Been Caught Stealin'

Connor's preschool has the AR reading program called Book-In-A-Bag. The school sends home a book in a big ziplock bag for the week. We're supposed to read it everyday and then ask questions. The books are given out on Monday and returned on Friday. The book he was given this week was "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star". So, when he comes home with another book (that is not in a bag) yesterday, I was a bit puzzled. And this is where the story begins.........

Connor comes home from school. He quickly sheds his backpack, opens it up and voila! out pops 'Corduroy goes to the Fire Station' book. Bryan & I look at each other like, "What the.....?" And we know this is trouble.

So, we begin the interrogation.

"Connor, Did Ms. L____ give you this book?" To which he replied, "Nooooo." So then we follow with, "Ok, well then how did you get this book in your backpack?" giggle, smirk....giggle, smirk.....giggle, smirk.... He says, "I sneaked it." Being the somber parents in situations like these, Ravioli & I begin to chuckle a bit. Have you ever watched Saturday Night Live epidsodes with Jimmy Fallon & Horatio Sanz? And they begin to lose it during a skit - they know they shouldn't laugh, they're trying to keep it reigned in, they're trying to regain composure, but just can't? Well, that was us. We're trying oh-so-hard to remain firm and stern. (I had to go in the basement to laugh because I just couldn't handle it anymore).

Anyhooo, I pull myself together & commence with the interrogation.

Connor tells this tale about how a boy in his class had this train book & Ms. M____ (the aide in the class) read this little boy's train book. And he wants her to read one of his. I explain to Connor that if he wants to share a book, we have A LOT of books that we can share. That taking something that doesn't belong to us, without permission is wrong. It's bad. I told him we need to call Ms. L_____ right away. (You should've seen the look on his face. I think he thought I was just threatening him.)
I call Ms. L______ and get her voicemail. (He's off the hook for now - sort of). I leave her a message and ask her to call me back.

Once again, we commence with the interrogation.......

"Connor, how did you get the book in your backpack? Did anyone see you do it?"
At this point he begins mumbling and we can't really understand him, but we're getting the distinct impression he left the room by himself, walked to his locker, put it in his backpack and strolled back into class like nothing happened.
We let it go for the evening.

This Morning....
Connor is sitting with me on the sofa. I look at him and say, "Connor. Where was your backpack when you took the book? In your classroom or in your locker??" He replied, "In my locker. I walked to it right before Ms. L_____ called me to go get my backpack." Hmmmm......
A few minutes later, the phone rings & it's Ms. L_____. I explain to her the story & she says that the boy with the train book brought that in, that it was his book. He put it on the classroom bookshelf & then was asked to put the book in his backpack. And that it sounds like Connor snuck out during clean-up. To which I said, "Well, he really chose his moment then." She said, 'Yes, it's very busy during that time." So, she thanked me for calling & said they (Connor & her) would talk at school today & that today was a special assembly for Positive Behavior & that she thinks she'll make him miss some of it, as a punishment. To try to let him know what he did was wrong - on quite a few levels.
I know my baby did wrong....but my heart broke when she said this. I know that he must be accountable. But it pains me that he's probably going to have a crappy day at school today.
I have to remain strong. I could very easily keep him home. But I have to send him on that bus, where he'll sit happily. Not knowing what is coming in a few short minutes.
I have to keep telling myself that there is a HUGE lesson for him to be learned here. That the best lessons are always the toughest.
Yeah, we're not talking about Capital Murder, Grand Theft Auto or Kidnapping. But what is wrong is wrong. What is right is right. This hurts to know my baby is paying the piper today. But as it is, there aren't enough parents who hold their children accountable when they've done wrong. They want to protect them, make excuses and blame everyone else. That's my first reaction, as a parent. But we're not doing right by our kids or society in doing that.
I'm not trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill, by any means. But I'm just airing out my process in dealing with this. That this is my first 'big' lesson as a parent. That I'm learning right along side my little one.

1 ripples in the pond:

Pippajo said...

I just have to say good for you for holding your sweet little boy to the consequences of his actions, even though it hurts him and you. That's what consequences are all about and that's what builds character. You are dispensing judgement tempered with mercy which is so very difficult to do. He'll remember this. He'll remember that he was responsible for his own discomfort, and that you didn't spare him that but were gentle, loving and supportive, because of your great love for him.

You're right: this is not Capital Murder or Kidnapping, but the underlying theme is the same. There is Right and Wrong and there are Consequences. Those who grow up spared consequences grow up with no conscience.

You're doing a good job. You're a good Mommy.

And sometime I'll have to tell you the story of getting a phone call from the Principal because of My Girl last year.