What’s the most basic thing that parents teach children? The easiest lesson of all parenting. Don’t play with fire. That’s something cavemen successfully taught their children. But today I found a way to mess it up.
When I walked into the kitchen to prepare lunch for the kids I saw the two year old touching the knobs on the stove. So I went into Dad mode and yelled her name. She was so surprised she jumped up about three feet, she dropped her cup spilling water everywhere, and was crying before her feet touched the ground. Then she ran in place while crying (which in a puddle isn’t the smartest thing to do we learned) She then fell and cried some more.
But I’m DAD!!! And what we had here was a genuine teachable moment. I’ve got to teach the child not to touch the stove because the stove has fire and that’s dangerous dangerous dangerous. So I got down on one knee (right in the puddle) and explained to her that she should never ever to touch the dangerous dangerous dangerous stove. I ordered her to the step which is where I send the children when they do something bad. They have to sit there until I tell them to get off the step.
Typically, I wait about one minute or two and then ask them to come see me where I ask them what they did wrong. And I put on my very disappointed face. I explain why we don’t do whatever they got in trouble for and I make them say they’re sorry and have them promise to never do it again.
So I cleaned up the puddle and then I’ll be honest I totally forgot I sent her to the step. I just forgot. (Don’t you dare judge me) I had ESPN on and I watched the highlights of the Magic/Celtics game. I turned the TV off, folded some laundry, and walked towards my bedroom to put the laundry away.
And there she was. Sitting on the step looking up at me. Looking so sad too. But I remembered I had a job to do. Her cuteness and my guilt for forgetting shouldn’t have an impact here. So I put on my disappointed face and asked her to come see me. She followed me into my room and I asked her what she did wrong.
And she looked at me blankly. And I could see in her eyes that she couldn’t remember what the heck she’d been sitting on the step for. She had no idea. The poor child was searching for something to say and finally blurted out: “He hit me first!”
And I couldn’t help but laugh. And then she laughed too just relieved.
What we had was a daughter who couldn’t remember why she’d been punished and a Dad who’d forgotten he’d punished her. Kinda’ sad when you think about it. So I took her into the kitchen and made her lunch.
May 28, 2010 at 2:57 am
Great story. Made me chuckle.
May 28, 2010 at 5:13 am
How glad I am that story did not involve a hot car. Whew!
May 28, 2010 at 5:44 am
I love your parenting stories, Matthew! I read so many Catholic mommy stories that it is refreshing to hear Catholic daddy stories!
May 28, 2010 at 10:06 am
You just made my day!
May 28, 2010 at 12:10 pm
Could not tell how many times I forgot I'd sent one of ours to their room for one reason or another. Great story, as usual.
May 28, 2010 at 2:13 pm
I an't send our to their room…they just go to sleep and we all forget what happened : )
LOVED the photo!
May 28, 2010 at 2:14 pm
OOPS, that should have been "I can't send our kids to their room" forgive my morning grogginess…better go make breakfast for the troops 🙂
May 28, 2010 at 3:37 pm
We sat on the step when we were kids too!! I know my little brother was forgotten a few times, but that's what happens when there are 6 kids!! No worries, Matthew, I'm sure there was no permanent scarring!!
Thanks for the great story!
May 28, 2010 at 7:53 pm
Matthew, your parenting stories are just great! Thanks for sharing these!
May 29, 2010 at 12:31 am
Nice fluid writing style. Content is refreshing too.
May 29, 2010 at 4:30 am
Nice story. We have all had similar experiences.
Just be glad you are able to raise her, not some other guy your wife ran off with because you are not perfect and she got an annulment from you to marry him, while you pay her bills!
But you story is a nice thought anyway.
May 29, 2010 at 2:31 pm
Hilarious! This sound just like my house, only all the time! It is refreshing to hear honest parenting stories, and not "I'm a perfect parent, and here are my perfect children stories."
May 29, 2010 at 2:32 pm
Matt, always get me in the heart–and you know it! 😉 Thanks for everything, God Bless!
May 30, 2010 at 5:01 am
I literally laughed until I cried on that one.
Today I was reprimanding my 5 year old. I said "And don't give me that sad face, because you know you aren't supposed to do that."
He said "That's not my sad face, that's my MEAN face!" (And really scowled)
I had to laugh right in his adorable little mean face.
June 1, 2010 at 6:57 pm
Once my mom forgot me so i sat at my school for five hours alone.