My daughter has some unidentified seasonal allergies, and I've been trying to treat her without industrial quantities of Triaminic and Benadryl. So I went with nasal irrigation. For about a week we had a twice daily ritual of torturing Hannah with a squirt of commercially-produced saline solution in both nostrils and copious nose blowing. Done. Oh, except for the whining, occasional shouting, and half-hearted wrestling on her part.
It's worked pretty well. She breathes easier at night and has much less sneezing and general congestion during the day. So, naturally, I've slacked off. Just one treatment at bedtime now, and sometimes I forget about it altogether.
Turns out that was her plan all along. More about her evil-ness later.
This morning I got up and was so stuffy and dried out, I wanted the saline spray for myself. I looked in the place where I left it out for convenience: nope. I looked in the place it belongs for storage: nope. I looked in the bathroom drawer where sometimes everything gets shoved when I'm cleaning: not there. I looked in the cabinet where everything gets shoved when the drawer is too stuffed with stuff that doesn't belong there: also not there. I looked on the floor behind the wastebasket, behind the pedestal sink base and in the little hidey-hole in the step stool: no dice. So I gave up and just suffered a little.
When Hannah got up later I asked her whether she knew where the nose spray is.
Eyes well up. She looks around a little frantically, touches her nose, sniffs and says, "Why? I don't need it."
Me: But I do. Where is it.
Hannah: *deer-in-headlights look*
Hannah: *opens hidey-hole in step stool and removes a rubber cleaning glove, under which is hidden the nose spray*
Me: *Hysterical laughter*
Hannah: *out right weeping*
Me: Why are you crying?
Hannah: Every day I hide it in a different place, but you keep finding it. So yesterday I hid it in the stool. (still crying)
Me: *still laughing* Why are you crying?
Hannah: Well, usually when people yell at me or have a yelling voice, tears just come into my eyes.
Me: But I'm not yelling; I'm laughing. I don't understand.
Hannah: It's not funny,
Me: But it is clever. You had a problem, and you solved it. Not the way I might have wanted, but you solved it. I think maybe you know it was a little naughty, and you feel guilty. Could that be it?
Hannah: *blank stare*
Me: Never mind. *still laughing*
Partly, it was so funny because I'd looked in that hiding place, just not well enough. I thought the little bottle had gotten knocked over somewhere and just carelessly lost. I hadn't anticipated it having been conscientiously squirrelled away under multiple obstacles. I'm still chuckling about it.
Maybe not my best parenting response, but the most genuine, I think.