That someone was one of my younger sisters who liked to rearrange the Famous Five books and knick knacks on my bookshelf. It was only when I noticed the oddly pristine cover on my Fame cassette tape did I suspect something was amiss. I confronted my mother and she revealed my younger sister had unravelled the tape. In an effort to prevent me from killing my sibling, she bought me a new one.
So I had a perfectly new Fame tape to sing along to and no harm was done but it didn’t stop me bawling my eyes out with the sheer frustration of it all. The lack of control over the situation – how to keep my trespassing sister out of my bedroom – was overwhelming.
These days Oldest Boy reacts in a similar way when his youngest brother ventures into his lair. To give him his due, Smallest Boy does not do this very often. He tends to reserve it for Changing the Bed Linen Days and to be honest, because I am in his company, I tend to let him have free reign over the place.
When I was younger I would also be raging angry at my mother for her complete, as it appeared to me, absence of concern about my feelings on the matter. Didn’t she care about my privacy? (I was very young and had no idea what privacy meant but I still wanted some) She was at home all day doing nothing! There was absolutely no excuse for her allowing my sister into my domain to wreck it.
I had flashbacks of this recently when I was in Oldest Boy’s room and Smallest Boy was with me. Having a ball with Hex Bugs, Lego creations and several light up Halloween decorations.
I let him play with whatever he wanted to, issuing the odd reminder to be careful and not to break anything. In my head I finished each time with “or he’ll kill me.”
To give him his due, he was very careful and we remembered to turn off everything that was switched on and left the room in excellent condition.
Or so I thought.
Home time and Oldest Boy raced upstairs to get a book.
Almost immediately there came a howl of outrage.
“Who was in my room? Breeeeeennnnnddddaaaaannn!”
No way! How? What? Why? We were so careful.
But not careful enough it seemed.
“No-one was in your room.” I assured him. Recent studies claim if you don’t practise every day you’ll forget how to lie. “Brendan didn’t touch anything.”
“Well someone did. And who else could it be? My Lego pizza man doesn’t have his pizza anymore!”
His Lego pizza man is one of more than 15 Lego men. How did he know?
“He was in my room. I know he was. It’s so unfair!”
“Con, I can promise you,” a bit more practise, “Brendan didn’t touch your Lego man. Maybe it was Juno. Did you close your bedroom door?”
And just like that I had him.
“You know if you leave the door open, the dog sometimes goes in to look out the window. She could have knocked over your Lego man.”
“And it’s only a pizza. It’s probably on the floor.”
Maybe my mother should have blamed the dog for re-arranging my Famous Five books all those years ago.
If our dog could read.
If we had a dog.