Jul 16, 2007


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."

Me: "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!)

etc., etc.

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.


Anonymous said...

way to be the awesome parents about this. :) I like the soulution of having him work for a new car & giving it to the preschool or to a child that has not been blessed with so much. Kuddos to u guys :)

Anonymous said...

I say dip the punk in the hand sanitizer and then ship him off to the Belcher's where they know how to deal with this kind of stuff.

Actually it sounds like the Maxer knows what he did was wrong or you wouldn't have got the "don't look in..". Perhaps review the steps of repenting on a low key level and follow them with him. Your idea of having him earn a new "Cars" car and taking it to the preschool is great. Along with Nitro of course. Maybe the teacher or school admin could be reached sooner rather then when school starts again so this does not have to drag out. P.S. You are an awesome mommy. I love you. Dougie probably ripped off his share of Big League chew in his day and he turned out ok.

hilari said...

i love this story. it is just the kind of wierd stuff i have to deal with with my boys. just yesterday i had to try to explain to my boys and to my two nephews (all 7 and under) what a virgin was. i HAD to because they saw the the cover of 40 year old virgin at Blockbuster and just wouldn't let it go.....I told them to let me think for a moment and then the best i could come up with was that a virgin is someone who isn't married and hasn't had kids - this kind of stuff is hard because i want to be honest yet give an age appropriate answer. sorry for the long post from someone you don't know - but, seeing that mrs. dub is basically my sister and you are basically her sister - we're sisters. not to mention that we are both sister so and so...

Shelly said...

you are the coolest mommy! i think the earning cars and donating them is a good idea. in the mean time, on my flight, i'll write a story about a situation kind of like this with places that are perfect to make interjections like "how do you think this made so and so feel?" and "what would you do?" and such and such because OBVIOUSLY i'll have nothing better to do and i haven't been writing at all this summer and this sounds like an awesome project! haha! i'm such a dork! high five!

btw: have i told you how excited i am to see you?!

DianeM said...

Gee Em, I don't know how to help with this one, as you know my kids are angelic and NEVER cause trouble. (GIRLS...STOP YELLING IN THERE!!!I'm trying to blog:)

Sounds like you're doing the right thing...and No, I don't believe Doug EVER stole a thing in his life, not even Big League Chew.

Mrs. Dub said...

as you know, i'm more apt to steal than miss dub at this point. though to my credit, she is ultimately responsible.

i like all of your ideas, but think sheba's idea to stress the steps of repentance is a nice addition. remorse isn't always easy when you're young.

on a side note, it's pretty amazing he could keep it hidden for that long. remind me to tell him all my juicy secrets.

Marni said...

Oh boy...is this what I have to look forward to? I LOVE the idea about earning his own new car.

Unfortunately, I don't have any other ideas - mine are too young and I haven't even thought about this type of "mayday" issue! Good luck! Hope you had a great trip!

mama bear said...

Kody only WISHES he had Nitroad!! No, I say make him drink the sanitizer and mummify him with the wipes. Then make him earn the money for a donated car. Good luck with this one, I hope the klepto virus didn't infect my kids - I've kept my offenses buried deep down in my memory and I'd hate to bring them out again for "lesson teaching".
Miss you already!

Anonymous said...

A kid that goes to my church was taking balls from his school (I think he is a year or two older than Max). His mom had the bishop talk to him about baptism and stuff like that. It wasn't really a scary thing, they just wanted him to hear it from someone else, I guess. I don't know, I must not have ever "learned that lesson" because I don't think it is that big of deal. Yep, my kids are hellians!

Andy said...

Parenting? Why don't you just forget about that and let's go get dessert. Let's plan it!

Linz said...

I think the best way to make and impression is to make the consequence motivational. Any of your solutions are good, but use which ever one is going to be the most motivating. I think that taking his most beloved toys away for a period of time would probably pack more of a punch then taking away the cars. I do like the idea of having him buy a car to give to someone else too. Good luck and good job on being good parents!

Girls Galore said...

Guys, lay off the poor, oppressed kid. Hey, Max has been disenfranchised and excluded by you discriminating against him and unfairly favoring Sammy with the cars. No justice, no peace. Max finally decided to stick it to the man, and take care of some badly needed wealth re-distribution. The kid is entitled to reparations for your oppressive denial of his toy rights!

The Rev. Al Sharpton