Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Not the Birthday Boy

Negotiating filled the car the entire way home from my youngest son's birthday party.  "Drew, are you going to open your presents as soon as we get home?" my oldest asked with a fervor he would usually reserve for train stores.  "Yeah," my youngest said casually.  "Okay.  Can I help you open your presents when we get home?" he asked hopefully.  "No," said my youngest.  "But Drew!  I want to help you!" he insisted.  "Nope," said the birthday boy.  Seeing that this was going nowhere, my oldest tried a new tactic.  "Once they are open, can I play with your toys?" he asked.  "Yeah," said my youngest brightly.  "Okay.  All of them?" my oldest asked deciding to push the envelope.  "No," responded my youngest.

I explained to both of them that we needed to wait for Daddy and Grandma and Grandpa before we could open the presents.  They were following closely behind so I let them know it would only be a few minute wait.  I planned on making some coffee then we would sit down and watch him enjoy all his gifts.  I also set the expectations for my oldest.  "This is Drew's birthday and he asked you not to help open his presents.  I need you to sit on the couch with your hands to yourself when he opens.  I would love it if you could help with the cards.  Can you do that?" I asked him.  "Sure, but I'd really like to open the presents," he explained.  "I know but you can do that on your birthday.  It's his turn to shine," I told him hoping that I was putting this issue to bed. 

I arrived at home to find three dogs in crates (only one of them mine - The rest belong to relatives that were sweet enough to make a long drive for his birthday).  I realized that they all needed a walk, especially the ten week old puppy.  I explained that presents would need to wait just a little while and asked if they would help with the dogs.  They agreed and I got the puppy on her leash and outside.  She did her business and as I walked in the door to get the second dog, I found my oldest on the floor ripping open presents.

"Luke.  Stop.  I need to talk to you," I said as I lowered myself down to look him in the eye.  "What are you doing?" I asked.  "Drew said he did want help opening his presents so I was helping!" he said as tears welled up in his eyes.  His lie was so blatant.  I asked him to go sit on the red rug (time out) and told him I would talk to him when I was calm again.  I was so mad at him for doing it - It seemed so selfish and sneaky.  I knew I would be a jerk if I handled it right away.  When I felt like a normal person again, I addressed it.  "You lied to me," I started.  "That's not what I expect of a son. I expect a son to be honest, even when it's hard.  I expect a son to admit when he's wrong," I told him.  "But Mommy, I..." he started.  "No, I am not interested in excuses.  Because you chose to do something your brother asked you not to do and decided to lie, you may not play with any of Drew's new toys for two days.  You can never get what you want by being sneaky.  Got it?"  I asked him.  "Yeah.  I'm really sorry I did a mean thing," he said.  "That's what's important," I reminded him.  "You just have to learn from your mistakes.  Every body messes up sometimes."  "Thanks, Mommy.  I love you," he said, looking for the reassuring response that I still loved him too.  And I do.  Nothing will ever change that.

How do you address lying in your house?  What about jealousy? 

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