe I am being too black and white about this issue.

Maybe kids lie.  Maybe they just do.  Maybe as parents we need to try to always believe that our children are telling the truth.  And when they lie (because all children must at some point) then we must be disappointed, but not allow it to cloud our judgment of our children going forward.

Keep the faith even when they lie and lie and lie to our faces.

Here is the rub, I am struggling with that concept.

I need to believe that no matter what my children do, not matter how much crack they sell at pre-primary, they will always tell me the truth.

I have many faults, but I like to believe when the chips are down and the wine bottle is empty, I am honest.

I have learnt that maybe not everyone wants to hear the truth, so I try to blurt out “truths” unless someone asks.  But I like to believe that I am truthful and if you ask for my opinion or ask me a question I give you the truthful answer.

I like to believe that I have instilled this principle in my children – especially Connor.  I have been telling him the “boy who cried wolf” story since he was a babe on the breast.

I am so hoping we find the Super Mario Brother’s game and then Kennith can be ashamed of believing Connor is a liar.   For me right now I have to believe he is telling the truth, and at the same time appreciate that Kennith and I differ on this issue.

<why does Toys R Us not stock a decent polygraph test? >

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12 Comments

  1. Charne

     /  February 15, 2011

    Another scenario: you “plant” another game behind the couch, Pepe finds it (hooray), everyone happy until 2 weeks later it turns out Connor was telling the truth when the “real” lost game turns up (everyone confused) ‘cos you now have 2 Super Mario Bros Games. Yikes.

    Reply
  2. We always want to believe the people closest to us are being honest with us.. And, it’s great of you to be giving Connor the benefit of the doubt – it’ll make a huge difference on your relationship if you don’t fly in accusing him straightaway.
    Could it be what Luddite Lass said? That’s the first thought that popped in to mind for me..

    Reply
  3. Ginger

     /  February 15, 2011

    I’m a believer in natural consequences. If you do nothing, then Connor will resolve this his way. If it’s his game and he’s the one who took it to school, then he will have to decide if it’s worth A) admitting he took it to school in order to get the game back, and having to face you. Or B) not doing anything about it and having to face the fact he lost it because he made a bad decision by taking it to school.

    If it’s not his game (or if it is and the friend took it) then Connor also knows this and will be faced with the loss of the game as his consequence. Hopefully teaching him to keep better track of his stuff (and friends).

    Regardless if he’s lying or not, bottom line is that action he caused (or didn’t cause) resulted in the game being gone. Therefore he is the one who needs to feel the pain of the situation.

    If you do anything to facilitate getting the game back (or replacing it) then it just teaches him that he can screw up and someone will always swoop in and solve the problem. My son lost his DS at Connor’s age and we didn’t replace it. Plus his sister (the little scammer) required payment to let him play with hers. Lesson learned. And he’s taken very good care of everything he’s bought since then.

    Reply
    • Claire

       /  February 16, 2011

      That is brilliant, children need to learn that there is a consequence for every action. Leave it to him to decided which is the best scenario.

      Reply
  4. scaredmom

     /  February 15, 2011

    lol RM

    Your stuck between a rock and a hard place.

    Reply
    • reluctantmom

       /  February 15, 2011

      Totally, but Kennith tells me that when we get the game, we can stick it into the Nintendo and it will have a game history on it, which will then show us whether it is his game or not. Of course how it got there will remain a mystery (or not).

      Reply
  5. Luddite Lass

     /  February 15, 2011

    Maybe he is tellling the truth. Maybe the game did get mixed up with one of his friend’s games and that friend took it to school and after-care. Just a thought.

    Reply
  6. Claire

     /  February 15, 2011

    Im with Po, worked the same with me.

    But is it possible that one of his friends took it while at your place, then said friend left it at school and the other mom called you cos she knew you were looking for the game, as you had called around looking for it……

    Reply
    • The friend that made you do it

       /  February 15, 2011

      Am also thinking this is a very likely scenario. Also, have you told Connor that the DS may not be taken out without your permission but not expressly that the games may not be takenout without your permission. Kids can be very literal about things like this. We’ve been caught out by our dear son on a couple of issues like this.

      Reply
  7. The way it worked with me as a kid was, my parents used to ovverreact and overpunish, so I was afraid, and so when I could see they were about to get crazy mad I would get scared and I would lie, even though I knew they knew I was lying. Maybe if you tell Connor it’s ok and you aren’t mad he will tell? Or maybe he is being honest. I dunno. Kids lie to their parents’ faces all the time. It’s a phase though. I can’t stand lying to people now.

    Reply
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