Saturday, August 9, 2008

What would you do.......

I have a dilemma and I am willing to take some suggestions to help me solve this dilemma. So here is the back story:

First of all, I don't have very many 'things' that I LOVE. My personality is such that 'things' don't mean much to me. I am not a big shopper and gifts are not my love language. If you want to show me how much you love me then help me clean my house or help me tackle a big project or just spend time with me........that is what I love and makes me feel loved.

Well, it just so happens that a few months ago, I found something, a tangible item, that I LOVED.

It was this clock:

My friend Michelle designs and creates the most amazing and fun art pieces and this is one of her clocks. I fell in love with it when I first saw it at our church's youth ministry auction. So I bid on it and won it.

Now, this is how much I loved that clock:

While my kids were gone to visit my mom last month, I spent the ENTIRE week painting the inside of my house butter yellow and brick red. Inspired by my love of that clock. (That may not be a big deal to some people, but you have to know that I have lived in this house for nearly four years and my walls have been WHITE the whole time because I couldn't decide what color to paint them.)

Fast forward one month. A little four year old, who shall remain nameless, was tossing and kicking a soft, stuffed, toy ball around in my house. I was at the computer (no surprise there!) when that said four year old hit me in the head with that stuffed ball. I responded by saying "four year old, please stop kicking and throwing that ball, something is going to get broken."

Fast forward thirty seconds:

I was furious.

Yep, it's just a clock.

I yelled, screamed and cried in the minutes that followed. I was so mad at that four year old. (Now granted, my reaction what probably accentuated by the raging hormones that have been acompanying my monthly visitor lately, but that is for a different post.)

So here is my dilemma:

Should the nameless four year old (who has practically NO access to money) have all, some or none of the financial obligation of replacing that clock?


Lee Ann said...

Oh I don't like parent questions :-) I never know what to say, so I'll just think about if this happened in my house.

1. My four year old has NO money. Get's NO allowance.
2. I would take into account how offensive throwing this ball in the house was. Is it something you just don't do? Doesn't really sound like it because he wasn't "punished" for throwing it the first time. If he was just doing something normal and it was truly an accident I may go a tad easier on him.
3. I think I would have him earn some/all of the money and participate in going to get the new clock.
4. I would probably make a list of all the extra chores with money amounts next to them.
5. You definitely need to replace the clock. Like you I don't have many prized posessions but I think something like that, that you loved, it needs to be replaced. Call Michelle now and make sure she puts one aside for you.
6. These are all just my opinions and I have no idea what I'm talking about :-)

Lee Ann said...

oh and I forgot to say how sorry I am that this happened. That just stinks!

Gina said...

Think of things he could do to earn the money. If it is what you did with Ben about the light, then that is what you should do with the nameless 4 year old.

Julie said...

well, since you had told him to stop throwing the ball then he should probably be responsible for paying at least part of it...if you hadn't told him to stop, then it was just an accident. I'm not the mom in this one though...your call! :)

Mara said...

Tough one Trish...I'm going to go with SOME as my answer. He can do some extra chores and put that money towards replacing. As incentive to complete the extra chores, maybe put one of HIS favorite things in time out until extra chores are done???? After all, you had just told him to stop...

Lula! said...

I agree with Lee Ann...I don't like parenting questions. Truly, I have no idea what to tell you. But I can't wait to hear what you decide...because that will help me with future parenting dilemmas.

Sorry, Trish...I am no help!

Dee said...

Oh my, this is a tough one. Our parenting style is for the child to suffer the natural consequence. So in our home there would be no more balls allowed in the living room (or have a certain part of the house ball free). And then I would go and apologize for screaming, yelling and crying over something materialistic. My four year old would learn just from the accident itself. And perhaps we would repair the item that was broken.

Nearly 20 years ago, I remember helping Alex's mom in the kitchen. Let me add that I wasn't "comfy" in a kitchen. Eager to help, I got the job of stiring some sort of punch in her prized, huge antique jar. Well my overzealous arm wanted to do a great job and of course broke the darn thing. Out of all the ways that my MIL could have re-acted, she extended grace; even when I didn't deserve it because she told me not to bang the sides. She told me that my heart was more important that an antique jar.

Well quite a few years later, I replaced that jar --not out of obligation, bitterness, anger, shame but in pure delight. And she received it the same way.

Sara's Sweet Surprise said...

Hi,new to your blog(while in search of Washingtonian bloggers)stumbling across *Blog around the World* finding you on the list of a few sisters out there.
I'm (successfully) in the empty nest stage but can remember these types of "accidents" as if it were yesterday. I too had a ball break something precious to me after reciting those very words "don't bounce that..."What I've learned, it's our reaction and how we handled the repercussions they take into adulthood. "What do you want him to him to take FOREVER in his heart from this"? It's evident you're a caring mom in asking for advice. I'm sure whatever you decide he will be relived to know it was the behavior you were not happy with not the "little boy" cause really it may seem a simple instruction to follow but he doesn't have the capability to comprehend it as an adult would, even though they can appear as adults in children's bodies... Good luck Sweetie

Kat said...

