Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A long day

On Tuesday we started the day getting the kids off to school because yes, they had school even though it was Veteran's day and even though Mike had off work. Emma and I went to Target after to grab a few things and get a little bit of Christmas shopping started (mostly stocking stuffers) and then came on home. Mike picked up the big industrial commercial strength carpet cleaner from the church while he was there too. We came home and said goodbye to our second little mouse. We knew last night that she wouldn't make it through the night so this morning we disposed of little June. Then, standing outside with a garbage bag full of mouse poop and a little dead furry body, I realized that Mike and I were both home and we had only ONE child home! Yes, we'd planned on spending the morning getting a jump start on the carpet cleaning... but instead we went up to a little drive in place for lunch, just the three of us!

When we finished lunch we went back to the church to pick up thing one, thing two, and thing... three? and got them home and the two little ones settled in for naps. Then the fun began :) We only have carpet in the bedrooms and the living room, and we only planned to wash the living room carpets but that in itself was a big job! We moved the couch (um... Mike did, it has an Oak bed in it and weighs about 300lbs!) then the piano and those two were quite a feat. I watched Mike work the big machine and cleared off the dining room table and kept the kids busy while he shampooed. He finished up around 5 or so and now the living room looks GREAT. The carpets had some 'kid messes' on them and some spills that were there before we moved in and I'd tried to clean out with carpet cleaner before that just didn't work. We'd even used a regular foam shampooer a time or two and without any great results. THIS WORKED WONDERS.

During all of this I was running laundry and, well, it died. The washing machine, I mean. Complete with a load of laundry and a full tub of water. So this evening after Mike brought the shampooer back I brought my soggy clothes to my parents' house to rewash and dry. In the mean time Mr. Fix It went to work and took apart the washer. We had this same thing happen to our previous washer at the other house and the culprit was a baby sock in the pump. Guess what the problem was this time? Yep, baby sock. Guess I need to get a lingerie bag to start washing our kids' socks in again... It's a lot cheaper than a washing machine! I'm so glad Mike's a Handy guy because I'm sure that little sock would have cost us probably $200 after someone came out and disassembled the entire machine like he did. And that's if they knew where to look and found it quickly without adding 3 hours of labor on to the bill.

Tonight we also had a rather unfortunate incident which has now turned into a big learning experience for Kristopher. I promised myself and my children that I wouldn't post anything on here that they would later find humiliating if they were to read it when they're older. I didn't promise not to post things about "real life" or to only post the good things though. Tonight I went outside to help Mike load the shampooer back in the van and the kids followed us out (Bria and K anyway). Brianna and I stayed outside and K came in and out for a bit while I pulled weeds in the front garden. A few minutes later Mike came back out and asked me if I'd moved the rest of the Runts (candy) somewhere. He'd opened them earlier and given K one... now they were gone. I said I hadn't and he went back inside again.

The rest of this I heard second hand when Mike came out to talk to me about what the consequences should be for Kristopher. Aparently Mike asked K where the candy was and K said he didn't know. He said he didn't eat them, he didn't take them, he doesn't know. With more urging (since Mike had then asked me and K is the only other answer...) Mike began getting stories about how the babies must have taken them or K's toy T-Rex. With that he struck a cord. "If you tell me where they are, you won't get a big consequence. If you don't, and I find out you know, you will have more consequences." Yes, we seriously use the word consequences with our children. It's what they are- whether a time out or loss of a privledge, whatever... With that K did give in. He showed Mike where he'd stowed the goods. In his bedroom. Under a bench. Under a frisbee. On top of a book (at least they wouldn't have stained the carpet!). He HID THEM WELL.

Still, there was a three fold problem. 1- he stole. ok, so it was HIS candy from Halloween, but he knew well that he was not allowed to take it unless given to him (we have BIG TIME rules about sugar). 2- he hid. Proving that he knew he wasn't supposed to have it... 3- he lied about it and said he hadn't taken it, didn't know where it was, then tried to pass the blame.

Wow, sounds like a Bible lesson to me :) Kristopher had to own up to what he did, had to recognize that these behaviors aren't acceptable and that they're not to happen again. First the chat about what he did and why it was wrong. Second, to give him a structured activity until bedtime we turned on the Hermie movie "Flo the Lying Fly" which aparently needed to remake its debut in our home and he was told to sit quietly and watch and think about what he did tonight. And third, he was to go to bed early which was really the only part that ends up being a 'consequence' because without that I don't think his little 4 yr old brain would really realize that he had any consequences at all (since a movie isn't exactly punnishment...).

After Hermie's movie was over Kristopher came to the living room and said to me "Mommy, Flo says that she wants only the truth to come from her lips and not lies anymore, and I do too. I'm sorry for not telling the truth." Yay. He gets it :) He still did go to bed at 7 (an hour early) and I hope this impacts his decisions in the future. Yes, he's a kid and kids are going to do things, are going to get in trouble, are going to act out. But that doesn't mean that they should get away with it or that it should be allowed to escalate into more substantial behaviors which are much harder to break!


  1. I LOVE the Hermie movies, but I don't have the FLO one...guess I need to add that one to my shopping list! :)

  2. Meredith,
    What a joy it is to watch you and Mike and read how you guys are raising those gifts of yours. You are doing well, my friend, and know that we love and support you from not-too-far even though we don't get to see you much. Keep up those good healthy love boundaries - your kids will be the best for it!
    Karen W