Category Archives: Stepping Up

The Consequences of Bad Behavior

Ian and I have banned two children from our house. It may just be a temporary banning if they can prove that they know how to act in public and when they are guests, but if they continue to behave as they did on Sunday, they will not be allowed back.

One of them – I called him Trevor in my birthday party lesson – was a mini-misogynist on top of being extra loud and somewhat defiant. Now I understand being excited because you’re at a party and was totally willing to make allowances for that, but this went beyond that. He spent a great deal of time walking around point at or framing his crotch, cupping imaginary breasts, and talking about bottoms. He did this in front of all the other guests – two of whom were female – as well as Ian and the two little guys. I saw a bit of it, but I mostly heard about it second hand from Ian who eventually told him that it wasn’t cool or funny.

This didn’t stop him from making disgusting comments, tough. While they were eating, he went on an on about stealing all the poop from the toilets. I can understand how this can be funny to a group of 8-10 year olds…the first time. Unfortunately, he just wouldn’t let it die. Another time, he yelled at everyone to “Shut up” essentially because he wasn’t getting any attention. The worst (in my books) though, was after we handed out the treat bags. They all got a cap gun because spies need a gun. There was only one green one and Liam requested it the day before. Once the bags were all handed out, Trevor kept going on and on about how he wanted the green one. When I wouldn’t give him what he wanted, he took it…twice (I caught him the first time and made him give it back). The second time, he went so far as to wait until Liam had put it down and then tied it in his bag. I was not amused. Aiden even mentioned in the morning that he thinks that Trevor took the green gun.

The second little guy I referred to as Sam. Sam showed up with a broken nose. His mother asked me to make sure that he wasn’t around any rough elbows or anything else that could re-break his nose. I assured her that we’d make sure he was careful. When she was out of sight, he started moving and I swear he didn’t stop until I yelled at him to sit down after he almost knocked me over (this was near the end of the party). We caught him snooping in Ian’s office and in Liam’s bedroom. He had a habit of being in the opposite part of the house from the rest of the kids: if they were in Aiden’s room, he was in the dining room and if they came upstairs, he tried sneaking around downstairs.

Sam ran circles at top speed around the wall dividing the kitchen and living room and didn’t care who he bumped into…he also didn’t apologize. He ignored us when we asked him to stop. He didn’t listen to instructions (and consequently shot his grandmother during training…you don’t fire as soon as you turn the corner) and pushed his way to the front when they lined up to try not to trip the laser beam (streamer) alarm hallway – he also does not understand the meaning of one at a time.

Apparently, he jumped on Aiden’s bed as soon as he got in there. He mucked with Aiden’s Darth Vader bobble head and wound up ruining it. He opened the map of the Enterprise which had been given it Ian by the guy who designed it (that had been hiding in a closet). Over all, he respected nothing and no one.

Then there was the incident where he pushed me out of his way while I was holding Callan. I nearly fell over and he didn’t even have the decency to apologize. As it was, there was no need for him to go in that direction. The rest of the kids had come upstairs and turned left into the living room. He decided to go for another lap around the wall. I yelled. I yelled at some other mother’s son and I do not at all feel sorry for it. Granted, I should have just sent him home when he proved that he couldn’t behave, I didn’t want to do that to Aiden.

Those two are also the reason that the entire group didn’t get the invisible ink from the treat  bags. We figured if they were that horrible at listening to instructions then they’d probably burn their parents’ houses down trying to make a message appear.

When the dust had settled, Ian and I quickly came to the conclusion that neither of the two boys should be allowed back in our house until they settle down and can behave in modern polite society. We won’t, however tell Aiden that he can’t play with or be friends with them. That would only lead to defiance.

I broke the news to Aiden at breakfast and he seemed understanding. He was rather upset that Sam had broken one or two of his toys as it was. I imagine having his parents say that Sam is not allowed back saves him from the embarrassment of – at some point – having to say that he doesn’t want Sam to come back. When it comes to Trevor, Aiden said that he, “kept talking about yucky stuff,” and he didn’t like that.

It ended up being the perfect lead-in to how we expect the boys to behave when they’re in someone’s house as guests. It all boils down to, “better than you would at home.” I also laid out the consequences for him should he ever behave like Sam and Trevor did: he won’t be allowed to visit anyone until he proves to us that he knows how to behave.

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Lesson of the Day: Birthday Parties Are Not For the Weak

Today’s Lesson: Birthday parties are not for the weak or next year they’re going bowling.

We now have two kids in the house who were born in January. This is unfortunate. Why? I’m sorry you thought that, now I’ll have to tell you.

For starters, our children are spoiled. Between us, my parents, Ian’s mother, his father, his Aunt and Uncle, and Aiden’s grandfather, the three of them come out of Christmas looking like bandits with all the presents and cash that they get. This leaves us with the problem of trying to figure out what to get for them immediately after they got everything they wanted and some things they didn’t realize that they wanted (I swear next year they get clothes…but then they’re spoiled and they don’t need clothes either).

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Lesson of the Day: Lying Just May Be a Bad Idea

Today’s lesson: Lying just may be a bad idea or if you’re going to lie don’t be obvious.