That is a tough one. If it was my four year old, I would have "him" do extra things around the house. But he's four. So the extras become a bit challenging.

I asked my mom. And she says he's four. Just make him give up the ball. Make him take it to good will or donate it to your church or something like that. And really enforce the no balls in the house rule.

So, there are two opinions.

( is it just me that cannot stop thinking of the Brady Bunch and the "no balls in the house" episode? Yeah, it's probably just me!)

Elena said...

Here's my two bits, seeing as I have a 4 year old son who loves balls. Money doesn't mean a thing to him yet. He doesn't even know how to count past 20, so I don't think having him pay it back would even really be comprehendible to him. So, I say, no more balls at all for a few days. He saw how angry/sad you were when it happened and probably feels bad enough for a 4 year old. That's just my take. Let us know what you really decide to do.

Emily said...

Oh dear.

What is it with boys and ruining mommy's nice things. Here is a list of the things that Josh has ruined in the last two weeks:

1. Broke my favorite necklace.
2. Pushed the garage door opener button so the door went down on my van trunk, and scratched it the whole way down.
3. the mini blinds in his bedroom, they don't open or close now.
4. He pulled the drawer on his dresser all the way out until it fell and split into two pieces.

What is a mommy to do. I need to ask you that question?! Let me know! Thank goodness Kindergarten starts in 2 weeks, I don't think I could afford to have him around the house much longer!

Erica said...

wow. Trish, you have such a variety of answers and I find that I'm agreeing with them all. At 4, they don't have an appreciation for money yet. Although, it's also our job to teach them that those "things" cost money and money isn't free. I think having him do a little work to compensate is good. I also like Mara's advice to have something of his that is "treasured" be taken until his "chores" are done. It pulls the heart strings a bit and it seems like boys learn faster when the heart strings are pulled. I know that he felt bad. I think it's good that they learn lessons from all experiences (they understand FAR more than we give them credit for!!!) and this is such a wonderful opportunity!

One other thing...for all those crafty ladies....would there be a way to take the part of the clock that is unbroken and make it into another and have the unnamed 4 year old help??? Then it's more like a trophy!!! =)

When we were kids, we loved to run the circle in our down stairs...through the kitchen, dining room and living room. A similar situation happened with me and my younger brother, we KNEW we weren't supposed to run, BUT, we ran anways. If I remember correctly, my mom wasn't home when the "event" happened but we broke a beautiful oil lamp. Being afraid of what might happen, we decided to clean it up and not tell her. Weren't we bad??? But, she noticed and we were responsible to buy her a new one. Actually, I bought a new one many years later. I know that she extended us amazing amounts of grace. I'll never forget it.

Sorry for the long reply!

Gramma 2 Many said...

My two cents worth, is beat him black and blue with your old rubber shoe. Feed him black bread and water for a week and make him pay for it. Maybe then he will learn to listen the first time. Can't be to easy on these ruffians or they will take over the whole world!! Cut them down while you still can.

Debbie said...

Wow. That is a toughy..And quite honestly I am not sure what I would do. The tricky thing is making him understand that disobeying has consequences; however, things do break and the emphasis on "the material thing" shouldn't be the issue. But it was important to you. My son broke a glass lampshade I had and immediately cried thinking that I was more worried about the lamp shade than him. It crushed me. I have to admit that because his heart was so crushed I didn't discipline him because his remorse was apparent. The idea of taking away the ball is also a good one.

Kathi said...

Hey Trish...I found your blog through Debbie's Blog Around the World. I used to live in Seattle, so I thought I'd check out the Washington State bloggers first.

So sorry about your clock...that stinks. Thankfully, you'll be able to get another.

Of course it's up to you whether you decide to make the 4 year old help pay.
My two cents is not to. At 4 years old they can't comprehend the value of $. If the 4 year old were 14, then by all means make them pay. But for a 4 year old...they won't really understand the punishment. You're better off with sticking to time out. Then maybe have the hubby help 4 year old make a note or pix saying they're sorry.

Tracy P. said...

Wow, that is a lot of wisdom you've gotten there! Nothing to add from me--I have a fit when things are broken due to recklessness. UGH!

Thanks for coming to the state fair with me! I hope you'll stop back soon. Your blog is SO cute!

Valerie said...

Well I missed the original opinions on this one but to let you know I would have absolutely gone ballistic on him too (and apologized later -- I am learning to do that more and more -- serenity NOW!) and I really love that clock too and hope to get one someday. Your plan is very excellent. Good Luck!

Valerie said...

Though I do like Grandma's plan too. . . .;-)

Kelly said...

Grandma rocks!! Not that I would have necessarily followed it, but it was hysterical!!