I had a post mentally written today (thank you ear buds for breaking today for the time to write that post while I was running) all about how I am probably the only person in the world who has no interest in the royal wedding today. It was a good one, but it isn’t going to happen.
I got home and was putting laundry away when I realized I have a far more important (to me) post to write, and the royal wedding one won’t be timely after today.
I’m used to parenting Mister Man. He’s a pretty good kid. Sure, he does things he isn’t supposed to and gets in trouble both at home and at school periodically, but it’s never malicious and purposely being bad. He always feels horrible about it afterwards, and much of it is related to his autism. It’s frustrating, but I get it.
Little Miss is a different bird altogether. She’s got “a lot of personality” I tell people, which is the nice way of putting it. She’s the one I worry about as she gets to the teen years. She is “mischievous” but oh so sweet and wraps everyone (sans me) around her little finger. She’s just got that perfect personality.
And I’m having a problem with her. The good news is that she isn’t good at being sneaky and hiding evidence – yet. Last week, I caught her eating candy that she can’t eat because it contains dairy that she’s allergic to. In a way, it was my fault as I’d left it sitting on the kitchen table after the Easter Egg hunt until I’d sorted it and dealt with it all. Mister Man would never dream of sneaking candy, and I had assumed the same was the case with Little Miss.
When she walked into the office with a cheek puffed like a chipmunk, I knew it had been wishful thinking. After prying her mouth open – she refused to tell me what was in her mouth, but I could tell by her reaction that it was something she shouldn’t be eating – I asked her to show me what she’d taken. In the garbage, I found more candy wrappers. And later, I found more on the floor.
I explained the necessity of not eating the candy she’s allergic to (and thankfully, it isn’t an anaphylactic shock issue, but it makes her sick) and to always ask me before she takes any food so that I know what she’s eating. We talked about the treats that she does get from me fairly regularly and the importance of trust. And then I kept her home from the open gym we were headed to, just taking Mister Man.
Yesterday morning, I discovered more candy wrappers upstairs in her room. She claims that they were from that same day, and I have no way of proving otherwise. This morning, I found two more wrappers shoved into her closet that were not there when I’d done laundry on Tuesday. We discussed the problem with this. I did tell her that because she was honest with me about where she got the candy and why she was eating it, I wouldn’t take away her soccer game this afternoon. That said, she’ll still be punished. We had planned to go out for a nice Japanese dinner tonight, just the two of us, while my husband was at a school event and Mister Man was at a birthday party. Nope, we’re going grocery shopping and then coming home to have sandwiches for dinner. There will be no special night for us tonight.
This afternoon, I headed upstairs to put away the laundry I’d done that morning when discovering the candy wrapper stash. I was admiring how well she’d made her bed this morning when I discovered this:
That isn’t all of it. There’s more, including her name written backwards and other doodles.
I am so angry right now that I could spit.
I’m frustrated and angry and bewildered why she would do this. She will definitely be cleaning it off herself (umm how do you remove crayon from painted wood?) this afternoon when she gets off the bus. If it makes her late for her soccer game, so be it.
But there has to be more of a punishment than that, right? Something has got to sink in to her that she needs to respect her things, not destroy them, tell me the truth, and trust me so that I can learn to trust her again. Because she’s five. If she’s doing this at five, what happens at 10 or 15 or 20?
I’m debating clearing everything out of her room except her bed, dressers, and clothes.
I’m debating telling her she can’t go to her birthday party on Sunday.
I’m debating telling her that she isn’t mature and responsible enough to be in the pre-team gymnastics class she was just invited to join.
I’m debating telling her that she’s banned from the computer for a week – and she loves doing her Compass learning program on the computer when we have a free moment.
Somehow, I’m missing what’s going to get through to her. I know I can’t be the only mom going through this with a “spirited” child. How have you handled it? What should I do next? Any suggestions for punishments for this latest transgression?