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Mom's Time Out

The Lead Pencil Mystery

Mary Angel

(10/2012) Suspect number one is a rather tall thirteen year old boy who has discovered his favorite lead (mechanical) pencil stolen, or was it? According to the suspect he had left the pencil in question on his desk and when he returned to look for it on his desk it was missing. Being prone to not seeing what is right in front of his face, I pointed out that he might want to look again and look around his room in case he had left it elsewhere. He is immediately insistent that is had been stolen.

The second suspect is an eleven year old little boy who loves to borrow things, use/play with them and then sit them down, and not remember where he left them. Whether it be his brotherís DS game, his sistersí markers for a school project, his Dadís calculator, or his own shoes, it might never be seen again. That being said he is honest to a fault and if he remembered where he put something he would certainly tell. According to this forgetful child he does remember being in his brothers room, and on the day in question, but heís sure he didnít take the precious missing pencil. He also insisted that his Dad was in the hall when he entered the room and he saw him go in to borrow a book and that was it. We shall see.

Suspect number three is an eight year old little girl who is prone to making bad choices and then compounding the problem by fibbing to cover it up. It can sometimes take quite a while to weed through the exaggerations, half-truths, and fibs to get to the core of the matter. The plus here is the situation often snowballs on her, rather uncontrollably, until she has a little quiet time to think about it. Then she usually sorts it out for herself and then comes entirely clean, with a lot of tears. According to this suspect she had entered the room in question and on the day of the alleged theft. However, she had just entered the room to sneak up on her brother for a "sneak, tackle and tickle attack" and when he wasnít there she had left without touching anything. This suspect was released, but was expected to follow her modus operandi and return with more information to add to her story.

Suspect number four is an adorable five year old spit-fire. This one is prone to crying, pouting, or getting mad when she thinks she is in trouble. Unfortunately none of these emotions manifest based on innocence or guilt. This should be interesting. This suspect is adamant, "I wasnít in the room at all on that day", of the alleged theft. Wait a minute. "What day was that?" "Maybe I went in to leave him (her brother, the plaintiff) a note", she wondered. When I asked the thirteen year old plaintiff about finding a note on his night stand he insisted there was nothing but a piece of trash. When we went to the room and inspected the trash can we found and uncrumpled the note in questions. On the piece of paper was a bunch of scribbly lines with a few sight words interspersed between the lines (a "note" to a 5 year old). After we calmed suspect number four down, she was upset about her note being thrown away, we moved on to see if she had any other information that could crack the case of the missing iPod. She managed to explain that she had asked Daddy if she was allowed to go into her brotherís room to place the note on his night stand, Daddy had shown her how to properly knock on the door so you donít disturb anyone.

The final suspect is, well, my husband! I asked him to please verify each of the previous stories of the other suspects. He confirmed that he had shown the youngest how to properly knock before you enter a room and had in fact seen her place the note on the night stand. He also recalled that he had seen suspect number two in the hall coming from the soon-to-be crime scene and all he had in his possession was the book he had borrowed. Truth be told it was a comic book, which made a lot more sense. He also remembered seeing the third suspect lurking sneakily outside the crime scene door as well. This too makes sense if she was going to try and sneak up on the plaintiff, but something still doesnít add up.

Then the final piece of the puzzle was about to be revealed. Suspect number three suddenly appears with the rest of her story. The truth is that she had gone into the room even though her brother wasnít in there and she had hidden to complete her idea of the "perfect sneak, tackle and tickle attack". While in the room she saw and heard everyone come and go just the way they had said, except there was one suspect who had not mentioned going into the room and borrowing the "favorite" lead pencil. That suspect was none other than Daddy. When questioned one final time he simply asked what we were looking for and admitted he had borrowed the pencil to add something to the grocery list when he was walking by. But also pointed out that no one had asked him about the pencil nor had we told him it was missing when we started the case of the missing pencil! So another family mystery comes to a close. The oldest gets his favorite pencil back and the universe as we know it can go back to normal (or what we consider normal). Nothing is as simple as it should be or as complicated as it appears, but we have fun with whatever mystery comes down the pike. The case of "The Lead Pencil Mystery" is closed!!

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