I’ll spare the details and just say that this morning Maly took a pair of scissors to one of the blinds in our home office. I walked into the office just to check on her, and the first thing that I noticed were the blinds hanging oddly. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that one of the cords had been cut. I remembered Maly having a pair of scissors a few minutes prior, so it didn’t take long to put two-and-two together.
I asked, “did you cut those blinds with scissors?”
She sheepishly nodded her head yes. With that, I stormed out of the office in fear of what I might actually say to my offspring should I had let my emotions get to me in the moment. I walked into the kitchen and told Elise what had happened.
Maly got her fair share of tongue lashings from the both of us, but there was still a punishment to fit the crime to be determined. Luckily Elise had errands to run and Maly a play date, which allotted yours truly some time to figure out how this situation was going to get fixed.
I steamed. I took the blinds down from the window and tried to fix them. I first tried to stitch them back together. That wasn’t going to work. Then I tried to “weld” the severed ends together with nylon string. At that point, my attempts to repair would end up costing more that just replacing the blinds. I thought about having the blinds professionally repaired, but that would probably cost close to just buying a new set of blinds. We were lucky in that she cut the cord of the least expensive blinds in the house.
Before I’d even started shopping the replacement blinds, I decided that Maly was going to pay for the replacement. I’d figure out the details later.
After a little shopping online, I found the exact width, length and style blinds for a replacement. With “order processing” and tax, the total came to $54.75, which might not ordinarily be a lot of money, but to us right now, it is, and there’s still the principle that needed to be addressed.
When Elise and Maly returned from their respective outings for the morning, I showed Elise my repayment plan for Maly. She fully backed me on my plan and then sent Maly in to see me.
Maly came into the office and I explained to her that I tried to repair the damage to the blinds. I told her that I decided to pay $54.75 for new blinds, and that she was going to have to repay me. I then sent her to her room to get her piggy bank and completely emptied it in front of her. Then I showed her the calendar I had created, which had jobs for her to do every day (not including school days on Tuesday and Thursday) for the next two weeks. She’s basically going to have to “earn” the money that had previously just been given to her.
I put her money into my own mason jar and set it aside in my file cabinet. I took another old jar and taped a picture of the broken blinds to the front of it. For every job that she completes, she will have to come to me and I will pay her. She will then have to deposit her earnings into the jar for the new blinds.
When I started creating her 2-week repayment calendar, I was trying to associate a dollar amount with every job that she performed. I don’t think she would really understand the value of a dollar over a quarter, or what $54.75 really looks like, so I omitted the commission value of her jobs. I will just pay her some loose change (after I “carefully” count out and pay the coins) for each job she performs so she can witness the stack of coins growing in her repayment jar.
I don’t know if this is the right way to handle this situation, but it feels like it’s right by me. I don’t think punishing her by taking something away, putting her in time out, grounding or spanking her fits the crime. I think this is an opportune time to help her in understanding the value of hard work, money, communal property and consequences.
I probably could have prevented this by paying a little more attention to Maly this morning. I think Elise and I could both tell that she was somewhat starved for our attention, and we got caught up in our own daily goings-on this morning. I think I also learned that this is all part of that circle of life thing. Elise’s and my parents are smiling heartily, and Elise and I, conscious of it are not, are glowingly awaiting becoming grandparents at some point down this ever-curving road of life.