It's taken me a few days to calm down enough to be able to semi-coherently write this post. Two days ago the girls got into my annual Swarovski crytal Christmas ornaments. I'm not sure if their original intent was just to play with them, but none the less they knew they were not supposed to touch them. Now I have to take a little responsibility here because they were left out waiting to be properly packed for next year. However, the girls had been told many times not to touch them, had verbalized to us that they were not to touch them, and had to get through all the other ornaments (which would have been okay to touch) to get to them. Somewhere along the way they decided they didn't like certain design elements (or like them enought that they wanted to keep them), so they started snapping things off. 10 years of ornaments gone in a flash.
As I was putting things away I walked around the table to suddenly notice a large empty space in the middle where the ornaments had once resided. I immediately called to Bill, "Did you put the Swarovski's away?" To which he replied in the negative. I started to look around and noticed 2 four year olds duck their heads and inch towards the exit. Then I looked down, and under the table, reflecting the light from the window, were the bodies and dismembered pieces of my beloved ornaments. These meant so much to me on many levels, they were one of the few nice things I actually owned, they were very beautiful, we'd been collecting them since the year after we got married, and then last year Bill hunted high and low to get the one from the year we were married. (these appreciate immediately in value, so our little collection had grown to be worth about $2,000). As I stared at the shattered pieces I could barely speak. I crumpled to the floor in tears, and ordered the girls to their room (which they had the good sense to retreat to without a word.) My tears continued to fall as I picked up the pieces reflecting rainbows all about the room. Bill went to deal with the girls.
A couple of hours later I went to play hockey. A game we narrowly won 1-0. I had dinner with my buds, then headed home to 2 rather sad little girls. They had to know that this was a serious offense (we've had deviations before, but none like this and I didn't want it repeated.) I said goodnight to them, and told them we would discuss their punishment in the morning, I needed time to cool down and think. In the morning Sam immediately and sincerely said, "I'm sorry we broke your crystals Mommy. I know they were special to you and that we shouldn't have touched them." She had obviously thought a lot about it. Riley as I came to see later was just having a hard time verbalizing her remorse and sadness.
In any case, I had had a night to sleep on it, and while they are just "things", they were important things, a direction had been given and directly disobeyed. There had to be some punishment that would prevent it from happening again (I hope.) What was that you ask? Let me tell you. They lost ALL their toys. Not for good, but for a time. They know they have to earn them back by following the rules, and then they only get a few at a time which they have to put away properly if they are to get the next box of toys back. I'd considered just taking away their favorite toy permanently, I'd considered time "served", I'd considered other punishment options, but this seemed to be the best and killed many birds with the one stone. To top it off I've been having them help me box up the toys to put away, so they are directly involved with the punishment.
The good news is that they seem to get it. There were many statements throughout the day, but the 3 that stick with me the most are Sam's apology, them both asking me if I was done being mad at them, and then Riley's goodnight statement. I had gone in to tuck them in last night, gave them hugs and kisses and told them I love them as always do. Riley said, "I like this voice much better Mommy." To which I replied, "You mean better than my mad voice?" She said, "Yes. We'll try to follow directions better so you don't have to use that voice anymore, ok?" It made me happy and sad all at the same time.
The long and short of it is that they get it, they are not whining for their toys, they are following directions, and it's been much calmer around here. Let's see if it actually sticks.
If you've made it this far, thanks for reading my lengthy ramble.
Labels: break, crystal, Riley, Sam, Swarovski