I was a very honest child, although I was not always believed, which is why the following memory sticks out in my mind. One day my mum called me into the kitchen.
Mum: Otternator, do you have anything to tell me?
Me: (staring blankly) Like what?
Mum: Anything? Maybe something to do with something being broken?
Me: (still staring blankly) No.
Mum: Are you sure?
Me: (starting to doubt my own innocence) Yes?
Mum produced a swan ornament with a now broken wing. It was a spectacularly ugly Ladro (which she collected obsessively for decades) and the overall look of our living room would have been massively improved had we piled them all in a cupboard and locked the door forever. However, regardless of how much I was against the aesthetic appeal, I definitely wasn't responsible for the broken wing.
Mum: Did you do this?
Mum: (sighing) Otternator. Just tell me the truth. Were you, I don't know, roughhousing with one of your friends or something?
We looked at each other. I was about 8 and a gentle breeze could have carried me away like Mary Poppins. I've never been built to roughhouse with anyone. Maybe a spaniel, if it was quite a small spaniel. It would still probably win.
Me: (firmly) No.
Mum: Okay, well. You're grounded.
Me: What?! But I just told you I didn't break it!
Mum: You obviously did, and now you're lying about it, which is worse. Go to your room.
Me: Your evidence is circumstantial at best.
I went to my room, closed the door quietly (I wasn't much of a slammer, feeling even at such a young age that slamming was rather undignified) and picked up a book. My dad came home about an hour later and found my mum in the kitchen trying to glue the wing back onto the swan.
Dad: Hi honey.
Mum: Your daughter broke my swan!
Dad: How come she's mine when she does something that you don't like?
Dad: ...Okay. I meant to tell you sooner. I broke the swan.
Mum: You?! ...Oh. Oh, damn. How?
Dad: (embarrassed) I...I was...practising with my 9 iron in the living room...
Mum: Oh for god's sake. I've just grounded Otternator.
Dad: Oh. Right. Er... sorry about that.
They both apologised profusely, which did little to appease my sense of tragic injustice. It also made me wonder what normal person tries out a new golf club in a room full of expensive figurines that his wife dearly loves. Then I realised that my parents are horrifically, beautifully, perfect for each other. They are both crazy.