“But, what did I do?” moaned my five-year-old.
A curly-haired, chubby-cheeked, intelligent, and mischievous little daughter of mine was always up to something. And, always followed by the above question.
We knew our daughter wasn’t disobedient or willful. So, why did she break some house rules?
My husband and I were strict parents and had rules that we felt were necessary for the well-being of our two children. Our son and daughter had run of the house as long as they behaved well when visiting others or when we had visitors. But, we had made clear that they should never break some rules, like touching the dials or knobs on electric appliances. We had an easy time with our firstborn, a quiet, sensitive, and sweet natured son who mostly followed house rules and didn’t push our buttons.
However, we didn’t know what hit us when the little one started asserting herself! We had explained the reasons behind house rules, and she knew that if she broke the rules, she would receive consequences. But, boy, did she try whenever she could? Absolutely. And, when she got consequences for her actions, she wailed, “But, what did I do?” We were puzzled. When asked, she could not articulate why and would burst into tears.
Until one day, our seven-year-old son came to us, distraught and clutching his absolute favorite white sweater with embroidered, red vehicles (a Christmas gift from an aunt). He was crying as if his little heart would break.
We calmed him down, and one look at his favorite sweater and we knew the cause of his despair. It had shrunk so much that it could have only fitted a doll!
I was sure I had put the washing machine on a cold and short wash setting with other woollies. When checked, the setting on the machine had moved to hot.
There was only one little person we could think of quizzing! When asked,
“why did you change the setting on the washing machine,” our little one answered, ” What did I do? I just wanted to know why I shouldn’t touch the dial on the washing machine and find out what happens if I do.”
Fair enough reasoning and justification!
Hiding our smiles, we understood why our little one had to break some rules.