Christina M. Currie
Christina M. Currie's Touch of Spice column appears Fridays in the Craig Daily Press. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Craig It's been quite the interesting week.
My nearly 7-year-old and 8-year-old daughters, and their friends, are beginning to experiment with the concept of, "it's better to apologize than to ask for permission."
Either they don't think far enough ahead to consider consequences, or they're wagering the consequences will be worth it.
It's worse in a group. I think Katie would realize that some actions aren't worth the recourse, but when you get two, three and four kids together, they seem to think that (1) the more kids, the fewer the consequences, (2) there will be no consequences because they can just push the blame to someone else, or (3) their idea is just so clever that they will either get away with it or be rewarded for creative thinking.
The scenario went like this:
Katie and Nikki and their co-conspirators : I mean, friends : Ashley and Tyler, decided that having a sleepover at Ashley and Tyler's house was something their parents would eagerly endorse. So, when Ashley and Tyler's mom arrived at the baby-sitter's house to collect her children, my children snuck into the back of her vehicle.
They hid well and managed to make not a sound. Ashley and Tyler kept surprisingly quiet, too. They traveled across town, made a stop so Ashley could change clothes, and then headed back into town for her soccer game.
Ashley's mom guesses that my girls were hiding in her car for nearly an hour before Tyler ratted them out.
And she was mortified.
She couldn't help thinking about what would have happened if she'd have locked them in the car on that hot day.
I couldn't help thinking about how she would have felt if she'd gotten pulled over and was issued tickets for seatbelt violations for two children she didn't even know she had.
It seems like the kids had their night fairly well planned. They'd stow away, pop out when they arrived, and then call me and I'd bring them clothes.
Piece of cake.
They started off being grounded. No treats. No participating in the fair's pig/chicken/bunny chase (oooh, that one hurt). No smiling, laughing or merry-making for a week.
I came close to caving when Katie snuck out of her room to pass me a note.
"Dear mom, I am very, very, very sorry for what do happened today. I promise it will never happen again. I love you mom, Love Katie."
She drew a little heart on the note, too.
Seriously, how do you resist?
I stayed strong and told her that, while I appreciated that she understood what she did was wrong, that doesn't mean she still wasn't going to get in trouble. She just might not get in as much trouble.
I'm a good mom. I explained well. My kids totally understood why they couldn't just go places without asking permission.
A few days later, I went looking for the girls. They weren't in their rooms (like you're supposed to be when you're grounded). They weren't in the yard. I found them down the street with their shoes off and their pants rolled up, splashing through a huge puddle at the end of a neighbor's driveway.
Why? Why did they do that? Didn't they hear a word I said? Weren't they listening?
Perhaps. But it seemed they mostly learned that saying "sorry" was easier than hearing "no."
I'm going to have to up my game on the consequences end.