Sunday, January 06, 2002

the Lipstick Incident

We try to be good parents. Honest to God we do.

I know I've written in here elsewhere about making mistakes, about my failings with the kids. But on the whole, I think we do a pretty good job.

That being said...

Saturday we were cordially invited to a party in honor of Amy's birthday, by Taunia, one of her band mates and a fellow journaler. I had been looking forward to meeting Taunia someday, so it was cool to be invited to a shindig at her pad. She'd warned me that her place was pretty small for the kids and they might be bored so I anticipated the worst. The place was a good size, an attic apartment with 6 foot high dividers breaking the big main room up into a living room, guest room and bedroom for the resident... it was a great little place and a great little party.

Geoff entertained himself with balloons, and Jessica liked hanging out with the food. We had a great time, and got a free concert from All About Buford, which was amazing. I'd heard their MP3s but the seeing it live thing was just so much more special. I'm all about the live music. But that's something to talk about another time. We're here to talk about how my kid ruined Taunia's day.

Now, harken back in the journal to the Arm Shaving Incident in Maine, where Jessica messed with Michelle's bathroom tools and lied about doing it. Well, here we are again.

Amy called me Sunday morning to inform me of a little situation... SOMEone went into Taunia's make up stash in her bathroom, and messed with all the tubes of lipstick and other items. Then, wiped everything up with a towel, stashed the towel, and thought he or she had committed a perfect crime. Taunia didn't discover the crime until the evening, opening her bathroom cabinet to find her most expensive lipstick ruined in the tube. She thought that sucked until she opened another, and another and another... and then had an aneurysm. This morning Amy and Taunia were discussing what to do... Amy decided to call me.

I was stunned, and angry, not at Amy for telling me, or Taunia for having us over, but at my Damn Kids. I immediately thought that it was Geoffrey until I really put some thought into this. It sounded like something the boy MIGHT do, but we kept a really good eye on him due to Taunia's warning that the place wasn't kid ready. There are other bits of evidence that exclude him from probable guilt:

1. he played primarily in Taunia's bedroom and guest room, within ear and eyeshot, and no makeup suffered in those two rooms

2. he was obsessed with the balloons, those kept him pretty damn busy.

3. he never would have been able to clean himself up if he'd messed with lipstick, and there would have been an undeniable mess in the bathroom that he never would have been able to deal with, what with the amount of damaged makeup in question.

4. when he was in the bathroom, he was in and out of there pretty quickly, peeing and getting out, so he could get back to playing with the balloons.

5. he told me that he made a mess with handsoap, which I cleaned up for him. He readily confessed AT the party to doing something, and it is something he does often at home. Instead of one squirt of liquid soap, he likes 10. It is was too much and makes a mess and PISSES me off, so we stopped using liquid hand soap at home because of him.

6. he has played with my make up at home, and writes ON the wall with it. Taunia didn't mention any wall writing to me, and that's Geoff's M.O., so his signature is not on this crime.

What points to Jessica is this:

1. she was in the bathroom for an extrordinarily long time at one point. So long in fact that I began to wonder if she was alright.

2. early in the party I'd opened the bathroom door to find her in the bathroom looking in Taunia's cabinet. I asked her what she thought she was looking for and she said "nothing," and left the bathroom. This evening she states she was looking for another roll of toilet paper, because the roll in the bathroom was out. I informed her that as the guest it isn't her job to replace the TP but it is her role to inform the host/hostess of a party that the TP is gone, rather than rifle through someone's stuff. She should know better.

Now, we all can confess to being nosy when at a party or someone's house and we peek into the medicine cabinet or the linen closet, just to see what people have. There's that great Southwest Airlines commercial where the girl is in some guy's bathroom and she yells out "I love what you've done with the place" as she's peeking in the medicine chest... then she picks up a tube of something, reads it, giggles, and puts it back on the shelf -- and all the shelves in the cabinet fall out into the sink and it makes such a mess... then the voice over says "Need to get away for a while?" So I don't fault Jessica for being curious or nosy.

It's a sociologist's dream to know that people do this, and that kids start young. But touching other people's shit -- that is so wrong. And it's the #1 thing that she hates her brother for. He goes in her room, breaks something, messes something up... because he's curious (and evil) and she gets ALL bent out of shape four ways from Sunday about it. But then, she does it at other people's houses to other people's things (shower, razor; cabinet, makeup... what's next?)

So I got off the phone with Amy, and Doug and I talked about it. He recollected Geoff always being within eye and ear shot, except when he pee'd and that wasn't enough time to be nefarious because someone was always standing guard at the door to help him out if necessary.

I asked Jessica if she did it. She denys it.

I asked Geoffrey if he touched anything at the party, "The balloons, and the hand soap" was his answer.

I went back to Jessica and informed her that all signs point to her being the one, and again... just like in Maine, if she ADMITS it I won't be mad.

I had already talked to Taunia to get her to ascertain the cost of the cosmetics so we can send her a check, expressed our apologies on behalf of the parenting team, and thanked her for inviting us. She's a wonderful sport, and I'm certain she was and is pissed and hurt, and I want to make it right however possible.

(What a first meeting, eh? You SO don't want to invite us over now after reading this... right?)

So Jessica is obstinate. Doug said to her, "Do you think Adeel did this?" (Adeel being in the band, and one of the nicest guys we've met in a long time, someone who would NEVER go fuck up someone's lipstick in their container...) "Adeel looks like the kind of guy who'd do this, right???"

Jessica said no. He wouldn't do it.

"Mmmmm, nah, I bet it was Andrea..." (friend of Amy) "Andrea messes with other people's things in their bathrooms. I bet it was her."

Jessica stood with arms crossed shaking her head.

"So who could have done this? Geoff couldn't have done it unless you helped clean him up and you're covering for him, but usually you tell us immediately when he does something wrong, so you'd NEVER cover for him... who did this?"

"I don't know! I didn't do it ..." And she fought with him. So she got sent to her room.

Now, I know why police beat suspects. Cause I feel so much like hauling off and smacking her. I felt this way in Maine with the arm shaving incident.

I totally thought she'd learned her lesson.

I know she did it, there isn't a shadow of doubt in my mind about it. I just wish to God that she'd be honest about it. I can't tell you how many times I've been through stuff like this with her.

When Geoff does something, and you confront him, he confesses, tells the truth... doesn't necessarily apologize, but at least lets you know he's the perp.

Jessica's not only lying, she is so convinced of her innocence that she's fighting back.

I'm changing her name to OJ.

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