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"I Don't Know" Did It: A New Addition to Our Family

My mom occasionally talks of a specific frustration that she had with my two siblings and I when we were children. When she would confront us with something naughty that one of us had done, a mysterious childhood friend was often to blame. Mom laughs about it now, but I'll bet it was not funny at the time.

The imaginary culprit in my childhood home was this illusive, naughty little persona named, "I Don't Know."

Here's how it worked:

"Who did this?!" my mom would angrily question, taking obvious effort to stay calm.

Blank stares.


"I said, who did this?! Who spilled my perfume on the carpet?" mom would more heatedly demand.

I'd look at my sister, who'd look at my brother, who'd look at me. We'd all look at mom and shrug.

Then I would say it.

"I don't know," I'd cautiously stammer (whether I knew who the offender was or not).

"I Don't Know Did It?" Mom would ask.

We'd still remain silent. 

"Who. Did. It." She'd repeat through gritted teeth.

This time my sister would answer. 

"I don't know." She'd as equally cautiously assert.

"You're telling me someone named I Don't Know did this?" she'd question, throwing her arms in the air.

And this redundant conversation would continue for some time, usually with my poor mother never getting a straight answer.

I thought I understood how frustrating this situation was when I became a mom a few years back. But I never truly understood how frustrating this was until I Don't Know recently visited my own house.

One night this week, my husband and I, after a long day home with the kids, excitedly sat down to watch the season premiere of one of our favorite television shows. We quickly discovered that the TV did not work. 

Upon closer evaluation we found that the corner of our 50+ inch plasma TV was shattered.

Our 3 year old was still awake in his bed so we brought him to the crime scene and asked him what had happened. He said his 7-year-old brother did it. We woke up the 7 year old, who said he didn't know who did it. Probably his little brother or sister, he thought. The next morning my 5 year old swore that she also did not know who did it.

This is the first time that my kids have broken something significant, and expensive, and remained pretty solid in their attempts to shift, and deny, the blame. And I have to say, describing my emotions over this situation as irate doesn't even begin to come close to the level of anger I feel.

So it is clear that my childhood scapegoat, lovingly named I Don't Know, has once again graced my life, however now I'm dealing with my old friend from a different perspective.

I am sure this is the first of many adventures my old faithful persona will partake with my children, and I can't say I'm surprised. 

Karma can be a real pain sometimes


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