When I yell "MAYDAY" in the house it means come running because I'm having a child-related emergency usually involving one (or all) of the three p's: pee, poop, or puke. The emergency we're having right now is quite different and can't be helped with baby wipes and hand sanitizer. Therefore, I'm calling upon everyone within the sound of my voice to come to my aid.
Unfortunately, Gabe's not talking so I need your help.
Yesterday, on our way home from a weekend trip to Upstate New York, Max told me not to look in the side storage compartment next to his seat in the back of the minivan. (Following so far? He told me--unprompted--not to do something I had no intention of doing.) So of course, I immediately tried to reach back and see what he was hiding. He freaked out and started crying hysterically. Doug told me not to press the matter and we'd check it later. We got home late last night and after getting the kids inside, I went back to the car to satisfy my curiosity. (And to unload a bunch more crap.)
Hidden underneath a travel box of tissue and a travel pillow I found a small car. Specifically, "Nitroade" from the movie "Cars". This was a toy I'd never seen before. I assumed he'd lifted it from the friends we'd just spent the weekend with.
Fast forward to this morning. After talking to Doug about it, we decided I'd talk to him, but defer punishment until Daddy and I could talk to him together this evening.
So, I brought him into my room and had him sit next to me on the bed. I told him I'd found the car and asked where he got it. (Fully expecting to hear it was Kody's.)
Max: "I got it at preschool."
Max: "Yeah. I got it at Wise Owl on the first day of school. Not the day we got to meet the teacher, the first day we had school."
Me: (long pause while I digest the fact that he's been hiding this for almost a year.)
Me: "Why did you take it?"
Max: "'Cause Sammy had a MILLION Cars and I didn't have ANY!" (Silly us...we'd been buying him the PIRATE toys he wanted.)
Me: "Did you take any more?"
Max: No. I thought about taking more, but then I thought one would be enough.
Me: Did you feel bad that you stole something?
Max: No, because Sam has a MILLION! (In the mean time, he has acquired a few of his own.)
So, we talked a little bit more and I told him we'd talk with Daddy about it later. I was completely shocked. Mostly by his lack of guilt and remorse! (Yes, I know he's five but I'm still feeling guilty about stealing Jenny's gumballs when I was that age, so the least he can do is feel a little shame!)
Doug and I just don't know quite how to handle this. Max is almost six so we both think this has the potential to make a big impression on him...and we want it to be the right one.
Here are some of the things we've been discussing:
Taking away his "Cars" cars,
Making him buy more Cars using his own money and giving them away (to the preschool? a homeless shelter?),
Taking away other, more loved toys for an indeterminate amount of time,
Grounding him from TV, (but of course that punishes me too!)
Of course, he'll HAVE to return the car to his preschool and apologize to his teachers, but unfortunately, that'll have to wait until school starts again next month. What we want is to impress upon him that honesty is important without having to be incredibly mean in the process. He is only five after all.
So that's our conundrum. After being home for about 5 minutes tonight, Doug got called in to the hospital for an emergency. So the punishment has yet to be determined. (It's almost 11 and he's still not home.)
That's why I need YOUR HELP! And fast. I don't want the little punk to think he's gotten off scott free.
So that's my Mayday. If you can figure out away to solve it using wipes and hand sanitizer, all the better.