The Happy Delinquent

Every night at dinner, we ask the kids how their days at school were.  They each get the chance to tell us what they did, who they played with, and what they learned.  Bean does much better at this than Gracie, but we still always ask Gracie the same questions.  And she’s getting really good at answering.  Usually, we get the same routing answers every night:

“Gracie, how was your day?”


“Who did you play with at school?”

“Ummmmmmmmmm…..  Fwends.”

“And what did you learn?”

“Ummmmmmmm… I read book.”


These aren’t life altering conversations, but we try to get the kids to think about their days and then share whatever they remember.  Some days this goes better than others.

Like this past Monday.

Bean had just finished this really long diatribe about Johnny Appleseed, and Chris turned to Gracie and asked her, “What about you, Gracie?  What did you do in school today?”

Gracie broke into this huge grin and her face glowed, “I GO TIME OUT!”  She announced happily.

Chris looked at me.  Since I pick her up, surely her teachers would have mentioned this.  But I shook my head, “no.”  This was news to me.

“You went to time out?” Chris clarified as Gracie happily nodded.  “Why did you go to time out?”

“I dunno either,” she responded, shrugging her shoulders.  I should stop here and hail the greatest line of Gracie vocabulary.  Whenever she says, “I don’t know,” for some reason she says instead, “I dunno either.”  I cracks me up!

Not knowing what to get onto her for, I simply said, “Gracie, we don’t like sitting in time out.  We want Gracie to be a nice girl at school.  No more time out.”

Now completely bored with this conversation, she went back to digging applesauce out of a bowl with her giant serving soup that she insisted on using that night.  “Okey doughy,” she replied.  (Another favorite in Gracie vocabulary.)

The next day I asked her teacher about the time out and she confirmed that Gracie had been put in time out because she flipped out on a kid when he picked up a toy that she wanted.  She didn’t hit him or push him, but she pitched quite the fit.  Time out justified.  Good job, Ms. Stephanie.

Fast-forward to yesterday.

I had Open House at my school last night, so Chris picked the kids up from daycare.  When I got home last night, I found him cooking us dinner in the kitchen with the kids sleeping soundly upstairs.

“Guess what happened at daycare today,” he told me casually as he cooked.  “Gracie went to time out again.”

“Oh, yeah?”

“Yep.  For hitting.”

Awwww, crap.  Now we had a violent offender.  Apparently, Gracie hit a kid when he started playing with a toy that she wanted.  Egggggcellent.  Way to use those problem solving skillz, yo.

2013-06-08 22.14.08

“The best part, though,” Chris went on, “was talking to her about it at dinner.”

Chris asked Gracie during dinner if she had been in time out that day.  “YES!” She squealed, like it was the most fun thing ever.

“Why were you in time out?” asked Chris.

“I hit Saywah.”  (Translation: I hit Sarah.)

“Why did you hit Sarah, Gracie?”

(insert long, detailed explanation here of which Chris only understood the words “Saywah” and “no, no, no”)


From what he put together, he thinks she hit her because she had a toy she wanted.  Awwwwwwesome.  A repeat violent offender.  Y’all, this juvenile rehabilitation system we have today is crap.

So, Chris had the talk about not hitting out friends and about sharing out toys.  And then Gracie had to give up her Cinderella notebook for the night (which is her pride and joy right now – she walks around writing and drawing pictures in it all the time).  Cause that’s the rule.  You get in time out at school, you lose a toy at home for the night.  Bummer.

We don’t put them in time out again and we don’t yell or get angry at them.  But we talk about how disappointed we are, and then we have them put their toy on the kitchen counter for the night.  And then we move on to happier things.  We don’t want to dwell on the issue, but we try to teach our kids from an early age (we start this at Gracie age now – about 2 1/2) that our behavior expectations extend beyond our house, and even when Mom and Dad aren’t there with you.  And they are learning that when those expectations aren’t met, then there are consequences at school, yes.  But there are also consequences at home, too.  Big consequences.  Like giving up Cinderella notebooks for the night.  Wowza.  That’s a doozey in Gracie World.


So, we have a violent juvenile repeat offender on our hands.  And she couldn’t be happier.  She’s so proud that I’m checking her regularly now for tattoos that say things like, “Don’t Hate the Hitter,” or “It’s a Hard Knock Life.”  I haven’t seen any so far, but you never know with Gracie…

Related posts

10 Thoughts to “The Happy Delinquent”

  1. My son Robby is a couple months younger than Gracie and doing the same thing. Though…he’ll be a little more deceptive. We’ll ask, “What happened today?” “Jack in time out.” “Oh? Why was Jack in time out?” “Hit Robby” “Oh? Did Robby hit Jack too?” “Yes” “Was Robby in time out, too?” “Yes”.


  2. Amy VH

    My son (4) has been starting to hit me and his sister when he doesn’t get what he wants. He throws a fit, starts hitting, when I pick him up he starts to kick. He wants a dirt bike so bad right now (NOT that he is getting it) so we are telling him that little boys who hit and kick do not get dirt bikes. This throws him over the edge. Needless to say I AM LOSING MY MIND!!!

  3. “It’s A Hard Knock Life” – bahahaha!!!!
    Also, good for you for backing up what’s happening at school. As you know sometimes teachers don’t get parent support.

  4. HeatherM

    Way to back up the teacher when she made a good call! At least Gracie isn’t biting- that will get them kicked out of daycare right away.

    1. I wish that was the case! My son was bitten 7 times in five months by the same kid and the director just blew it off. Unfortunately not all daycares deal with it the same way.

  5. Cheyenne

    This post came at such a great time for me. My son is 5 and just started kindergarten. They have a book they bring home everyday with a stamp on it letting us know how their day went/behavior. My son has come with 3 warnings this week. For smaller things, like talking to much, and whistling inside the building. I have had no idea how to deal with this and taking away things has crossed my mind. So thanks for the suggestion about them putting a favorite toy on the table for the night and not dwelling on things. I know my son is a great kid, and all kids make mistakes. SO THANK YOU!

  6. It’s all about finding out what is their prize possession. Sullivan’s punishment is losing a toy from his bed for the night. And like others have said, good for backing up the teachers. There are some parents in Sullivan’s school who pull the whole “How dare you discipline my child????” That’s their job!

  7. Kat

    So on more than half of your blog posts I copy the link and e-mail them to my husband with notes, like, “umm…why aren’t we doing this?” or “this is how to raise your kids the right way” or “crap….”

Leave a Comment