... you walk into a too-quiet sitting room to find your sons looking shifty, and have the following conversation...
Me: "What are you two up to?"
Boy#2: "We. are. Eating. It!"
Boy #1: "No we're not. We're not eating. No, no we're not..."
I glance around the room. There still appear to be cookies on the tree - even on the lower branches. The hare-kare cookies that mysteriously hurled themselves onto the floor overnight and which I prised from small fingers before breakfast to put in the biscuit tin are still there. And there are no rogue chocolate wrappers on the floor.
Me: "What were you eating, Boy #2?" (no point asking his older brother, he's never going to confess)
Boy #1: "Nothing!"
Me: "Boy #2?"
Boy #2: "We. were. not! Not!"
Now I have a dilemma. Boy #2 often uses the positive when he means the negative. As in "Want. to. go. outside." can mean either; 'get me outside now or I will be forced to jump all over your bed in my mucky shoes', or; 'You will no more get me outside than you will get me to chew fish.'
Considering the evidence - no screwed up wrappers, no missing tree cookies - I decide that whilst there is every chance the two have been up to no good, I can't prove it, and move on.
Can you believe that at ages 5 and 3 they already know how to put one past me?
You also know it's Christmas when you have this conversation - which happened seconds after I pressed 'publish post' on the example above...
Boy #1: "Mama? Mama? The string has gone!"
Me: "I beg your pardon?"
Boy #1: "The string! The string has gone!"
Me (This has got to be a string on a tree cookie...); "Well, what happened to it?"
Boy #1: "I don't know."
Me: "Where is it? "
Boy #1: "I don't know."
Me: "How did it come out?"
Boy #1 (You guessed...): "I don't know."
Me: ?"Well, where's the cookie?"
Boy #1: "I don't know... Oh, actually, I do. It's here." (He holds up a sad looking star missing one of it's points and, what do you know, a string).
I gave him the cookie to eat. Bad mistake; there will probably be more strings mysteriously disappearing the next time he feels peckish, but what the hell, it's Christmas, and they are cookies after all.
And at least if he eats them it means I can't...
Can you believe it? 30 seconds after I pressed 'publish' for the second time:
Boy #1: "Another biscuit fell down!"
Enough. This one went in the tin. Does he think I'm stupid, or what?