Nothing makes a prosecutor's case easier than a signed confession from a suspect. And nothing makes me feel better about doling out punishment to the kids than knowing my hunch was correct.
We've had our share of food fights in this house. Don't picture Animal House . . it's not like that. What we have are arguments concerning what the kids will and will not eat. Mandi, being the alarmist that she is, feels that this will lead down a slippery slope to eating disorders, and has insisted that it be kept to a minimum. I don't buy her argument, mostly because I'm not concerned with how much the kids eat but rather that there's a balance between healthy and junk foods. Take yesterday, for instance. Avery wanted a Pop Tart for breakfast. I told her she could have it, but that she also had to eat a half of a banana. She agreed, and I was satisfied.
Fast forward ten minutes and I'm in the laundry room getting a load of whites into the washer when I hear a loud metallic thump come from the trash can. I look, and there's Ave with a guilty-as-sin look on her face, staring right at me. In my eyes, she'd waited for me to get out of sight and then tried to sneak the banana into the trash. I immediately told her she was grounded from her TV and computer for the weekend, and she started bawling. She insisted she wasn't trying to be sneaky, rather that she was just not hungry. I wasn't buying what she was selling, and I stuck to my guns. When she went upstairs crying, I was left with the slightest guilty feeling that I'd accused her of something she hadn't done, which honestly haunted me for the rest of the day. I don't want her to think I don't trust her. But I also don't want her to think she can pull the wool over my eyes on a regular basis and not get called out. We've got to establish that precedent now, before we start into the teenage years.
To top it all off, later in the afternoon I went upstairs to check on her after a few hours of not hearing from her, only to discover her staring wide-eyed at me in the doorway holding her remote control and whimpering "I forgot I was grounded!" Yeah, sure you did. I decided not to make a huge deal out of it, so I just left and let her stew. Apparently that was the point at which she decided to come clean, albeit in her own special way. When I came upstairs to get her for dinner about an hour later, she was on the bed writing diligently. My curiosity was peaked, so I snuck a peek at her work. What I found not only made me feel justified in handing down the punishment, but it also made me laugh hysterically at the inner-workings of an 8-year-old's mind. Here's the original, and I'll re-type it for your reading pleasure.
On a hot summer day I was kept in my room and could not come out. That's because I was grounded. All because of a banana. OK fine I'll tell you the story. This morning I was eating breakfast. I wanted pancakes so that ment I had to have a bannana with them. So I ate my waffels but I tried to sneak my banna in the trash can. So I woulden't have to eat it. But my dad caught me and grounded me. So thats why I'm doing laundry right now. I'll tell you the things I can't do: watch tv, play on computre, play outside, call friends. I was glad it was aredy five o'clock so my boring friday was almost over. Oh I forgot to tell you the worst part of it all! I'm grounded for the weekend. I begged my dad for it to be on a weekday but he said NO. I was geting lots of phone calls from my friends if I could play but I had to say no. Tonight I just straight went to bed at seven because I couldent do anything else to do so I went to bed. *flower* The next morning I woke up then I thought of something right when I woke up. I thought that since it had been a day that she could watch tv and her dad might not remember her being grounded so she flicked on her tv. She herd foodsteps in the hall it was her sister. Her sister was four years old. Her sister opened the door "Can I have barbie" her sister Lily asked? No. Then Lily started screaming tv! tv! tv! tv! . . . I covered Lily's mouth, dad came up. Oh, said dad. Dad swiped the TV. "No!", I cried.
Is that not priceless? I love how she changes some of the facts to protect the innocent (Lily was 4, not 3) and completely made up other parts of the story (the part about Barbie just isn't true). And was it pancakes or waffles she wanted? It was a Pop Tart. Lots of phone calls from her friends? The total was zero. Anyway, it was great for me to get what amounts to a signed confession in this deal. It's just a bonus that I got a good blog post out of it too.