Our oldest (soon to be 10) has developed a little habit of lying. Last year, he told me that he had eaten almost all of his lunch in about 15 minutes – the same child who (at the time) took over an hour to eat a meal. He had given his sandwich to another child (and after he had been caught lying had tried telling me that he was going to get it back…except it turns out that he’d been giving his sandwiches away for over a week). He also, at one point had told me that peanut butter was no longer allowed in his school instead of telling me he didn’t want peanut butter sandwiches anymore (hence the reason he was giving them away). What he didn’t realize is that the school would have to send a note home with the kids to make a change like that. I had checked with the school in September since at the time, all he wanted was PB&J.

Now, thanks to a couple instances where he had lied about pushing his little brother, we’ve run into a little problem. The middle boy (months away from 4 years old) has taken to calling wolf by accusing his brother of hitting him, kicking him, or pushing him. Alas, if we didn’t witness it, we can never be too sure who to believe: the child who would deny it whether he did it or not or the child who would just as soon blame his brother as his own clumsiness. I do not at all encourage lying, but this is an excellent example of when to lie. When it comes down to he-said-she-said (or in our house he-said-he-said) you can’t prove anything either way and either everyone gets punished or everyone’s off the hook  (unless it’s a criminal case…then it’s different…don’t break the law).

This weekend, though, the oldest managed to give us a couple examples of when and how not to lie in the same day. The boys generally get up before me because, thanks to the baby, I don’t really get much sleep until the world starts to wake up (I swear I get my  best sleep between 8AM & 10AM). As a result, I require them to have a small breakfast as soon as they get up to tide them over until one of us is up and ready to make a big breakfast (bacon & eggs, pancakes, french toast…). Saturday was a miss, but Sunday, at least one of them actually ate something. I ask every morning on the weekend so I know how long quickly I have to get food on the table.

In response to my query as to what he ate, I was told, “Toast…a banana and toast.” The kitchen didn’t look any different from when I went to bed, so I asked him what he did with his plate. After a lot of pausing and false starts, he told me that he put the plate in the dishwasher…the same dishwasher that I had run Saturday night and not emptied. Oops. So I checked the dishwasher for the dirty plate (and noticed that there was indeed a banana missing). There was no dirty plate. The dishwasher had exactly the same dishes in it as when I ran it and there were no used knives or plates anywhere in the kitchen, dining room, or living room. Then it hit me…the toast is a lie. So I confronted him, presented him with the evidence and reminded him that a piece of fruit was an acceptable small breakfast for the weekend and he hadn’t needed the toast anyway and he admitted the lie. At which point, I informed him that it would be in his father’s hands after breakfast.

The second case came within an hour of the first. Sunday was Ian’s day to deal with the kids in the morning, so when the middle one came to me for assistance with getting his controller started to join his older brother’s game, I sent him to his father (horrible, yes, but I was half asleep and Ian had agreed to be the go-to parent for the morning). When I got up and saw them both frantically mashing buttons, I thought nothing of it. I figured that he had gotten his father (which he didn’t do) or that his brother had helped him. We had added a second controller the previous day so both of the boys and I knew it could be done, and the older one knew how. He also knew that in a single player game, you could switch the character you were using – which you had to do to get through all of the levels. In the two player game, you each control one of the characters and have to cooperate to get through the levels.

At one point, around the time their father came upstairs, they asked for help with something. I took the middle boy’s controller and tried to do something with it. It was at that point that I noticed that it wasn’t connected to the game. No one had helped him connect it after all! I immediately felt horrible, but it turned out that he hadn’t known the difference. His brother had though, and hadn’t done a thing about it. It made the game easier for him if his little brother wasn’t ‘helping’ and since the second character is controlled by the game in single player mode. Sadly, he hasn’t learned the concept of plausible deniability and therefore tried denying knowing that his brother wasn’t actually playing. There is no way his father would believe that he didn’t know that it wasn’t a two player game (he even admitted to switching characters which can’t be done in a two player game).

I went back to frying bacon (mmm…bacon) and left Ian to deal with the boys…which he did…after breakfast.

Now that he’s proven that he can and will lie rather easily, I find it difficult to trust him when it matters. I know that this will pass, it may not be a phase that he’ll grow out of but we will break him of lying. At least, if he ever wants to be allowed to stay home alone, he’s going to have to build that trust back up. At the same time, though, I have to laugh at how obvious his lies were and how he’s lying over small things that he wouldn’t get in trouble for. I mean, if I were going to lie about something, I’d at least make sure that it was worth it if I got caught.

So what glaringly obvious lies have your children told?

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Lesson of the Day: If You Keep Doing Things for Your Kids…

Today’s lesson: If you keep doing things for your kids, they’ll  never be able to do those things on their own.

So last year, when Aiden was still new to our household, he’d take forever to do anything. In an attempt to a) make him get ready for school faster and b) make sure he didn’t look like to total miss matched slob, I picked out his clothing for him every morning while he was eating breakfast. This went on for almost the entire school year (at least I can’t recall doing it in May and June, though I might have) before I finally let him dress himself over the summer. Or perhaps that’s not dress himself as he seemed to think that it was acceptable to stay in his pajamas all day (that’s a story for another time…maybe).

