Friday, January 14, 2005

She's not evil. She's four.

Allie tripped Julia last night. Julia was toddling along and Allie stuck her foot out at just the right time. Julia fell to the floor and cried a little. It probably would have been a very satisfying moment for Allie if her mother hadn't witnessed the incident.

"Did you do that on purpose?" Debbie asked.

Allie started crying and admitted to intentionally causing her sister to hit the Berber.

I'm always surprised at how readily Allie reveals she has succumbed to the little devil on her shoulder. It's hard not to be cynical, even of a pre-schooler. But so far Allie has been unfailingly forthright. This makes her, more than likely, the most trustworthy among the members of our family who can communicate without grunting or biting.

Notice my careful wording.

Allie's willingness to admit her sins could actually make her the most cunningly devious person in the house. She may have carefully constructed a ruse of minor confessions to bolster her credibility. It's the perfect way to throw her mother and me off the trail when we investigate more egregious crimes (such as the recent case of the missing MP3 player).

I don't have any reason to be so paranoid. After all, stern declarations of disappointment from us and no ice cream wasn't enough penance for Allie. Once she stopped sobbing, Allie fixed a pitiful look on her face and placed herself backwards on the couch. She stared at the cushions and quietly punished herself. Deb and I looked at each other and realized where those Greenpeace volunteers who throw themselves between a whale and a Japanese harpoon come from.

No, that's not right. Allie's not a trendy martyr in the making. I should have written something like, Deb and I looked at each other and realized where obsessive compulsive Lutherans with slight facial ticks come from.

Nope. That doesn't quite capture it either.

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