After I picked Michael up from school on Monday, I noticed he was playing with two small dinosaurs that I didn't recognize. After checking them out, I determined that they were not ours. However, he has a ton of dinosaurs at my mom's, so I figured they could be from her collection. I decided to ask him where he got them.
He told me he went shopping at the toy store and that he bought them for himself.
I pointed out that he could not have gone to the toy store because he was at school. I also pointed out that he had no money to buy them with. He shifted the story every time I asked him a question, but refused to fess up.
I decided not to push the issue until I confirmed with my mom that the dinosaurs were not hers. I asked her on Tuesday, and she confirmed that they were not from her collection. Then, I sort of forgot about it.
Yesterday, while we were playing outside, I watched as Michael pulled two new small dinosaurs from his pockets. Again, I asked him where they came from.
"I went shopping at the toy store." He replied.
I asked him how he got to the toy store.
"I got a car and drove." He replied.
"Really?" I asked. He stuck with his story.
I then broke down every part of his story and showed that I knew it was impossible for him to have gotten the dinosaurs at a toy store. I then provided the alternative story that I thought was most likely. "I think you saw the dinosaurs at school, and you liked them so much that you decided to keep them."
It took a few minutes, but he finally gave in and admitted to taking the dinosaurs from school. I confiscated them and told him he would have to return them to school and apologize for taking them. He cried.
The topic came up again at dinner, and we reiterated that what he had done was stealing, and that he needed to return the dinosaurs and apologize. He was so upset about it, he couldn't finish his dinner, and complained of a tummy ache.
This isn't really surprising to me. He's not the only young child to do something like this. (We have a classic family story about Aunt Bubbles and some pilfered cheese.) I'm glad it occurred with something like cheap dinos from school, and not a security tagged item in a store.
So, tomorrow morning, Michael will make things right, whether he wants to or not. Hopefully, the anxiety this has caused him will be sufficient to teach him his lesson. I really don't want to have to go through this again.