I spent the summer reminding him to put on clean underwear every day on top of trying to get him to stick to his morning routine so that getting ready for school on Sept. 1 wouldn’t be so hard for him. The problem there, is that his grandmother visited for a few weeks and she often would tell him – in her own way – that it’s okay to not follow the house rules. The result is that he stopped making his bed when he got up, he stayed in his pajamas (including old underwear), he went back to complaining about meals and trying to not eat. All in all, he became more difficult to deal with again, and that stayed with him into the new school year.

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Lesson of the Week: Don’t Leave Your Bike Out…

This week’s lesson: Don’t leave your bike out or it may get stolen.

In a way, this lesson has been in the making since last year. We were still in the rented house over the summer and it had steps leading down to the garage. These steps, combined with Mr. Forgetful’s innate ability to never be responsible for anything led to him not putting his bike away for the majority of summer last year. Ian would frequently remind him to put it away, and yet he would leave it out for weeks at a time (apparently being in the fenced-in back yard protected it). We moved. There are no steps leading to the garage – though there are a few once you get IN the garage…unless you go in from the back alley, in which case there are none.

In the spring, he passed a bike safety test so we told him he’d get to ride to specific places in the neighbourhood this summer. He didn’t. To be fair, the first part of the summer saw the boys banned from playing in the yard due to a massive ant population that Ian was trying to deal with (ask me about the ant wars sometime). I’m convinced that since the survivors merely migrated to the back corner of the lot that they actually won, but that has nothing to do with Aiden and his bike. Later in the summer, he would occasionally go to the park by our old place to play with the kids he played with last year. I recall one incident where his chain came off and he left his bike on the side of the road to continue home to get a toy!

Finally, September rolled around and we sent him off to school..on his bike…with a bike lock. Pretty much the whole household was sick at the beginning of September (I blame Ian). One morning, Aiden left his agenda on the table when he left. I (while still sick) took it up to the school for him and took that chance to check out his bike. He was actually using his bike lock! And then he would come home and leave his bike in the backyard. Of course, he learned last year that a fence would protect it!

Nearly two months went by with Aiden leaving his bike in the yard instead of the garage and Ian reminding him, to no avail, to put it away. Then a few things happened: first, Aiden broke the lock on the gate (I swear it sounded like he was trying to kick the door in). Second, he brought friends over (one of whom  had never met before but that’s a story for another day) through the backyard where his bike supposedly still was. Third, when he left to go to school on Monday, his bike was missing. Not only was his bike missing, but Mr. Forgetful forgot what he had done with it. He grabbed my key to check the garage, then checked his backpack to see if he had his bike lock in case he left his bike behind at school on Friday(!) and then he started thinking that he had left it across the street on the weekend even though he hadn’t touched his helmet since he got home from school on Friday. I believe reality set in a little when he had to walk to school Monday morning…especially since he had been wasting time before getting ready to leave and didn’t have time to go across the street to look for his bike.

Ian replaced the lock on Sunday and I didn’t hear anyone trying to get in the gate after that, so chances are that it was gone before then. It may not have been one of the kids that Aiden brought over on Saturday, but the timing strikes me as odd since he’d left the bike out for months and it only disappeared after a couple of shorter kids realized that it was really easy to open our gate when the lock was broken.

This is by far the biggest ticket item that he has lost over the past year (the others being 3 water bottles and a pair of snow pants). Unsurprisingly, he’s not too concerned about replacing his bike now that he knows he’ll be paying a portion of the cost of a new one. In fact, when I informed him that he’d be shelling out some of his own money for a new bike, he resorted to his standard passive-aggressive behaviour for when things don’t get handed to him for nothing and told me that he didn’t want a new bike anyway. The sad news there is that he doesn’t have much of a choice. If he wants some freedom, he’s going to want a bike and he’ll have to take care of it, too.

Really, this boils down to two lessons: 1) don’t leave things out or they may get stolen and 2) listen to your father when he tells you to do something.

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Lesson of the Day: If You Don’t Remember Where You Put It…

Today’s lesson: If you don’t remember where you put it, how are you going to find it?

A few weeks ago, we bought Aiden a new watch. The idea behind it was that he could go out and play with his friends and know what time he had to come home. More-so, I wanted him to have a watch when school started because last year he was coming home 20 minutes later than he was told to (I didn’t realize it took an hour for a 15-minute walk down the street) which led me to believe that he had no sense of time whatsoever. So he picked out a fancy Indiglo model that had a Velcro strap. It looked really cute on him (don’t tell him I called him cute, he might squeal and run away covering his head for fear that kisses may follow).

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Grumpy Gus is a Negative Nellie

Grumpy Gus is a Negative Nellie…or something like that.

So today, we planned a surprise trip to Dairy Queen after dinner. It’s Miracle Treat Day which is an excellent excuse to buy Blizzards and not feel guilty and we figured that the kids would enjoy the treat.

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