° empty

No handcuffs needed for these crimes

Something about the scene just made me chuckle, so much so that my march to the shower was stopped dead.

Peering onto the bedroom carpet, I had a fleeting thought of being an armchair detective — you know the ones who watched “Matlock” and “Murder She Wrote” and always felt like they could figure out the culprit.

Looking down directly onto the scene, the “victim” gazed into eternity with a blank, dead stare — seemingly looking right through my soul.

The scene was so startling that I immediately took a quick “crime scene” snapshot with my phone.

The small victim was naked, except for the tag suggesting how to clean her and where she was made.

Her clothes were nowhere near the area.

Few clues into what happened and what led to her current state existed.

In fact, the only other objects within the vicinity were a small plastic spatula — likely the murder weapon — and a card used to learn shapes and numbers.

How she got here and what happened is anyone’s guess, but in our house, only one culprit is to blame — Anna had been here.

The diminutive creature, described as the cutest baby in the world by her parents, had committed a doll crime.

All we needed was some pint-sized crime tape.

It’s not the first time the little redheaded delinquent has “hit” our house either.

We’re regular targets.

Often the crimes go unnoticed at first, usually until after Anna is sound asleep.

Discovery usually goes along these lines:

“Have you seen the TV remote?”

“No, but I saw Anna with it earlier.”

Carefully the house is peeled apart, searching ever corner and every crevice.

“Have you seen my other shoe?”

“Why is there a diaper-box-train in the bathroom?”

Most are simply missing object reports at this point, though some become slightly more alarming.

One of those occurred while climbing into bed recently.

“What’s that?” I exclaimed while quickly recoiling the foot that had just slid under the cover.

The “hairy” thing at the foot of the bed was harmless — unless one fears small stuffed animals.

Her parents are becoming wise to the behaviors. Like with most criminals, careful observation yields some patterns.

Seventeen months ago, walking through our house wasn’t all that eventful.

Things pretty much stayed put, aside from perhaps anything on the ground that a dog might pick up to proudly hold in her mouth as if it were some war trophy.

But since the arrival of our daughter Anna — or more precisely since her ability to walk around developed — the Cooper household is always in a state of flux.

So far all the “crimes” have been mostly misdemeanors.

Friends tell me to “just wait” until she discovers the fun of hiding things in the toilet or the parental fun involved in teenage crimes.

Each new day is a new day of discovery for Anna — new sights, new sounds each reminding the jaded investigator parents of just how much fun the simple things in life can be.

And thus life with a toddler is a delightful learning experience for us, too.

We can only hope that the next 17 months — and years afterward — are as much fun as the first 17 have been.


Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or kevin.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.