Just Punishment

It’s one of those instances where I wonder what I was thinking.  Where I could hear the words coming from my mouth but couldn’t stop them.  I even knew they were about to fly out of my mouth.  And my little pea brain pleaded with my tongue “don’t say it,” but that sassy ol’ tongue did just what it wanted to because, well, who knows why. 

Maybe I felt powerful making the threat. 

Maybe I was desperate. 

Maybe I’m just dumb.

Moving right along…

There is an hour every day in which I nearly (or completely, depending on the day), lose my mind.  The same hour every.single.day. 

The five o’clock hour.  The hour I lovingly refer to as “wine o’clock.”  Because seriously, the wine helps take the edge off.  And it’s a rough edge.

Yesterday was no exception.  It was about 5:30 when the madness began.  Picture this…

A fussy 19 month old baby.  Loudly fussy.  Wedging herself between me and the stove while I’m trying to cook.  And then crying when I keep right about my business and don’t pick her up.  Did I mention she was loud?

And an eight year old daughter, who, God love her, is as easily distractable as her mother.  How many times did I ask her to get her sweatshirt off the island and put her homework away?  Three?  Four?

Henry, sitting at the island, writing a thank you note for a birthday gift he received.  Chattering away to me.   

And William that had been playing with the DS for an hour.  Quietly.  Just having fun playing.  Why didn’t I just leave him alone?  Why?

“William, time to put the DS away now.”  I had given him fair warning about 20 minutes earlier.  One more game I said.  I’m sure he’d played about 5 since that warning.  But you know, the cooking and the screaming baby and the thank you note and the sweatshirt-nagging all got in the way of my enforcing the one-more-game rule.    

“I’m just gonna finish this game.”  He says. 

“No, put it away now.  You have finished your one game five times over already.”

Playing continues.

So I walk over and warn him to turn it off or I will. 

He did not. 

So I did.

Let’s just skip all the rest of the pleasantries that followed.  William was, at this point, upstairs in his room, which happens to be right above the kitchen.  And let’s just say it wasn’t by his own choosing that he was up there.  You would think that would be one less distraction for me, right?  But no.

Because what William does when he is in his room is yell down, at perfectly even intervals, “Mom, when can I come out.”  And I don’t mean like every ten minutes.  I mean like every 5 seconds, literally.  Over and over and over and over.  And you can ignore it only for a while.   

So what did I do?  I told him to close his door.  I didn’t want to hear from him again.  To go back in his room. Etc.  And then I did it. 

“If I hear another word out of your mouth, you will not go to that party tomorrow.”  (And it is going to be a fun party, people.  Full of friends, and moonbounces and pizza and cake.)

Okay!  You just heard another word!” he yelled down to me. 

Oh yes he did say it.  Those exact words. 

So there will be no party today, for him.  But his siblings will be going.  Which could result in another entire post, so stay tuned.

(Sigh)  If you know William, you know this is just him being frustrated.  And not knowing how to deal with his frustration. 

Or maybe he was hungry.  He’s cranky when he’s hungry. 

This is a little boy that has a fuse as short as his mother’s.  He’s a little spark plug. 

But he is such a tender-hearted little boy, too.  He is the most tender of the four of them.  And this morning, he was that tender sweet boy. 

“Hi Mommy!” he said in his soft, raspy voice when he woke up.  I came over and he snuggled into me and his little bedhead smelled of lavender shampoo. 

And later, stepping onto the school bus, he turned around and waved to me…he never does that.  

I know you’re thinking he’s trying to sucker me into letting him go to the party.  He’s not that way.  He has either accepted it, or he has forgotten.  I guess I’ll find out which later today.

Either way, it doesn’t feel good.  But it is the right thing…right?

Just Punishment

12 thoughts on “Just Punishment

  1. So.Hard.
    Why does the right thing always have to be the most difficult? I am glad I’m not alone in second guessing myself, I always have moments where I too, wonder why I just didn’t let them keep on playing the DS for a bit. (Or whatever the case may be!)
    Lately I’ve been feeling like every parenting decision I make is the wrong one.

