Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sometimes Forgiveness Smells Like Coppertone

Yesterday I came into the toy room to investigate a suspicious noise, and I discovered Sophie sitting in my computer chair.

She was moving the mouse around.

With sunscreen smeared all over her arms and hands.

Apparently that's what happens when you empty a tube of sunscreen onto your mom's keyboard.

We try not to spank her too often, but sunscreen-on-the-keyboard is an exception, so I pulled her up out of her chair and swatted her bottom.  She was caught by surprise and completely lost it, so much that I had to pause the discipline moment in order to get her to breathe properly.

I really wanted to freak out.  I was angry.  But I don't want her childhood to be like mine in the negative ways, and Greg and I both want, to the best of our abilities, to teach lessons instead of screaming and spanking.  So as Greg helped Sophie clean up the mess from the desk and chair, I sat down and took a few deep breaths of my own, and I thought.  How can we use this? How do we punish constructively, so that she is chastened but not destroyed?

So after we got the mess cleaned, we talked it over and decided that Sophie needed to buy a new keyboard to replace the ruined one.  She and I emptied her piggy bank into her purse, and we all got in the car and went to Wal-Mart, where she chose the keyboard, carried it to the register, and watched me count out her change to pay for it.

Greg talked to her about what was happening, and she seemed to understand.  I hope she did.  I've posted before about how I worry we're going to screw her up, and I hope that in this situation, we did our best to be firm but also loving, to deliver consequences but also a chance for her to set things right.  I hope our Father is pleased with the way we're treating the baby girl he gave us.

She was so tired from her ordeal (and from having skipped naptime) that she fell asleep in her seat on the way home:
(And, actually, that created a whole other crisis, because she only got to sleep for about 30 minutes, then she had to wake up and eat, and there were many tears and much drama, finally cured by a trip to Cody Park for ice cream and duck-feeding.  Ah, summer in North Platte!)

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