After repairing the third window, that my 9 year old son has broken, by kicking balls directly into them, I learned that he had most recently taken almost all of my decorative landscaping bricks, broke them in half, and had a plan for them, but he could not remember what it was. I was FUMING, as I was looking at the dirt and mulch sliding onto my pavement, due to the lack of wall holding it into place. As punishment, I told him he would be pulling weeds in the yard, every time I pull weeds and as long as I pull them, all spring and summer long. I really didn't think this was too much, because I certainly remember the torture of popping beans and weeding gardens myself as a kid, and I'm still roaming the earth. We started the process today for only about 20 minutes. The entire time he was doing, what he called hard work, he would cry about his nail hurting, tell me how the root bottoms of the weeds hit him too hard in the hand, when he pulled them out, and he constantly wanted to wash his hands, or find a shovel or hedge trimmers to help him. He wasted several minutes telling me how horrible of a mother I was, and that I didn't care if he died from poison ivy. When this didnt work, he would pull out the real plants. When my voice would raise an octave, he would then cry, claiming he didnt know the difference, even though they were flowering. Truthfully, if I didn't have to listen to the complaining, and wouldnt have to actually lift a finger to help apply the medicated lotion, I think I would like to see him get a day or two of poison ivy under his belt. It would certainly be a punishment he'd remember!! I'm telling you, when I was a kid, if I would have even said a fourth of the things to my parents, that this child says, I would be wishing for a case of poison ivy instead.
I guess I just had it pictured completely different. It would be a punishment he could learn from, in a disciplinary way and an educational one. It would be days filled with sunshine, with an occasional cloud passing by. The tall grasses would blow in the gentle breeze, while baby birds chirped for their mom to bring a worm, and squirrels would frolic and play in the distance. I would take his hand in mine as we would walk to the first weeding destination, then we would look at each other and smile. I would show him lovingly how to pull the entire root out of the ground, not just the tops. I'd fill him with knowledge about plants and ask if he knew that peaches and almonds were a part of the rose family. He would tell me he hadn't known that, and I'd say “Well it's true sweetie”. Then we would have a picnic lunch while watching butterflies land on our sandwiches. I would tell him true facts about how butterflies are unable to fly unless they're body temperatures are greater than 86 degrees. He would tell me I'm smart, and I would say how nice and gentle he was. Then we would hug, and he would say he was sorry he broke my bricks, that he'd learned his lesson, and he would say that he didn't care if it took him all summer, he would make it up to me. But……these kind of dreams don't come true, at least not in this house!
I'm fairly certain either 1/2 of a broken brick or a full new brick I purchase, will end up through yet another window, while I'm being berated about my horrible mothering skills. But I assure you he WILL pull those weeds! I now realize the best way for me to implement this plan. First I'm going to pull up a camp chair and load a cooler of beer, to rest my feet on. Then Im going to get a long stick, and fasten a large bouquet of poison ivy on the end. I will then direct orders from my chair, with the threat of touching him with the end of the stick, if he does not want to do it in a timely fashion:). Wish me luck, its gonna be a long spring.