Hitting is so déclassé.
It’s so old. It’s so out. It’s so last month.
Nope. My third grader is a trendsetter.
Pink is the new black. And flicking is the new hitting.
Flicking is fab. Flicking is neat. Flicking another kid repeatedly in the face during special, small-group reading time because he – you’re not going to believe this – took a colored pencil when he wasn’t supposed to (I know, I know – the horror and insensitivity of that pencil-stealing kid), well, that’s clearly necessary. I mean, what would Jesus do, right? Jesus would probably flick the heck out of that kid.
Or headbutt him. That’s another good, new, totally this century option.
Flicking and headbutting. Suspendable offenses, FYI, when you have 6 other physical aggression notches on your belt.
Which may be partially my fault.
I’m not normally a parent to be all “it’s SO my fault my kid is acting out,” because if I did that every time one of my kids takes a dive off the naughty board, I’d have no time for grocery shopping, going potty or drinking wine. And that will never do.
So I tend to be a guilt-releaser. Adios, Guilt. Sayonara. See ya around town. Just don’t darken my door anytime soon.
But, um, I might have to make an exception just this once and invite Guilt over for a short stay.
My point was not to give Miss Aden inspiration.
I swear I have a good defense.
See, I thought it was a good opportunity. A chance to do three things:
- Show my kids that no matter what they do, Greg and I still love them, and that we’ll work through anything together.
- Be transparent and open with my kids.
- Grab a teachable moment for my preschool boys, so they can learn from their big sister.
That’s why, at the request of my 4-year-olds and 9-year-old, I happily told “Naughty Aden” stories. And I made them entertaining and funny.
Now that I type that in black and white, I can see it. The “Good Grief, Beth! What were you thinking?” subtext.
The harbinger of Poor Choices to Come.
But I don’t have scrolling subtitles in my life, so I didn’t catch it at the time.
I got all wrapped up in telling my kids a good story. I told Cai, Cael and Aden about the time when Aden was 2, and she got a time-out. An EASY time-out with no minimum sentence. In fact, all she had to do to get out of that time-out chair was apologize.
Yep, that’s it.
All she had to do was apologize.
All she had to do.
Really, Miss Aden. All you have to do is say, “I’m sorry.”
Know what? I’ll cut it in half. Just one word. How about just, “Sorry?”
But no. Nothing. Stony-faced silence from the Mistress of Stubbornness.
Two-year-old Aden was there for 2 hours. And then she fell asleep. In the time out chair.
So she ended up with no additional consequences because stupid parenting books don’t tell you what to do when your toddler falls asleep in time-out. Can she even remember her crime after a 2-hour time-out and a nap? Is it useless the way rubbing a dog’s face in poo is useless? I have no idea. None.
So I released her for time served, and we moved on.
The kids loved that story. And the 7 or 8 others I told. They thought they were hilarious. And so did I. We laughed together. (I know. I know. What was I thinking?)
And Aden was super hip to the tale-telling idea.
Um, apparently, too hip. Judging by, oh, the second suspension she received in a month.
I promise I tried. I prefaced every story with, “Isn’t it silly how naughty Aden used to be? Aren’t we glad Aden knows how to act like a big girl now?”
And, “Isn’t it more fun being a big kid and getting to do big kid things?”
That sound you heard was the CRACK of my parenting backfiring. Don’t be alarmed; we hear that a lot around here.
As of this very moment, we are 3.5 weeks post-suspension. Post-the-second-suspension, I mean. The one for headbutting. Which I found a particularly creative and inspired way to be ejected from school. Which I did NOT tell Aden. Which proves I can learn, despite evidence to the contrary.
One week to go, ladies and gentlemen, ’til school is out!
Please feel free to join my attempt to break the Guinness World Record for Knocking on Wood. It takes a wood-knocking village, folks. A giant, wood-knocking village.