    Hope this afternoon isn’t too hard!

  2. I think those games do something to their brains … like me on the computer (email, blogging, writing). It’s verrry hard to stop. It’s like eating chocolate. Just one more. If he’s prone to not obey you all the time, that’s one thing, but if it’s just mainly related to videos / techie stuff … I dunno. Maybe you could give him a chance to make it up. Like complete a big chore or something so he can go to the party, and have a private chat about what happened yesterday and why he couldn’t put the game down. Maybe it will be an eye-opener for him to be on guard around the games. Those things should have a timer that parents can set, then they automatically shut off for an hour!!

    You’re a great mom!

  3. Oh that’s a tough spot to be in! You don’t want to just make idle threats that have no consequence, but you don’t want him to miss out on all the fun. I hope it goes well! Good luck~

  4. Not being critical at all…as a mom of four kids ages 19-11 trust me, I have been there so many times. There’ve been way too many times that I hve issued ultimatums and then wished I hadn’t.

    Look at it from William’s point of view. Why did he have to turn the game off right then? It seems as if he was the only one quietly occupying himself. Granted, he sassed you, but (please don’t take this the wrong way,) you sort of provoked him into it. Don’t we tend to react the same way when someone pushes our buttons?

    Like I said, I’ve done this myself many times. Perhaps if you and William sit down and have a heart-to-heart…let him express his feelings and you tell him how you feel…maybe you could agree that you both messed up? I think somtimes the best lessons aren’t consequences, but learning that moms and dads mess up too.

    It’ll all work out!

  5. Oh how I can relate to words of threat flying out of my mouth before I can think! And amen to Stephanie saying that kids need to see how we mess up, too. I think they learn more from me telling them that Mom spoke before she thought than they do from the punishments I enforce. I also think they learn a lot from me when I show them mercy… not as a guilt trip, but rather as an expression of love for them. (The hard part is figuring out when to stick to my guns and when to show mercy.)

    It pictures God’s mercy to us. How many times do I screw up and yet He allows me to continue with all the wonderful blessings He’s given me? I don’t know.. just ramblings. I do know I’m praying today went better for both of you.

    Oh, and that 5 o’clock hour? We call it arsenic hour in our home. 🙂

  6. It’s the right thing! Kids need consistency and once a punishment is assigned you have to follow through. It seems hard now but it will teach him that there’s a consequence for talking back to an adult. (Teachers really value that in their students ;o)

  7. Oh friend. Pardon my french but that really sucks. I’ve done that same thing – threaten punishments that I realize later I just shouldn’t have threatened.

    I don’t know if it’s the right thing or not. I lean towards yes. But then again…I’ve threatened some pretty nasty things in similar 5 o’clock hours only to calm down later and have one of those heart to hearts Stephanie mentioned in her comment. I think it is important for us as moms to admit to our children when we make mistakes. I find myself apologizing to my own children often for snapping at them when I shouldn’t have. On the other hand I totally see where you’re coming from in the follow through department. Tough spot.

    I hope everything turned out alright. Hugs!

  8. Hi, I came over from We are That Family. Your writing is very funny! I can so relate to the 5 o’clock hour! My husband doesn’t get home until about 6:30PM so for me it is the 5:30-6:30 hour to survive with my 3 little kids. I, too, have an oldest child that doesn’t put away things even though he’s been asked a ton of times and a toddler that attaches himself to my leg whenever I try to cook! Best wishes on this party issue. Being a mom is TOUGH!

  9. your mom says:

    The old phrase “this hurts me more than it hurts you” comes to mind. Seriously though, I can identify…just ask your sister, D.

  10. I’ve been calling it the witching hour. But “wine o’clock” is far, far better. The sheer noise level and frustration rise to the point where only a nice glass of pinot will take the edge off.

    I hope the party (and lack thereof) goes as well as possible!

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