Friday, January 14, 2011

Crime and Punishment

What do you do when your four year-old plots a crime?  Let me set the scene.

It's Daddy's fortieth birthday, so we ran to the Dollar Store for a Happy Birthday balloon.  As soon as we walked into the store he went straight for the Mario candy bomb he saw a month ago while Christmas shopping.  I said no and we moved on, he picked out balloons and I waited for them while he wondered around the store a little bit. 

He came up then and said "Mom look I am holding one hand with the other."
"Thats' cool." I said not paying much attention as we grabbed a few more favors.  He's still holding his arms crossed over his tummy.  We had to wait in line quite a while and I started to praise him for being so polite, standing still, looking with his eyes and not his hands.

After she rings everything I said, "Do you want to carry the bag?"
"No, you do it." Well, alrighty then. Still not paying attention!!

On the way out to the car I thank him again for his good behavior and he asks me to let him do his seat belt all by himself.  I am so proud! I've been working and working on this skill, pleading at times with my hands full "Please Honey just try to do it yourself."  Hurrah I've gotten through to him!

Driving home he tells me he can get out of his seat by himself too.  "Awesome Big Guy!" Boy this praise things is finally working with him, I'm on to something here.  And thank goodness because as we pull up there is a someone waiting for me that I didn't expect and I get a little flustered.  I open the door for him he does the rest, 5 minutes later in the house he comes to me with something in his hand.

"Look what I found mom!"
"Did you steal that from the store!" I shriek in horror.
"No, I had it all the time."
"You you didn't, I know I never bought that."

The waterworks start.  My friends have already assured me I said the right things, but honestly, I was on autopilot.  All I could think it, you little thief.  You plotted this.  That's when he says still blubbering, "I was feeling sneaky, and I knew I would steal something! That's why I didn't want to go to that store!" 

And yes, you bet I took him right back to the store where he had to hand over the candy, the dollar, and an apology.  The clerk even made him pinky swear never to steal again.

As we pulled into the school parking lot, he says to me, "Mom, what is a pinky swear mean anyway, I mean weally? it doesn't mean anything."

I'm still feeling a little queasy, and boy do I have my eye on this one. 

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