Thursday, May 24, 2007

Meanest Mom Award

Plato thinks I earned the Meanest Mom in The Whole World Award last night.

Plato, despite being a boy, is my child who has required little discipline compared to Lulu. He has always been relatively eager to please us, especially me. He is a child who will usually step right back into line with a stern look or a gruff voice, and only occasionally needs threats or a spank on the butt (yes, I spank my kids - rarely and only if nothing else gets through to them...sue me). I never had to spank Plato until he was about 4 years old! Lulu, on the contrary, was getting occasional spanks from about the time she turned one. She's so bullheaded, and has relatively little drive to please anyone save herself! Different methods for different kids.

Anyway, last night Plato was just defiant. He has been more and more this way since kindergarten started and I have tried to just accept it as part of his becoming independent. Sometimes he just takes it too far, like last night.

When the kids come home from school, they are filthy. Especially their feet since it is sandal-season. When we get home I make them sit at the bottom of the (off-white carpeted) stairs and wait for me to go get a washcloth and wash their feet before heading upstairs. Last night we went to the park for a picnic instead of going home. No time for feet-washing, and they had park dirt on top of the school dirt. Ultra-filthy feet.

We drive a Ford Focus. This is the millennium version of the old Escort. It's a fuel-efficient car, especially compared to the Tahoe we got rid of, but the sacrifice is space. The front seats sit in a perfect position for the kids to put their feet up on. The rule is "no feet on the seats." The rule has been in place since we bought the car about a year ago. Filthy sandal feet, mucky winter feet, bare feet - doesn't matter. For some reason (probably involving toddler self-control abilities) we frequently need to remind both kids to keep their nasty feet down.

Last night, Plato just wasn't listening. I asked, then told, then threatened him to keep his feet down. He was simply hyped up. We were sitting in the Fareway parking lot while JeepMan ran in for some ice cream treats. As a diversion from putting his scummy feet on the seat he started picking on Lulu, then pinching me and pulling my hair, giggling the whole time. Finally I blew up and told him no ice cream treats for him - he was going straight to bed when we got home and Lulu would get to stay up and eat her treat. He freaked out, whined, fake-cried...put on a real show. Finally he begged me for "one more chance mom, just ONE more chance!"

This is his new tactic. I have been hesitant to take the bait in the past, but the punishment here seemed pretty harsh so I felt generous and told him ONE MORE CHANCE, but he had to be good all the way home, hands off his sister, quiet, and FEET DOWN. He promised and swore that he would be good all the way home (5 minute drive).

About 90 seconds later his feet were on my seat again AND he was pulling his sister's arm halfway out of it's socket. I lost it.

He cried pitifully all the way home and I didn't flinch. He went straight inside, straight to PJ's and straight to bed. I talked to him about what he did, and what lesson he learned, assured him that I loved him, and kissed him goodnight. He stomped, whined, pouted, and gave me the silent treatment. He said he would never, ever love me, ever again.

About 5 minutes after I left his room, he walked out sheepishly and told me he was sorry and that he had learned his lesson. I hugged him and put him back to bed. As I was tucking him in he said, "But Mom, I thought if I said sorry I would get an ice cream sandwich?"

I stuck to my guns. I said I was proud of him for apologizing, and was glad he had learned a lesson. Then I told him if he made better choices tomorrow he would get an ice cream sandwich then.

Man was that hard.


Monnik said...

You did great. It's hard sticking to your guns. We have to do that with Vali all the time, she's been sent to bed early with no treats two times this week alone.

can you send my friend 'webgal' a blog invite? She likes your blog. I'll email you her address.

WebGal said...

Thanks for the invite to the blog. I really enjoyed reading your blog before you made it invite-only. You have a great writing style!

T2K said...

Poor, poor Plato. Just be thankful that it doesn't happen very often with him. This will be a lesson learned. Good for you for sticking to your guns!

Mom In Scrubs said...

Welcome, Webgal!! I love comments.
I had to make it invite-only to keep my coworkers from having open access - privacy, you know.
I am open to inviting people I don't work with though, so let me know if there's anyone else interested! Happy Reading!