The other night Nick, Henry and I were hanging out at the house. It was bedtime for our sweet boy but we hadn't really forced the issue yet. Still, he was in his PJ's and we had started to mention it a few times, giving him time to process that, you know, EVENTUALLY you really do need to get in bed, kid. He was a little wild, that mix of exhaustion and energy that hits little boys of three years old around that time of the night. Nick and I were on the couch and Henry was on the side of the recliner doing... who knows what. Something he shouldn't, because right in the moment we hear this "POP!" as a stitch on the arm of the chair pulled lose and the cover came loose. Henry's head snapped over in our direction and you could see it on his face "Please don't say you heard that, please don't say you heard that..."
Nick looks at him and says "Henry, WHAT HAPPENED?" in his stern papa voice.
And Henry apparently panicked. He dropped his hands from the recliner arm where the arm rest cover was hanging loose and announced "HENRY GOING TO BED NOW!" And then he just power walked to his room. Like, not a run, as if he was trying to look casual, but still, a very swift, arm pumping walk that screamed "PLEASE GOD GET ME OUT OF THIS ROOM BEFORE THE KNOW SOMETHING IS AMISS".
Half way to his room I say, "Henry? Where are you going??" Trying hard to keep the amusement out of my voice, because at this point the overall emotion has swiftly moved from annoyance to humor. He sticks to his story. "Henry going to bed. NIGHT NIGHT!" and he disappeared into his room. A second later we heard him climb into his bed.
Nick and I looked at each other, trying hard to not laugh because... well it didn't seem like the most constructive thing to do, but if you could have seen his little eyes so wide, and his quick thinking to head for bed... the little power walk, it was just too much. We sat there for maybe 30 seconds holding it together before we head in to talk to him about being careful and not being rough with the furniture. It really wasn't long that we left him alone, but I guess the time was too much. The guilt was too great. It must have hit him there in his room alone that he MUST CONFESS. We hear his feet hit the floor and he runs to his door, looks out into the living room at us, throws his head back and loudly says "HENRY DID IT!!"
I guess he thought he had pulled one over on us. That by quickly leaving the room and declaring it bedtime he had fooled us and we would then be completely stumped as to HOW this armrest cover was broken! That we hadn't followed him into his room, not because we didn't want to laugh and make light of it, but because he was a MASTER ACTOR and that he had fooled us to the point that we stayed in the living room to discover what had actually happened to the chair. I mean, there are only three of us living in the house, and the two adults were on the couch, and the one child had his hands on the chair when the fabric ripped away... So I hate to break it to him, but the Bed Time Rouse was really not that effective, but he clearly THOUGHT he had us fooled. And the foolery was eating away at him for those 30 seconds in his bed.
You all, he looked so miserable and pitiful standing in the doorway, confessing to his unsolvable crime. We both went over and Nick scooped him up. His head went right onto Nick's shoulder and he whispered "I sorry". I asked if it was an accident and he whispered "yeah". We told him it was okay, that accidents happen, that he just needs to be careful. Then we told him how proud we were of him for telling us the truth. Because no matter how obvious it was to us, it was a big deal to him. And he came forward and told us. And my lord, it broke our heart. And it was just about the sweetest thing I have ever seen. And to be honest, I am pretty proud of him.