Entertaining three small boys on a cold, rainy fall day delivered increasing challenges to the burdened mother. She slipped around the doorway between the kitchen and dining room, hauling a precariously balanced load of laundry. Yet again, the loose piece of hardwood floor provided an obstacle as she attempted to keep herself upright despite snagging her sock on the wood.
“Crumby loose board,” she mumbled, dashing a swift look over her shoulder to reassure herself that her boys were still watching their program.
Moments passed as she deftly placed the clean items into appropriate places before returning down the stairs. She slowed her steps to listen for her young sons who were apparently distracted from the television. The characters in the show continued in the loud, animated voices but wrestling added to the sounds. A careful look around the corner verified her suspicions. The television, unheeded by the small boys, droned on, making a soundtrack for their activity. Looking down, a lake of glue sprawled next to an empty half-gallon bottle of Elmer’s.
“Oh my, what happened here?” the mother inquired.
“Everyone come here and line up.” The children, both the boys and girls who had been quietly dressing Polly Pockets lined up in front of the sticky mess. “Who did this?”
“Well, I suppose we can let the oldest go. She wouldn’t do this. Not only is she too old to do something like this but she is also too clean.”
The boys didn’t complain which narrowed down the interrogation time.
He shook his head violently, but said nothing more.
“Liam, who did this?”
Nothing infuriated the mother than the entity of I. Dunno who had occupied her home since the arrival of the first young boy. I. Dunno created countless messes and confusion in their home. Worse than that was that I. Dunno never showed up to clean up or to accept responsibility for any havoc he’d committed.
The mother knew the baby would swiftly tell on the big kids. She possessed no filter. Simply smiling at the young, preschool child would persuade her to give up the guilty party.
“Colin did it. He did. I saw him. And the boys did too. They knewed who did it.”
The mother kissed the little girl on the head, “Good girl. Thank you for telling the truth.”
Tracy Atkinson, mother of six, lives in the Midwest with her husband and spirited long-haired miniature dachshunds. She is a teacher, having taught elementary school to higher education, holding degrees in elementary education and a master’s in higher education. Her passion is researching, studying and investigating the attributes related to self-directed learners and learning styles. She has published several titles, including MBTI Learning Styles: A Practical Approach, The Art of Learning Journals, Calais: The Annals of the Hidden, Lemosa: The Annals of the Hidden, Book Two, Rachel’s 8 and Securing Your Tent. She is currently working on a non-fiction text exploring the attributes of self-directed learners: The Five Characteristics of Self-directed Learners.