I’m furious. I’m shocked and disappointed that she should be so careless. But mostly—right now—I’m just plain pissed off.
The rules were she was never to take either gadget out of the house unless we were going to Farmor’s, or Tante Hildegunn’s, or the cabin—somewhere where I could control where they were and what she was doing with them. Never to school. Never to a friend’s house. And certainly, never to a restaurant, or to art class.
They were clear rules. She understood them. She agreed to them. After she lost three Nintendo games at Mathias’s house during a sleep over, I stopped allowing exceptions to the rules—ever—and eventually she stopped asking.
I believed her at first when she told me that—no, she hadn’t taken the Nintendo anywhere, she’d just misplaced it in the house somewhere. I methodically searched for it for two weeks. I literally gutted her room. I tore apart the toy room. I emptied every drawer in the house, twice. I frisked every pocket and handbag I could find. Still no Nintendo.
Up until this morning’s tearful admission about the missing ipod I was willing to say to myself, “How strange! How very vexing!” And assume I’d stumble across the Nintendo under a pile of towels or something sometime in the very near future. I no longer believe this. After this morning, I’d be a fool to believe in such innocence anymore.
I asked several times during my search if it were possible that the Nintendo wasn’t in the house anymore, if she had perhaps taken it somewhere, and forgotten? Maybe? “Oh no, it’s here” she insisted, “It’s here. It must be here.”
Outrageous, bald-faced lies! And I have no idea how to deal with it, address it, punish it constructively, yet thoroughly enough that she finally gets it. You have to take care of your shit!
She took the ipod to her art class yesterday. When I saw it in the car—when she saw that I had seen it—she hastened to explain, “I know. I know. But I’m only going to listen to it in the car. I’m not going to take it to class with me.”
“It stays in the car!” I stressed, wagging my best mommy finger at her.
“It stays in the car,” she dutifully repeated, and I left it at that. I gave her the bloody benefit of the doubt.
I never saw it again after that, but this morning she swore up and down with splotchy red face, and fat guilty tears streaming down her cheeks that it did, indeed, stay in the car during art class. That it was in the pizza place after the art class that the damn thing went missing.
“WHY was it even IN the pizza place?”
“I thought I’d listen to it while we waited for the pizza.”
“I TOLD YOU TO LEAVE IT IN THE CAR!”
I sent her out of the house then. Pushed her out in the rain five minutes early so I didn’t start fuckidy fuck fuck fucking stupid idiotic careless thoughtless thankless little wretch-ing her right to her face.
Or maybe I should have let her hear it. Maybe then she’d finally get it. Because she needs to get it, ya’ll. I need her to understand that I’m well beyond piqued at this point. I’m a vengeful, malevolent fury. And honey, I’m out for payback.
I must have lost things as a kid. Kids lose things. I get that. But I don’t remember ever being this careless with what you might call the pricier items among my various possessions. Then again—did I even have any high ticket toys? I had a Walkman. Everyone had a Walkman. You tell me mom—did I ever lose it? Did I ever lose anything so valuable that you wanted to thrash me senseless with a wire hanger just to teach me a much deserved lesson in the value of a hard earned dollar?
Not that I’m going to do that, of course. Aside from the legal ramifications, I’m not sure I even have a wire hanger anywhere in the house. And, let’s face it, a cheap plastic IKEA hanger just wouldn’t produce a chilling enough THWICK to get my point across.
So I’m wrestling here with
We discovered that little scheduling conflict early yesterday afternoon. She had said she would rather skip the field trip to get the dread retainer taken out, and I was willing to go along with that plan because I know how much she’s been looking forward to getting rid of the thing. But during this morning’s drama I had the great pleasure of sneering, “And you’re going to town today. The retainer stays!” Much wailing and carrying-on followed this pronouncement. It was great. Very satisfying. But I’m still not convinced that she’s absorbed the full extent of my wrath.
It’s becoming increasingly clear to me that money and things, specifically, things that cost money, mean nothing to any of my children. And I’ve got to do something to fix this sorry state of affairs.
Do you think maybe it's because I don't work? That because I get money from a machine in the wall for doing ostensibly (in their eyes) nothing, they think it's basically a limitless font from which all things endlessly flow? Of course we've explained to them that the money comes from all the hard work daddy does, that his job is to earn the money, and my job is to take care of the house and the family. But maybe they're just not getting it.
Maybe it doesn't have anything to do with money at all. Maybe I'm expecting too much of them to understand and appreciate in anyway the price of the things we buy them. Maybe I should just stop buying them things altogether. Make them buy it all themselves with money they earn and save on their own initiative. But is that really fair when all of their spoiled rotten friends are drowning in endless piles of things. And how is it these spoiled rotten friends manage to keep track of all their endless piles of things but my kids manage to lose EVERYTHING? From whence do these caring for skills come? How are they taught?
The kids just got home from school a few minutes ago. EM asked if I had called the pizza place to ask if they had found the ipod. I had. They hadn't. We got into it again. She started crying again, "So it's gone for ever?"
"Yeah. Pretty much."
Boy chimed in: "Mom, I have two things to say to you."
"What's that Boy."
"One--I once lost something I loved. Two--and that was my baby scorpie. Don't be mad."