Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Universe 2 - Jeanie 0

For those of you playing at home, you will recall last week I skited about my organisational skills and was smited (as opposed to smitten, a far more pleasurable experience).

Then I went on and thumbed my nose at the universe about lying. What the heck was I thinking?

And as we know, Monday began badly and I was apprehensive about what sort of child I would find on Monday afternoon.

Unfortunately, Monday afternoon came all too soon and I was to discover the nature of the beast the universe had concocted for me.

As I work at home and occasionally travel to other workplaces, 'Salina has the joy of going to After School Care on Monday afternoons. This way, I can get extra work done if needed, but more importantly she has a presence there if I need to book her as the need arises with my very fluctuating workload.

On Monday I thought that, as she had had such a shocker in the morning, I would go and collect her earlier than normal, even though the occasions I have done so she has protested as she was having so much fun and could I come back later.

As it turned out, that was not required. There was no protest, no early pickup, no fun at After School Care - because 'Salina "forgot" she had to go and had caught the bus home at the usual time.

Oh dear, I thought of my forgetful child, and went to call After School Care to alert them to the missing child.

"Heads up" said the lady I called. "I tried to get her from the bus, actually. One of her classmates told us she had planned to skip today."

Okay, my forgetful child had just morphed into one sneaky little girl, and my compassion flew out the window when I realised that not only had she lied to me, she had done so very, very convincingly.

Her explanation was that she "didn't feel comfortable", which I would have bought had she not had so much fun there whenever we went to collect.

She tried to give us "bullying boys" and "doesn't fit in" lines, but the fact of the matter is that the time to address that is not the day that you skip. She can talk to me about that, she can talk to the staff about that, and she knows there are techniques to overcome these things.

My thoughts - well, I would like to think there was an underlying Monday motive for it.

However - her immediate friends do not go to After School Care on the day that she does (although some do other days and one does every morning). The "best" friend she hatched the plot with does not have to go to care at all.

I think that she didn't feel like it because she was just having a blah day, she knew V was home sick and she thought she could pull some wool over our eyes.

The worst bit - part of the punishment is that, as a parent, I am so disappointed and no matter how endearing my child attempts to be, the underlying grain of sneaky little thing that has upset my trust means that I have to hold on to some degree of grumpiness.

All privileges have been stripped for a few days.

She had to write a letter of apology and understanding to After School Care.

Her room has never been tidier, her lunch box never better prepared and her violin never more practiced. Oh - and V gets to watch as many news programs as he wants in peace!

She did not get her normal Tuesday afternoon play with Girl Down the Road. I think that is the part of the punishment thus far that has hurt her the most.

Review is tomorrow as to what privileges she may get back and when - but frankly - she is actually quite enjoying the fruits of the punishment.

I don't enjoy that I discovered that my daughter can - and how well - lie. But I am enjoying the changes coming over the child since. There may yet be some redemption.

What would you have done - or have you done?


Alison said...

Way to test the boundaries, Miss 'Salina - And way to enforce them mum!
It sounds to me (me, being a total outsider and making assumptions), like Miss 'Salina is finding much comfort in there being consequences for her lying. I'm sure she knew that wool pulling was not a good choice and it sounds like she's happy to have been pulled up on it.
I think you handled it fabulously. In fact - I'd say this one was your point over the universe for such a triumphant recovery.

Debby said...

Ooooh. Lying. That's the worst.

What I always did was sigh heavily about the fact that "When you lie, you cannot be trusted, and when you cannot be trusted, you must be watched", and they would be watched. This meant that had to accompany me where ever I went instead of playing with their friends. Generally speaking, within days, they'd be begging me for the opportunity to prove that they could be trusted. The youngest two are quite trustworthy. Dylan told me the truth so often, I used to find myself wishing that he would lie, just a little, pretty it up some. Cara is so forthright, she just tells it like it is. Tim's kids were old enough that I really had no hand in their early childhood. His son is true blue though.

Debby said...

PS Alison's final line is dead on.

Crazed Nitwit said...

I think you handled it perfectly! I've taken quite a bit of child development(got all A's HA!). Isn't your daughter 8? If she is 8 the behavior, while not a good thing, is very typical of an 8yo esp. an 8yo girl. You're gonna hate me but it just gets worse. She is pushing to discover what her boundaries are. You did a terrific job of defining those boundries and gave appropriate consquences. You get 100%. Small comfort, I know.

8 year olds, in general, lie, are damn sneaky, evade telling you all the important details. If you nab her now and be consistant it will be easier when she's 12/13. It tends to be worse between mom/daughter than between mom/son. It's not fun, she is not going to be happy about it, and it'll give you headaches and a desire to comsume mass quantities of alcohol.

Make her toe the line, she will go back to being a delight before she hits the 12/13 thang.

Now honey, even if it is only me, they are valid complaints. I never said I was sane anyways. Don't fear her growing up so much right now, you may have a child who won't be as irritating as my kids. I was not the perfect mother. Really. I do think I did a good job raising them, giving them a solid background of ethics, structure and expectations. It just doesn't show with boys from 15-25, or so I've been told.

Huge hugs to you. You are in my thoughts and have my complete empathy honey!

Maude Lynn said...

It sounds like you handled perfectly!

BB said...

I am coming at this one from a slightly different angle... she sounds completely normal to me (although not much fun for Mum).

She's finding boundaries (as others have already pointed out) and she's using all the weapons at her disposal. One of which, my dear, is your loathing of lying. Do you still love her even if she lies. Yes. Her world is still intact. She is a clever girl, not an evil one. Her Mummy has many wiles also - and she used them on HER unsuspecting parents from a very young age.

Done well, lil sis.

Hang in there.


mommamia said...

You did great. Keep it up. She is going to push the limits and you just proved you'll push back. She may be enjoying her punishment a bit because if her friend is pushing her to do things it's easier to say no now becuase she got caught.

Your a great Mom!!

Anonymous said...

You've handled this so well!! Great job mum!

The Brave said...

I think your response was perfect and I will keep it on file in case the need arises that I might require it.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't have done better myself. Miss Salina!

jeanie said...

Oh thank you for all your comments - it has really made it all go in to perspective for me a lot more and let go of the "worst mother in the world" complex.

Alison - thank you - I think you know me e-well enough to make assumptions, especially when they make me feel confident and the universe is instead giving me a lovely case of pronoia!

Debby - we are SO going to use that little technique! Thank you.

Janice - I read you blog, I know what the future will bring - but thank you for putting the large 'Salina puzzle piece back in to perspective for me.

BushBabe - another point I am definitely taking away with me.

Mommamia - thank you for another gem out of my dirtpile - very good point.

MamaZen, Bettina, Strauss, Tiff - thank you for those lovely supports - it all makes it worthwhile for people to say "you are doing okay" when you feel like you have just slogged through a conundrum!

Tracey said...

It's very distressing when your kid does "normal" pushing the boundaries stuff isn't it. Like you I hate the lying though, so well done on the handling of the consequences. (In our house, with three of them, I often find myself forgetting the 'consequences' I have set for various midemeanours... or not being able to manage them so well. So I think you've got it all under control there baby!

We had a big blow up here with the nearly 15 yr old on 'handling the truth recklessly' a couple of nights ago. Why is it that the way she responds makes you blow up and handle it all wrong? With the other two I can handle it much more sanely... but this one?!!!

Cathy, Amy and Kristina said...

Oh, scary! Especially that she was so convincing. I think you handled it brilliantly!