My kitchen turned into an episode of Scared Straight last night. The scene began after my daughter started copying my 5-year-old. She is two years younger, but still manages to get under his skin. “She is copying me,” said my son demanding I make it stop. “She is copying me,” my daughter giggled. I threatened time out for teasing, but it wasn’t working. “You’re a baby, baby, baby,” my daughter taunted. We all know calling someone not one, not two, but a baby three times is trouble. Them is fighting words. Then, my daughter, knowing it would really tick him off, started drawing with his new pencils. “That’s mine,” he declared, trying to snatch it out of her hand. “You need to share. Right Mom?” Oh hell no! Did my toddler just throw the share rule in my face? She sure did! Before I could say another word I heard the sound that sent chills down my spine. “Snap!” She broke a pencil. I took a deep breath, preparing for the tears to flow, but my son surprised me. Instead of crying or going on the attack he gave a lecture. “You know what? You can’t break people’s stuff ’cause you’re gonna go to jails. And ya know what? There won’t be anyone in jails to give you a bath or read you books. You can’t bring your toys to jails. Is that what you want?” By the end he was spitting like a drill sergeant. I’ve never threatened imprisonment before, but maybe I should start. My daughter dropped the pencil, apologized and started sobbing. “I don’t want to live in jails.” I wasn’t going to let this moment pass. “Then you need to behave.” Who knew Bubba in cell block D would make my kids behave more than Santa Claus?
Do not pass Go
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