The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

Encyclopedia Elizabeth and the Case of the Red Sharpie

Yesterday afternoon I was on the phone with a girlfriend gossiping about the latest Facebook drama and getting dressed for ballet when Gray (8) strode purposefully into my bedroom holding a red Sharpie out in front of him like the Olympic torch while Jonas (5) trailed behind, wide-eyed and nervous.

Me: I know, I can’t believe she completely deactivated her account. I bet she was kidnapped and brainwashed by a cult, like in The Following.

Gray: Mom… MOM. Jonas wrote all over a bunch of stuff in the greenbelt with this! Mom!!!

Me: Uh oh… I have to go. *Click* OK, what is going on now? Who did what?!

Gray: Jonas wrote on a bunch of stuff with this pen!

Jonas: *Bursts into tears*

Me: Why are you crying?

Jonas: Because he’s hurting my feelings so bad!

Me: He’s hurting your feelings by telling me you did something really bad?

Jonas: No! He was hurting my feelings outside!

Me: Oh I do not even want to hear about that right now. I want to know what you wrote on and I want to know right now. We are all going outside together to see just exactly what Gray is talking about.

Jonas: *Still sobbing* But he said I poop in my mouth!!!!

Me: *Stopping to turn and look incredulously at Gray* Gray Edward Newlin, I’m going to hope that is not true because it is both unkind and disgusting. Jonas Finn Newlin, even if he did say that it’s not a reason to act like this or to do any kind of writing on anything with a permanent marker. Stop crying and keep up!

Gray led us outside and two houses down to the path that leads to the greenbelt behind our house. He proceeded to sanctimoniously point out five different spots Jonas had graffitied:

On a paver on the driveway of our neighbor’s house right next to the greenbelt entrance.

The railing around the drainage path.

The electrical box.

A rock in the riverbed-style landscaping of the neighbor’s yard.

A concrete block on the path to the greenbelt.

I have to say, I always hoped and dreamed if I had a son who was a vandal, he’d at least be smart enough not to use his own name to deface property, but alas, this is apparently not my lot in life.

When we got to the last one, Jonas was adamant to almost hysterics he had not committed this particular crime.

Jonas: GRAY!!! I didn’t write that one! I know I didn’t! You must have done it! HE DID IT, MOM!!!

Me: I could not possibly care less whether you did that one or not, Jonas! You did all of the rest, right?? You vandalized our neighbor’s property with a permanent marker! How could you do that? Why would you do that? And how could you not know we would know it was you? You wrote your own name!

Jonas: *Seeing my fury and realizing he wasn’t making it any better for himself.* I’m sorry.

I sat Jonas in timeout for a full hour while I used nail polish remover, a toothbrush and sandpaper to try to get the marker off. We attempted to inform and apologize to the neighbors, but they weren’t home.

Last night, after the kids went to bed my anger over the situation had cooled a bit. I was telling Jason the story and looking through the pictures of the evidence when my CSI skilz kicked in. I flipped back and forth between each of his defacements and I realized the handwriting analysis didn’t match. Every signature had a capital A except the one Jo was sure he hadn’t done. My rage reignited, but in another direction this time.

That self-righteous, tattling little shit framed his little brother! Sure, Jonas did most of the damage, and I’m positive he was the one who started it, but Gray absolutely contributed! And then he pointed to his work and told me it was his brother! What a goddamn sociopath!!

This morning when confronted with the evidence, Gray confessed. I feel like I probably just taught him a lesson in how to be a more adept criminal. Next time he’s forging a signature he’ll make sure those letters match perfectly.



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