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?”
“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.”
“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.
“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…