I don’t share a lot of life lessons here, but for those carrying a purse or bag do yourself a favor and make sure it zips up adding additional protection to the goodies locked inside. My fashion forward accessory lacked that zipper and lead me to an afternoon of contacting my credit card companies, canceling cards, placing police reports, and consulting google for best practices in identity protection. Thankfully, this considerate thief removed my credit and debit cards and then returned my wallet with my ID, insurance and gift cards to my purse before spending their way through Marshals and Targets in the Columbia Heights section of Washington, DC.
My four year over heard me retell the story to my husband and was concerned that someone took something from me. I take an honest approach to my parenting and explained that whoever took my credit cards was dishonest and did a bad thing, but reassured him that I was fine. A co-worker gave me the idea of taking this lesson one step further and their idea sparked a momma day activity that The Hardy Boy’s and Nancy Drew would totally support! The Who Stole the Cookie Momma day let imaginations roam with stuffed animal suspects, tons of evidence, and a surprise ending.
The day started with a trip to Target (I’d forgotten the main item in which my day was built entirely around) and purchasing some Double Stuff Spring Oreos with the last $5 I had until my new credit/debit cards arrived in the mail. (If you only have $5 left in your wallet, there isn’t a better way to spend it, in my opinion). I repeated to my four year old, his stuffed animals, and my almost one year old that no one, and I repeated No One, was to open that package of cookies until after nap time. I (exaggerating purposefully) cautioned that anyone caught opening the cookies would be in BIG trouble and again, said no one could open the package until after nap time. I pushed this point so much that my four year old thought I was going a bit crazy. My little guy just thought I was being silly and giggled with delight every time I repeated the rules.
Lunch time came and went. I can’t count how many times Rowan asked for a cookie and I had to repeat that no one – not even Hippo – could have a cookie until after nap time. We read some stories and both boys dozed off to a peaceful slumber. An hour an a half later, Rowan woke up to a mysteriously open cookie package and a detective kit designed to help solve this Cookie Thief mystery.
Giddy with excitement, I calmed him down and explained that he would need to use all five of his senses to catch the thief and that he should not disturb the ‘crime scenes’ until he had gathered all the evidence. We reviewed the five senses and he jumped right in.
First he checked out the package for clues. Then we moved around the house finding suspects and gathering evidence until the case was solved. The suspects made the job difficult . . .
Hippo was found on the stairs with crumbs on his hands. Olaf was reading a book on beaches in the living room. Puppy and Bunny were in the bathroom brushing their teeth and Georgie was caught in the shower with cookies and crumbs surrounding him, but did he really open the package or just take advantage of someone else’s wrong doing?
Rowan saw it play out like this (which was better than I imagined myself):
Hippo opened the package and stole a few cookies, but got tired climbing the stairs and took a nap like he always does. Bunny and Puppy came across a sleeping Hippo on the stairs and the uneaten stack of cookies (crumbs were only by his paws). They stole one of his cookies and then brushed their teeth to hide evidence of their participation. Rowan knew they were covering up because he found a small piece of wrapper stuck on Puppy’s paw. Rowan found another piece of wrapper in the middle of the master bedroom and followed the clue into the master bath where Georgie was caught red handed! Rowan believed that Georgie took the rest of the cookies from Hippo while he napped and ate as many as he could in his hiding place. When Rowan interrogated Georgie, the plot took a turn even I didn’t anticipate. Georgie blammed . . . MOM!! (I’m gonna have to have a chat with this monkey!)
I told Rowan the only way to find out who really did it was to take fingerprints from the package. I showed him how to pull a print and he got right to work. He dusted the package with the cocoa powder then pulls the prints up using the clear tape. He took my fingerprints using the note cards and ink pad and compared. What did he find? A match, a guilty momma, and tons of fun!!
It was so fun listening to him uncover a story and his imagination went wild with what ifs and plots. He learned about senses, crime solving, how to find fingerprints, story telling, evidence collecting, and more importantly how important our real crime solvers – police and investigators are in keeping our community safe. We talked about my stolen cards and how that made him feel and he felt a desire to be a good person who helps other good people. For four, I’ll take that as a positive lesson for both of us. He is remarkable!! I should also point out that he knew immediately that his little brother couldn’t be involved – just because. This life I live just keeps getting better. Talk about looking to the positive in a bad situation. Hope your crime solving is as successful as ours.
Oh . . . and our snack – was the evidence 🙂