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Life is not about getting to the destination, life is what happens to you on the way there. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Parenting is hard to do

Firstborn had a book report to do and he chose to do it on one of my prized Shel Silverstein books. He had to copy out a poem and interpret it and tell why he liked it. He wanted to take my book into school with him to show the teacher. I warned him he would be responsible for that book because it's one of my favorites and he shouldn't lose it. He promised me he wouldn't. I emphasized again that it was indeed a favorite book and he really really had to promise not to lose it. He promised.

This was several weeks ago.

Yesterday Dh and I asked him where the book was. "What book?" was his reply. What book? THE book? The only one I loaned to you! "The Shel Silverstein book" I replied. The look on firstborn's face was enough to tell me the answer. He'd lost it. I told him that if the book was not found by the time Christmas break began, he'd be grounded over break. He blanched at that, but nodded.

He told me it was in his bookbag. But then it wasn't there. So he told me it was in his room, but it wasn't there either. He told me he left it in his desk at school, but two days later and after a phone call to his teacher, the book still is nowhere to be found. According to my edict a few days before, DH sent him to his room, confiscated YuGiOh cards, and instructed him that he was now grounded.

About an hour after the kids got out of school today (it was a half day) I got a call on my cell phone. It was Firstborn and he was in tears. "Muh-muh-muhooom? I'm re-re-reah-lly sorry I luh-luh-lost your book. Tuh-tuh-tell Santa that I don't need as much money spent on muh-muh-me this year. Tuh-tuh-tell santa to buy you another book ih-ih-instead."
My heart about broke into a billion little pieces.... What can I say to that? The child wants to give up part of his Christmas to pay me back for a book he lost. Do I stick to this punishment for losing the book or do I make other arrangements for him to pay me back? I can have him do extra chores around the house... Everything I've ever read about parenting always said that you have to be consistent and never go back on your word. Nothing in there about such a sad little boy.

I told him that we would talk about it when I got home and wasn't working anymore. Right after I told him that, he says to me "Cuh-cuh-can I have my cards back?". Well, no, kiddo, right now you have to be grounded until I get home and we can talk about it which means you stay in your room without your cards. Makes me wonder though - are the tears an act just to get his cards back? Does he really feel as terrible as he has led me to believe?

None of the books that talked about consistency and never breaking promises never once mentioned how difficult this parenting thing really is.......


Blogger Cate said...

Karry, Great description of what went on, really tugged at my heartstrings. I give it 5 out of a possible 7 kleenexes. As for consistency, it's highly over-rated. Yes, you need to stick with what you say--most of the time. I have no clue if this is one of them. Sounds like it might be. One thing about it, if you're wrong, you're wrong in the right direction.

12/22/2004 10:55:00 PM  

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