Monday, November 5, 2007
I want my two dollars! (I'll settle for $1.50, though)
So, I've concluded my first week of "training" at my new job. Let me ask you a question, loyal readers: Have you ever completed a full week of work, looked back at the previous five days and say "They're paying me for this?!" That's the kind of week I had. I learned about this much about my job duties, folks. However, I did discover that my employer is probably using what has to be the last dial up internet connection on Earth. I kid you not, people, I haven't seen an internet connection this slow since the first days of the interwebs.
Altogether, though, they really are a good bunch of people and I think I'm going to like it here. Now, on to the good stuff. As I mentioned last week here is another installment of my adventures in the bloody trenches of parenting.
Shortly after putting up the previous post, I received a knock at my door. I checked through the peep hole before opening, on the odd chance that Lou Dobbs was staging a sweep of Santa Ana. Luckily, it was only the neighbors son, otherwise known by my children as the "neighborhood dream boat".
He asked to speak to Danielle, who happened to accompany me to the door. He then asked Danielle if she had seen anyone hanging around his backpack at school because someone had taken $1.50 from it. Without missing a beat, Danielle said she didn't know but would ask her friend Stephanie if she knew anything about it. That pretty much concluded the conversation and he went on his way.
Not one moment after she turned the corner, Kristine was all up in her shiznit...apparently, juvenile delinquency does have some benefits which manifest themselves into an uncanny ability to sniff out any bullshit within a quarter mile....I, on the other hand,was an Eagle Scout.
I followed her lead and unleashed my disapproving father stare of death on Danielle. Within seconds we had a confession from her (Guantanamo ain't got nothin' on us, yo'). I immediately marched Danielle back to the boys' house with an apology and the $1.50 she had taken. This would all be just the tip of the iceberg, though.
Once Danielle and I returned home, I immediately ordered her to grab some chair. I couldn't even begin to describe to her how disappointed I was in her actions. What had I done wrong that would make her thing it was OK to do this kind of thing? Her justification for it was that it was "just a joke" and that she had meant to give him back the money. Yeah, I could smell what she was shoveling too. Anyway, I let Kristine take the reigns on this one as my first reaction was to burn all of her possessions on my BBQ and confine her to her room until I had arranged her enrollment at a nunnery in Rome. Once I calmed down and Kristine had finished bringing half of the heavens down on her, it was my turn. The hardest part of all this was that she hadn't expressed any true indication of remorse for her actions. Part of me chalked it up to the rebelliousness of youth and the preteen years, but a bigger part of me wanted to breath fire and brimstone and make her see the error of her ways. That wouldn't work though, just telling her that stealing was wrong really didn't have the impact we were looking for. It wouldn't really get through that preteen wall of "Duhhhhh" that they all seem to have.
Kristine's solution? Call the police. How's that for hardcore? Well, not that hardcore because the police department advised me to contact her school.
I contacted her school and they directed me to their Assistant Principal. She advised us that the local police really wouldn't come down to the school for $1.50, no matter how awesome of an after-school special this would make. She did, however, offer to speak to Danielle personally and explain the ramifications of committing theft on school property. It was made clear to Danielle that normally she would be suspended for this, but in lieu of having a phone conference with us (her parents) she would suspend the suspension and put the paperwork in Danielle's school record.
Of course this hasn't ended her punishment for this...oh, nooooo sir. I've meted out all kinds of punishment for this infraction, folks. And no, I don't think we went too far at all. It's not like I'll be the parent to co-volunteer at the homeless shelter during the hygiene clinics we'll be sending Danielle to volunteer at (kudos to Kristine for that idea).
We've made it perfectly clear to both of the girls on several occasions that we won't tolerate dishonesty of any kind in our house, so they are well aware of what happens when they are caught.
By the way folks, I'll be finishing the third and final part of my longest post ever, very soon. I think it'll help tie all of these parenting columns together.