Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Grounded for Life!

I once read a quote by John Wilmot that states: "Before I was married I had six theories about raising children. Now I have six children and no theories." I only have two kids, but I can certainly empathize with the Earl's thoughts here. I also love Bill Cosby's line: "Parents don't want justice. Parents want QUIET!" Though quiet seems a dream from another age now.

Last Saturday morning dawned cold, dark, and wet here in south Georgia. That kind of gloomy weather that makes 8 a.m. seem like 6 a.m. Which may explain why we slept in a little. Turns out that was a really, really bad thing.

When we woke up the house was quiet. Oh so very quiet. Too quiet. Quiet and children is a really bad sign. Rob went to check on the kids. They weren't in there rooms. The garage door was open. It was raining and thundering. Rob throws on a robe, runs outside and discovers their little electric jeep in our still unfinished run-off trench. Upside-down. PANIC TIME!

I'm on the phone calling his parents, trying to see if the kids wandered over there. Simultaneously I am trying to get Rob's attention through the window to let him know they pushed the jeep in the day before, it flipped over and I couldn't get it out. I can hear him screaming their names through the closed window. Rob's mother finally answers her cell. They aren't at home, they're in town shopping.

The phone is practically thrown down as I rush outside to join the search. Rob's parents are hurrying back home to help us when Rob hears the sounds of two happy kids playing in the rain in his parents' front yard. Of course he's experiencing relief that is almost immediately superseded by that "If you EVER scare me like that again, you will be grounded for life."

J.T. was so very remorseful. He wasn't the ring-leader. His sister was. We have long-ago Abby-proofed our house. She can't get into or out of certain things without help. (I think I've mention a few incidents involving Vick's Vaporub, chili powder and windex). She wanted to go to MaMa's house and J.T. didn't want her to be disappointed. So he unlocked the deadbolts for her.

Rob wanted to ban them from all fun (TV, books, toys) for three days. I interrupted that discipline theory with the "who exactly are you punishing here? Us or them?" logic. So we scaled that back to one day. And it was indeed torturous. No pixel nanny to babysit at strategic times leads to lots and lots of arguments. And a set of pounding headaches for parents whose patience has evaporated. Abby is still unrepentant. The shoulder shrug is all we got from her. Followed by the following "confession": "We just wanted to go to MaMa's and play!"


M said...

As I'm reading this (laughing, sorry) I'm overcome with envy that your kids can run away to visit their grandparents so easily.

But I'm not envious of your Saturday morning panic!

Stomper Girl said...

Holy cow! That must have been just awful.

Specially the bit where they had no pixel nanny. Way to go Melinda on scaling Rob back. Clear head in a crisis!

Fairlie said...

'Grounded for life' - that would be one heck of a punishment...for you and Rob.

I think Abby and The Impossible Princess are working from the same 'How to frustrate parents 101' manual.

Anonymous said...

oh man!

that's all I can say...

alice said...

oh blimey, My heart raced for you. I would have paniced full mode.

caramaena said...

Oh how scary for you both. This is one reason why J and I trade off sleep-ins.

Congrats on lasting 1 day without the pixel nanny (3 days? Is Rob crazy?!?)

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