She looked nervous and shifted uneasily as we packed our things to go. I could see her being protective over her bag and asked her several times what was wrong.
Nothing, she had said, she was just checking her LeapPad and fixing the case, she reassured me that she was fine.
I knew that face, I knew that look, I knew that nervousness.
We thanked our friends for a lovely time and I winked and told my friend we might be back given my daughters sudden attachment to her bag.
Maybe she had stolen something.
And we all laughed.
Not her, she was too innocent for that…
We climbed in the car and she was drawn to her bag again, forcefully telling us to turn around, and jabbing her hands deep down into the pockets, going through her toys that she takes everywhere.
My mind raced and I was certain there was something off.
I asked Brian to ask her for the bag and bring it up front.
And there it was.
The small, doll size zebra blanket she had been playing with at my friend’s house.
I was mortified.
I saw flashes of sirens, alarms, bars on windows.
And then I looked at Brian, who was laughing, and I realized that this is all part of growing up. Learning the difference between borrowing and stealing, the difference between what is yours and what is mine.
So, we spun the car around and took the blanket back.
The next night she and Brian headed outside for a quick play before dinner, it was cold so he asked her to do up her coat, but she couldn’t because her hands were in her pockets and she was making quite a spectacle out of it. When he asked her why she couldn’t take her hands out of her pockets she pulled out a lip gloss and proudly showed it off letting him see her goods.
“It’s Kristen’s she gave it to me when I was three!”
My husband wasn’t buying it.
She was asked to come inside where I was and show me what she had in her pocket. Upon my discovering that she had taken more than one thing and not been honest we had another discussion about stealing and borrowing, honesty, and returning the item.
“I’m the stealey kid!” she bellowed throughout the house.
And then proceeded to fall onto her back and cry about a sliver in her hand.
No amount of direction back to the lip gloss would take her from the sliver. This child knew redirection and she knew it well.
Anything at that point was better than being the “stealey kid.”
But that would be it… right? That would be the end of the stealing?
Sticky fingers would be at it again and we would have the discussion surrounding taking things that do not belong to us once more before the week was out.
Tell me this is a phase! Tell me this is something that all children go through! Tell me that she isn’t going to be wearing an orange jump suit before she’s 12.
And hold out your hands while I return all of your stuff.