Thursday, December 6, 2012

Scared Straight

I’m sure you’ve read in previous posts that my oldest son Ben is in the first grade.  While attending school during the day, the kids are all kept in check by moderating their behavior with a stop-light. The green light on the stop-light is the color for good behavior, yellow indicates that behavior needs improvement and red…well, you’ve probably guessed it.  …..There’s big trouble in River City. 
Today, for the first time all year, poor Ben received a yellow light. Ben was also lucky because Mommy had to work late and I didn’t know about the situation until I was on my way home, after a phone call from my Mother (who picks him up after school).  Once I reached home, I asked my Hubby why Ben received a yellow light and he told me that Ben insisted that he couldn’t remember why. I responded with, “How long have the boys been in bed?”  He said,”10 minutes maybe.” 
You can guess where I was next.  Ben got a surprise when Mom entered his room and demanded to know the reason behind the yellow light.  He tried the “I can’t remember” routine with me, but I’m pretty sure he knew that wouldn’t fly.  So, I did the only thing a parent can do at this time of the year. I pulled the Santa card.  But, my boy is a stubborn child, and still insisted that he couldn’t remember.  “I’ve been trying to think about it all evening, and I just can seem to remember, Mom!” he pleaded. Hmmm…
What he doesn’t understand is that he got that stubbornness from one of his parents …….and it wasn’t his Daddy.  I just looked at him and replied,  “In 5 seconds, I am getting on that phone and telling Santa everything.  5……4.”  “I  am trying to think about it Mom!!” he yells.  “3…….2.”  “I can remember the last thing, I think!” he exclaims. “Let’s hear it.” I say.  …and he proceeded to spill his guts. 
First of all, let me say that my new nickname is officially The Closer, because I literally walked in his room, and in less than 5 minutes had him spilling his guts when no one else in my family could seem to get any info out of him all evening.  Mom’s are awesome that way.  ..or scary, depending upon who’s point of view it is, but I’m pretty sure I  missed my calling as “the bad cop.”  I would have criminals weeping within minutes.  Everyone has a weak spot, you just have to exploit it.
So now that I’ve creeped you out, here’s the dilemma…..
How do I handle this?  I can’t really ground him.  He’s only 6, it’s not like he wants to go out with his buddies or anything yet, so that is out.  If it was Summer, I could not let him go outside for a day, but when it’s 35 degrees, that threat doesn’t hold very much weight.  He has an iPod, but sometimes he’ll go a couple days without asking to play it and I feel this punishment shouldn’t last more than a day since it is rather minor. 
So, I decided to scare him straight with the help of Fred Mistletoe, our Elf on the Shelf. 
My parting comment as I left his room was, “I sure hope Santa doesn’t hear about this.”  So, I decided to reinforce that tomorrow morning with a letter from Fred.  Here is what I came up with…
Dear Ben,
I heard that you received a yellow-light at school yesterday and have to say that I hope today is a better day.  I had full intention to let Santa know about your issues at school when I returned to the North Pole last night, but on the journey up there, I started thinking about your behavior everyday since the beginning of school.  The record shows that you have had green lights all year up to this point and that this is the first slip up.  I made the decision that I will not mention this incident to Santa..this time.  But be warned!!  If there are any more yellow lights from now until Christmas, I will have no choice, but to report to Santa immediately….and I think we both know what that means.  You are a good boy Benjamin, so show your teacher, family and me, just how good you can be!  I may slip into school today to check on you, so keep your eyes open, and your behavior good so I can tell Santa what a good boy you’ve been! All green from now on, no exceptions.
I’ll be watching,
I can’t wait to see his face in the morning when he sees Fred sitting on the letter and I read it to him.  We’ll see how it goes, but I’m pretty sure it’ll do the trick.
Have A Great Night!
The Closer, Val

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