Waaaaah, the anguished wail pierced the air just before three year old Mercy Jane came running out to me from the toy room holding her eye, her light brown pageboy haircut bouncing adorably with every step.  "Liberty poked me in the eye!" she complained.  Her fake-sounding cries continued on a monotone note, while tiny bits of tears dotted the corners of her eyes. 

From the toy room a voice called out defensively, "I wasn't trying to hurt her, Mommy!"  (Translation:  Maybe this will get me out of being in trouble.)

I bent to examine Mercy's eye -- no damage.  "Liberty!" I called out.

A second daughter came running from the toy room on lanky legs.  "I didn't mean to hurt her!" she insisted with arms stretch wide to emphatically accentuate her point.

"Okay, if it was an accident, then what do you do?"

My five year old heaved a heavy sigh and breathed out, "See if she's okay..."

I waited.

Nothing happened.  The two sisters stood side by side, one still whining, one frowning fiercely.

"Liberty," I prompted, "how is your sister doing?"

She glanced over at her sister.  "Um, I'm guessing either Good or Not Fine."

I blinked, then stifled a laugh.  'Good or Not Fine' I suppose she's right... "Try again, Sister," I told her.

She sighed again, not so heavily this time, and placed an arm around her sister.  "Mercy, I'm sorry for hurting you.  How are you doing; are you okay?"

"Not good."  Mercy replied, then she sniffed and added in a wavering voice, "I could feel better, but I need the princess crown," she pointed at the crown on Liberty's head.

Ah, emotional blackmail starts early, I see.

She didn't get away with it.