Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Molly was outside playing today with one of the neighborhood kids who is 4 (she is 5.) When I went out to check on her, I discovered she had a nice pile of yellow and red tulip heads. Well. . .this wasn't just 1 or 2, but 7 or 8. I was able to easily deduce which house in our townhouse complex they belonged to because they are the ONLY ones with the same colored tulips in their front yard. Now, if these had been my tulips and someone had beheaded them, I would not be happy (and those of you/us who grow tulips know what a short shelf-life they have anyways.) So. . . logically I confronted Molly, and she didn't even have to say anything for the look on her face betrayed obvious guilt. She quickly, however, tried to escape the responsibility of thinning our neighbors small flower patches by blaming Keenan and the 4 y.o. friend. They may have contributed, but Molly had been recently warned about not picking these particular tulips and I KNEW that SHE KNEW better. So, after giving her a "talking-to" I felt retribution needed to somehow be made: A couple of hours later, it was a trip to Fred Meyers with dad to buy a bunch of pink tulips and a walk over to the neighbors to offer the bouquet and an apology. Well. . . Molly became "shy" as she usually does in a tough and awkward situation. She was willing to go without wearing a dress to school for 2 weeks instead of going to apologize. She crawled on her knees down our stairs and to the front door. She insisted on carrying her pillow and hid behind me as I rang the doorbell. Our neighbor Val is/was very nice and remarked that she didn't even notice the headless tulips (I would have). She held her cat in her arms and asked Molly if she would like to pet her. Molly was quiet throughout the "apology," but later told Dad in a story that her heart felt better. Was I overreacting doing what we did over 7 or 8 tulips??? Molly IS only 5 (almost 6:)--an innocent child. Like Kevin said tonight, we are entering into the deeper realm of parenting--no more just feeding, changing diapers and meeting basic needs--but teaching and modeling what we feel to be morally correct behavior. And it is HARD--disciplining a child is hard. I feel that what we did tonight was right, but of course, I was questioning and second-guessing myself. Trying to find the appropriate level of "strictness" for the right age of the child has got to be one of the biggest challenges parents face.