Monday, October 4, 2010


Jack had a bad day. I could tell by his face when he got off the bus after school. He pretty much whispered "Mom, it was a really bad day...". Okay..."Tell me all about it" I said, as I put my arm around him. We got into my car (which I conveniently parked a few feet away) and drove up the driveway because it was raining and it's just such a freaken steep and long driveway! Jack was sitting in the front seat trying to explain what happened.

Jack: I was just trying to make up a song (again with the singing?) and then I was told to stop singing and when I didn't, then I had to move my clip down to "think about it".

me: I know you even went 2 steps below that, so why didn't you stop when the teacher asked you to?

Jack: Because it was going to be a really good song and I couldn't remember the words so I had to just HAD to keep singing it until I could get it out. (a little OCD thrown in to boot)

me: Okay, well, I think you know the situation here.

Jack: No cookie from the bakery. (big frown) And no video or computer. (looks as though the world just ended)

me: That's right. We'll go in and have a snack.

Jack: But I was bad so how am I allowed to have a snack!??

me: Sweetie, being bad doesn't mean that you can't eat. It just means that there won't be any treats or special privileges.

Jack: Okay. (he goes in to change and I hear the usual loud wail of a cry) I WANNNNT TO STAYYYY ON "READY TO LEARRRNNNNNN"!! Wahhhhhhh!

me: You know what? You can have another chance at that tomorrow.

Jack: But what if it's hard again tomorrow?

me: Just think about how you want to behave, and what things you'll like to do after school when you stay on "ready to learn". I know you can do it. If you don't get any warnings from your teacher, then your clip won't move. See how upset you are right now?

Jack: Yessssss.

me: Do you want to be this upset tomorrow?

Jack: Noooooo.

me: Well?

Jack: I know I know, I'm in charge of my own behavior.

me: When you go to Tae Kwon Do today you can practice. You know when the master is working with some other kids, and you're waiting against the wall for your turn? Well, you can sit up straight and pay attention and don't mess around with the other kids. Then the master will say "Look at Jack acting just like a champion"

Jack: But they never look at me and say that!

me: Because you're always fooling around. If you behave the entire time, even when they're not looking, then the one time they do look, they'll see how good you're sitting.

Jack: That's character.

me: What is.

Jack: The definition of character. In art class it says "Character: How you behave when no one else is looking". That's how I know what it is.

me: Hmmm. Well, see? It's just what I said. If you behave when no one is looking, then that's the good boy behavior that you'll get used to.

Jack: I want to have character!

me: Well you definitely have that, but it just means if you behave when no one is looking, that is the way you are deep inside.

Jack: I can do it. I'm a character!!

Sigh. He sort of got the point. Let's see what tomorrow brings. It's not enough that we do every single little thing for our children, so that they can have a happy, healthy, safe and productive day, while wearing clean underwear...but we also have to teach them about morals, and manners and behavior, and right and wrong, and "do unto others" and discipline and cause and effect along with rules and consequences. If you think stay at home moms have it easy, all I can say is ... try it for yourself. I bet you won't quit your day job.


  1. Good grief. I hope you had a glass of wine after that day. He is amazing!

  2. Whew. Instead I baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies. And in a nod to your mom, I added wheat germ! I'll let you try some tomorrow. Oh wait, you're not in tomorrow. :)