Crime and Punishment

I used to feel sad that I didn’t give birth to any girls.  Then I realized how cool having boys is.  Boys are loud and messy and full of laughter and jokes!

Then B turned twelve.  I’ll be praying every night to express my gratitude for not having been given a girl to raise because I know they are worse than boys in the teenage years, and today was pret-ty bad.

The last week has been an exercise in controlling my decibel level when screeching because I have lost all semblance of self-control from arguing with the boy.  I used to feel so grateful that the Lord blessed me with three children that possess above-average intelligence.  Now I kinda wish we had been playing tennis on the day He passed out brains.  I believe I have met my match when it comes to the twisting of words, the boy hast truly got the gift.  Which would be cool if he weren’t using his powers for evil.  Yesterday the amount of disrespect reached an all-time high, causing us to revoke all privileges known to him.  No TV.  No Computer.  NO BOOKS.  I may as well have duct taped his nose and mouth shut, taking away reading is like taking the air he breathes from him.  After he completes a significant amount of the most unpleasant yard work we can think of, finished with a degree of professionalism befitting a team of landscapers, the privileges may be returned to him.

The Scouts are having a campout tonight and he had obligations to them so we felt this consequence was sufficient, no need to take away the campout they’ve been preparing these last few weeks for.

We were wrong.

Today while I was still unconscious, Honey took him out back and showed him where he needed to weed.  After I woke up from all the garage door opening and slamming shut while he gathered the necessary items for the campout, he decided it was time to get to work on those weeds.  With a tree lopper.  And then a gallon of Roundup (which he doesn’t know how to use and shouldn’t anyway!!).  After nipping those tactics in the bud he came back with “I have a problem.  It’s not all weeds, some of it is grain.”  Uh, no.  Those are foxtails, not wheat, and you pull them the same way you do all the other weeds.  DOWN ON THE GROUND WITH YOUR HANDS.

My other genius son (who is in danger of not being welcome back to the charter school because of my inability to read the homework coversheet with any more concentration than I do putting on lipgloss) left his homework packet at school and it’s Friday so there’s NO SCHOOL.  Luckily, his teacher was working there anyway and we were able to head over and pick it up.  Before we left, I instructed the boy to not watch TV, to NOT use the computer, and to NOT read one damn thing, but instead to clean the mess off the dining room table where he’d been gathering camping equipment and clean his room which now looked like Alabama after the tornado.  On the way to school he called to remind me to pick up the apples he was responsible for (thanks for the 2 minute notice) at tonight’s campout, and now he also needed D batteries.


Having stayed up until 4:45 a.m. watching The Wedding and only sleeping for 2 hours since yesterday morning, the Sandman decided to bitch-slap me on the way home from school.  It was all I could do to make it home safely.  I walked up to the house and noticed the boy remembered to water Grandma’s geraniums and said a silent prayer of thanks.  After relaying to the boy that I was in dire need of a nap (it was now 1:09 p.m.) and would be happy to take him shopping after a quick snooze (from which he should wake me at 2:15 so we had enough time to finish before Honey came home from work and they headed out), I crawled into bed, set my meditation app on just loud enough to drone me to sleep, and was rudely awoken when I heard the TV blasting the theme song from “Phineas and Ferb” and the door slam open and shut announcing D’s arrival home from school.  AT 3:00 P.M.

When I called the boy in to account for why he hadn’t woken me up, he “forgot”.  When I asked him what he’d been doing he replied “reading a magazine and watching TV with Grandma and S.”  He thought it was ok since I was half-conscious this morning and slipped up by letting him watch the rest of the wedding.  “You only said I couldn’t pick the show, not that I couldn’t watch!”  Uh, no.  I specifically said you couldn’t watch.  Is your room clean?  “Um, no…”  WHY!?!  “Because I was getting my camping stuff together and watering the plants!”  BUSTED!!  Those plants were watered before I came home and re-instructed you to NOT watch TV but to clean your room!  So now you’ve cheated AND you’ve lied to me!  There are going to be more consequences after I can talk with Daddy.

At this point I’m feeling really discombobulated because I’m still trying to wake up, I’m freaking out at what time it is and trying to understand why my son has turned into the world’s biggest jackass, and I call Honey to find out what to do.  He tells me he’s coming home right now instead of in 20 minutes.  He gets home, and it’s decided that B is not going to be attending the scout campout tonight.  We still supply the bread and apples he was in charge of bringing so that the other campers are not left hanging too badly, but this behavior is just so unacceptable that the boy will be lucky if he can leave his room to use the bathroom after this fiasco.  We made him tell his scout leader why, too.

This was the hardest thing we’ve done as parents, yet.  We knew that even though the bread and apples were still delivered, people that had been depending on our son were now being left in the lurch for his share of the camping duties.  Even so, it was more important that B learn this lesson swiftly and severely that it might not happen again.  There’s no doubt in my mind that we did the right thing.  Honey is still struggling because he feels that if Scouting is a privilege then it was absolutely the right thing to do, but if we view Scouting as a duty/responsibility (i.e. like having household chores) then in his mind the consequence needs to be different.  I feel like Scouting is both.  We do require the boys to participate weekly as part of how we want them to learn to have a good character.  But campouts?  Those are privileges.  And there will always be another one at which he can make up whatever he’s missing this time.  It gave me no joy to withhold this trip from B… it broke my heart.  I knew it would hurt, and I know that when he calms down and realizes his part in all of this (which he always does), he will punish himself further – which I hope will be effective enough that we don’t have to do this again.


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