So this year, Ethan has started attending catechism at church – we are Catholic and attend a Catholic church every Sunday morning, catechism is an hour before the 9:30am mass.  So last week, the bigger kids i.e. grade 1 upwards, were given mite boxes for lent.  Ethan, only being in grade R, did not receive one.  So in the car after catechism, Ethan asks me about it and why he didn’t get one.  To explain this, I felt the need to explain what lent is, the reason for prayer, fasting and abstinence during this period, and how the mite boxes tied in to all of this.  He followed for the most part and when I was done, insisted that he get a mite box too.  He also wanted to give up something for lent.  I was lost – I had no idea how to start him off on this so of course, I called my mum.  She suggested that seeing as he was keen and interested, I should just start off small.  Get him the mite box at church and then just choose one day a week for him where he’s not allowed luxuries.  Then give him the money that equates to the value of what he sacrificed, and he can put that money into the mite box.  Well, I suggested that to him and then my star child took it a step further – he also wants to give the snack to somebody at the robot.  So I should bring his usual snack after school, but he’d forfeit it.  We agreed on that and agreed that he’d do it on a Tuesday and Thursday.

Well – lent started this week Wednesday so yesterday, Thursday, was the first day to put this into action.  So I had a box juice and a granola bar in the car when I arrived at school.  With his usual enthusiasm, he ran to the car, jumped in and immediately picked up his “snack”.  I gently reminded him that it was Thursday in Lent and that he needs to forfeit his snack and give it to a needy person at the robot.  In my mind, I thought we’d ease into it for day 1 and he could still have the juice but give the bar away.  But that all changed when mister had a full on meltdown in the car – crying like somebody had died, I kid you not!  He was saying something in between his tears like, “but I waanntttt a snack”, “it’s not fair”.  And then the next line totally infuriated me – YOU NEVER EVER BRING ME ANYTHING NICE TO EAT (side note: this child gets something to snack on after school.  On day’s when there’s soccer, he gets something before practise and then straight afterwards as well as we only get home after 7pm so dinner is late).  I lost the plot.  Guys, I shouted so loud at him that my migraine that I’d been nursing since 1:30 in the afternoon got scared to the recesses of my head.  It was as if it never existed.  I gave him a good talking to and told him that had we not already been in the car all strapped in, he would have got a beating of note!  I cannot handle brat behaviour.  I really can’t.

Then we ended up driving through the storm – thunder and lightning – in silence.  Well, in semi-silence.  Ethan sat in the back and sulked and I just turned the radio up and tried to block his sniffing out.  Halfway home, he points out to me that’s it’s raining so there’s nobody at the robots.  I said that we’d save it for today and give it to somebody then.  I was so livid, I honestly felt like just opening it up myself and scoffing it down!  But it got me thinking – where do you draw the line in teaching a lesson?  I mean, once we got home, I couldn’t quite still be mad at him neither did I feel it fair to punish him for what had happened in order to teach him a lesson.  Afterall, he’d got a stern talking to in the car and I think that I got the point across then!  This was something he chose to do.  He’s still little.  Was I being too harsh on him?  Should I try this next year when he’s a bit older?  Should I have just given in to him and given him the snack later on as we were stuck in traffic??  I don’t quite know…


4 responses »

  1. MamaCat says:

    Jodie I feel you. I have this same struggle with my five year old. When do you stop with the teaching of lessons. I try to be good and not lose it, but some days it is so hard. When you go to fetch them after a long day at work and you get a long face about something insignificant, it is so hard.
    Today we were out at six in the morning to get to cricket and I knew there would be crabbiness because it was a long morning for a little one. W still had to drive back to Pretoria and go get soccer kit. He was tired, I was tired and walking all over trying on this stuff was not good for any of us. I just let him cry, got home, gave him a snack put on the TV and had ten minutes to lie down and recover.
    I think you have to remind them gently (find the patience deep inside). DO NOT ENGAGE THE TANTRUM.

  2. Honestly, I think he’s too young to go all rogue on him 🙂 Especially in matters of religion, I don’t know if you want the kids to resent everything now. Rather model why you do what you do and let them get it.

    Now on the actual matter of the snack, I think it’s important to feed him but instead of a super fun snack like a granola bar (which we make, btw – my kids would think they were in heaven :)) and juice, have an apple and some water available. You never know his blood sugar could have been low. And I for one am SUPER grumpy if i need food! (I eat an apple on the way home from work almost every day)

  3. hey hun. I think it’s great to teach him the lesson, and creating an awareness in him about others who are less fortunate. Its something lovely you could foster in him. The act should provide him with feel good vibes. And Im taking a page out of your book for this for sure!

    But maybe also keep in mind that he’s blood sugar was also probably very low – hence he also went off the way he did. I mean I know how I get if Hanger strikes – it’s not pretty, and Im not open to negotiations. And kids are even more sensitive to drops in blood sugar. So regular snacks between their meals are important. So maybe next time have a healthy snack for him, and the “luxury” goody snack is what he is giving up for the next person?

    Just a suggestion. 😉
    (Lord knows, I don’t take the girls anywhere with me lest they are fed – otherwise those hanger demons make it miserable for us all.)

    Motherhood is so fraught with emotional challenges, isnt it? Even when we’re trying to do the right thing! X

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