Lesson Learned…

I am always looking for good “teaching moments” in life, wherever we go, whatever we do. This particularly applies to Connor, of course, though I’m starting to do more with Ben and Alex too as their ability to comprehend grows. But today’s story is all about my eldest. Connor.24May2013

Yesterday we met up with a friend at the mall to play. There’s a great play area there that is enclosed, so I can let the boys run free, always a plus. There’s also a collection of those coin-operated rides there, which Connor loves. Granted, he won’t let me put any money in them to turn them on, that scares the you-know-what out of him, but he loves to climb into the rocket ship or racecar and pretend to drive. The rides were our last stop of the day, after the play area, a quick shoe shopping trip, and a quick lunch. I let Connor play for a few minutes, but I knew we couldn’t stay long as my two other angels were starting to fall asleep in the stroller.

As any parent knows, that moment when you tell your child it’s time to go is always a tricky one. I’ve used everything from trying to gain sympathy for tired brothers, to flat out bribery. Amazingly, this time the sympathy worked, and I was so thrilled when Connor came away willingly! So thrilled in fact, that I didn’t see him leave his blue sippy cup behind on the ride. We headed out to the car, I began loading up kids and gear, and that’s when I noticed I was short a cup. Sure we could have turned around and gone back for it, but the babies were tired, I was tired, and I had had enough of navigating three kids through the mall. So I decided to write it off as lost.

But I was also pretty annoyed with the situation. I had just bought new cups, and living on a tight budget, we can’t afford to be wasteful. I decided now was a great teaching moment, if you will, to learn about responsibility for your belongings. So I made it clear to Connor that I was disappointed we had lost the cup and that he needs to be more careful with his things, so that we don’t lose them, because now we could never get the cup back. It was a little bit of a guilt trip, yes. And it was a big mistake.

Like a light switch flipping on, the next thing I knew Connor was sobbing. He was beside himself, devastated that his cup was gone. He cried hysterically the whole way home, continued sobbing as we got in the house. I tried to calm him down, tried to reassure him that it wasn’t really the end of the world, that we had other cups, it was not a big deal… but to no avail. He was so upset that he took himself upstairs and to bed for his nap while I stayed downstairs to nurse the twins, and I could hear him crying in bed on the monitor. This from the child who will fight against his naps until he is blue in the face…

After I got the babies to bed, I went to talk to Connor, still crying in bed. I decided I would track down the cup after all, and I told him as soon as he went to sleep I would call the mall’s lost and found and get his cup back. This helped a little, but he still fell asleep a very unhappy boy. I headed back downstairs and got on the phone. I called the mall, got the number to security, called them. Nope, nobody had turned in a cup. So then I called my amazing and incredible husband, who fortunately hadn’t taken his lunch break yet, and asked for a huge favor… I quickly explained the situation, and could he please swing by the mall over lunch and see if he could find the cup?

Daddy saved the day! He found the blue cup, right where we had left it, and promised to bring it home with him that night. And it’s a good thing too because the second Connor woke from his nap, he asked me if I had called the mall. I’m so glad my son has inherited my ability to obsess!

Well lesson learned… but for me much more so than Connor. Next time, I will be taking a much more gentle approach in my reprimanding. Or better yet… I will double check the status of our cups before we leave!

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