Thursday, August 2, 2007

Poor Choices

We make a lot of poor choices in our house. And when I say "we," I mean... Buddy.

One day a couple years ago Buddy was did something I objected to and I said, "Well, that was a poor choice!" I was trying to be a good parent and not criticize him, just his bad behavior. I also wanted him to realize he needed to control his own actions, and it was his choice how he behaved. Well, that little catch phrase stuck. It seems like every other thing out of my mouth, or every other thing that goes through my head is, "That was a poor a choice." But I'm not the only one. Buddy is awfully quick to point out poor choices, both mine and his.

He is constantly saying things like:

"I know you said I could have some blueberries, but my behavior has been bad."

While holding up his index finger, "My superhero stuff is in time out. If I make one more poor choice, it'll be in time out for a long time, right?"

"If I make a poor choice, I won't get to play with my pirate toys, right?"

"Do you remember when you forgot to bring my apples to church? That was a poor choice."

He obviously is aware of what is unacceptable behavior and what the consequences might be, but why on earth can't he JUST BEHAVE? That's a conversation for another post, though.

Tonight at dinner we had a lengthy discussion about what types of poor choices warrant being hauled off to jail. We saw a bunch of police officers the other night at the county fair. They brought a police car, a police dog that apparently was trained to kill (YIKES!), and they had some officers applying temporary tattoos to the kids' arms. All of these things interested Buddy, of course. SO, I told him that police officers take kids to jail if they make a lot of poor choices.

Oops... that was a poor choice. Because now he's really concerned he's going to jail. I already told him a few days ago that I was just kidding about that and they never take kids to jail. Still, he can't get that horrible thing I said out of his mind. Whenever I give him an answer that doesn't satisfy, he brings it up and over and over again until he gets an answer that does. Like his questions about breastfeeding and tampons. But those stories can wait until another post too.

So, tonight he brought the whole jail thing up again. "Do they take mommies to jail if they make poor choices?" I quickly tried to think of an age-appropriate answer for him, so I said, "No not usually."

He said, "They put things on a mommy's hands and put her in a police car on TV." OK, we never watch TV when he's awake (For reasons like this. Plus, you can't hear a darn thing when he's around because he talks so much. I love you, Tivo), so I have no idea where he saw that. So I said, "When mommies make very, very poor choices, they go to jail. If a mommy makes a little poor choice, then she just says 'sorry' and tries to be nice."

I continued, "Some mommies aren't nice to their kids. Good mommies love their kids, make their kids clean up their toys, and try to help their kids make good choices. So that's why police officers don't put any kids in jail and hardly ever put mommies in jail. Mommies are supposed to take care of their kids and if their kids make poor choices, the mommy is in charge, not the police officer. Mommies put kids in time out, not jail."

Then he said, "My mommy is a good mommy."

Ah, yes! I can not express how relieved I was that he said that. Hopefully the lesson about jail AND why mommies put kids in time out sticks.

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