To Catch a Thief.

When you are parenting kids who came from hard places you will have the occasional incidence of food theft.  We understand that.  It’s no biggie.  The consequence usually involves forfeiture of that night’s dessert with an explanation of healthy eating choices and how if you steal your serving of dessert, then your body doesn’t need anymore dessert.  One treat per day in this house.  Otherwise, children who were previously malnourished have issues like obesity and precocious puberty.  We then avoid the issue by putting the treats out of reach or putting an alarm on our pantry door.  Done.  

We have a couple of children who were NOT from hard places, who have been with us from day one, who simply think that their friends eat junk all day, so they should get to too.  Right?  Heck no.  That makes me angry.  I work so hard, spend so much money on healthy food, and talk ENDLESSLY about portion control.  Still y’all, my fruit snacks were disappearing.  

Yes, I know that I could avoid all this by not keeping them in the house, but really, this is also an honesty issue.  And, it was REALLY making FPD mad too.  We like to have those fruit snacks to occasionally reward the tiny Chinese duo for their bravery during the multitude of medical procedures they have to undergo.  Blood draw?  Have some hugs and fruit snacks.  Stool cultures?  Yuck.  You get some fruit snacks and FPD gets a beer for dealing with sticking stool in all those tiny containers.  

So, one day, while I was at work, he decided he would set a trap.  It was meant to be just a little funny, but also served as an intelligence test for the children of the FullPlateManor.  He texted me this pic and then put THIS inside the now nearly empty fruit snack box.  

We were relatively sure we already knew the identity of the thief, but this would cement that and then we could teach a lesson about why that was wrong and we could all also have a chuckle.  Well, FPD and I would.  And probably Middle Middle too, because this kind of humor is RIGHT up his alley.  

FPD waited patiently for nearly a week.  Would this work?  Were they TOO smart for the trap?  

While he was at work on Sunday night, the trap was sprung.  A child came to me with the note and asked to collect his prize.  I very calmly said “Hmmm, where did you find this?”  

This is when it got real y’all.  

His answer…”XXXX gave me the note and told me to bring it to you.  He says I can have the prize!”  

Now we not only have a thief, but we also have a patsy!  

Seriously?  Now it’s not so funny anymore.  One child has just been a victim of some very brilliant, yet borderline evil, manipulation.

I called the child who found the note and asked where he found it.  His answer “on the floor.”  Nope.  Not possible.  Where did you find it?  On the floor.  Okay, let’s talk about honesty, because this was supposed to be funny, but now my blood pressure is rising, Where did you find the note?  

On.the.floor.  

UGH!!!  

This went on for two days.  I simply ignored it, telling the child if he wanted his dessert he would have to talk to me about what had transpired.  If he wanted to attend his extracurricular activities or use anything that required him to power it on, he would have to come to me and have an honest conversation.  I left the note pinned to the bulletin board on the pantry door and said nothing more about it.  

He finally came to me, crying about it, and admitted he had found it in the fruit snack box.  We talked a lot about how FPD and I don’t deny him fruit snacks to be mean, we do it because they are NOT good for his body, that we love him enough to want to see him grow into the healthiest adult he can be.  Then we discussed why making his little brother into a scapegoat wasn’t okay either.  How did his little brother feel?  He thought he was getting a prize! Instead, he got in trouble for possible theft.  I asked how this child would feel if that happened to him, if he had done nothing wrong, yet had now been blamed.

There was honest to goodness crying over that.  

He felt bad.  

Then we discussed the consequence.  I could compromise.  He could go to soccer.  But, what would he do to make it right?  He chose.  He lost his treats for this week and willingly gave up electronics until next week too.  Then, he asked to speak privately with his little brother.  I watched as he hugged him, cried and said how sorry he was.  

Last night, he went to AWANA and was given a lollipop.  He came home, set it on the counter, and told me “I can’t have this yet.  I don’t deserve it until I’ve made it right.”  

Either we’re making good headway, or I’m raising a true sociopath.  

–FullPlateMom,
who is hoping for the former and not the latter.  

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