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I pride myself on being able to control myself fairly well with my kids, even so much as to say I have never “punished” them and I rarely use the word “discipline” because of its negative connotation of control. That is, until this weekend when I thought I might come absolutely, 100% unglued at the seams with one of my daughters.
I was enjoying my afternoon with a book in hand when my daughter ran to me dramatically yelling, “Ayla braided goldfish into my hair and I can’t get it out!!” That’s right; her sister had braided, into her hair, goldfish crackers.
Being annoyed as I was, but not willing to manage this situation for them, I simply told her, “Go tell your sister to unbraid your hair and get the goldfish out.” To which she exclaimed very loudly and with enthusiasm, “SHE TRIED!! SHE CAN’T GET THEM OUT!” And so I said again, “Go get the goldfish out. Figure out how to do it.”
In my mind I could come up with at least three very good solutions right off the bat for getting those goldfish out of her hair. However, the very choice I hadn’t thought of was cutting the goldfish out. So, when I saw goldfish, and locks of hair, lying on my kitchen counter next to a pair of scissors, I all but lost myself! I felt myself slipping into a blind rage, feeling like I was about to HURT one of my children for this very stupid mistake they’d just made!
Luckily, I had the wherewithal not to take any immediate action, and instead entered into a chat conversation with the one person I knew could tell me EXACTLY how to implement the best possible punishment for this extremely stupid action, my husband.
The conversation was short and it went exactly like this:
ME: I am SOOOO mad!! Ayla braided goldfish into Lily’s hair, and then when she couldn’t get them out, Lily CUT HER HAIR. I am SO MAD at both of their decision.
HIM: goldfish crackers?
ME: Yes, goldfish crackers.
HIM: That is bizarre.
ME: I don’t even know what to do. Reward them by going to a movie?? (I had already purchased tickets for a movie we were all going to as a family that evening.)
HIM: This is why we can’t have nice things. Like hair. (Total smartass.)
ME: What should I do?
HIM: I don’t think there’s any reason to punish them…Lily is the one that has to live with her cut hair. I’m sure she wasn’t trying to be bad. Are you going to punish her for having the reasoning skills of a 7 year old?