Tuesday, February 7, 2012


If you're a parent with a perfect kid, just go ahead and skip this post. You wouldn't understand.

Likewise, if your kids aren't perfect but YOU are, move along. Nothing to see here.

But if you are a normal person with normal children, come take a peek into the stellar, wouldn't-Super-Nanny-Be-Proud, parenting choices I made yesterday.

At about 2:30, the phone rang and it was Tommy's teacher. [Brace yourself, Phoebe.]

She wanted to let me know that T had just been in the office talking with the principal and her. [Good God! What did he do??]

While playing math games in the computer lab, the librarian heard him let loose with a "Dammit!" [Uggghhh. That's embarrassing. Not surprising, because he was playing math games at home over the weekend and was getting very frustrated when he couldn't get through a level. Never cursed, but certainly started to lose his cool. But, it could have been worse, I guess.]

I joked that he clearly gets that "from his father" and thought the conversation was over. Nope. Apparently he insisted that he said it not because he was frustrated but because he was repeating what one of the characters in the game had said. [Seems like a  pretty typical kid lie to cover up a bad choice. Unfortunate, but not terribly surprising.]
Tommy of the Damned (a re-enactment... I'm not that mean!)

The principal and teacher pressed him on that and asked if they should stop letting kids in the school play that game since there was swearing in it. He said, "Well, not the whole game, but maybe just that level where they swear." [C'mon, Tommy. Give up! You swore and you need to just admit it and not make excuses!]

Tommy could tell they didn't believe him and got very upset, crying and whatnot. [Huh. He's not usually a crier at school. Why, why, why does he have to add this ridiculous lie on top of the swearing?]

The teacher calmed him down and said if he thought he could control himself, he could go back to the library to play math games. She just wanted to let me know what happened and what Tommy's story was. [I love this teacher. She knows my kid and loves him, warts and all.]

When Tommy came home he admitted right away "I had a hard day" and we set aside a time to talk about what happened. His story matched what the teacher said. I told him I was disappointed that he swore but I was more concerned about his story about the game "saying it first". He didn't get terribly upset [He knows I know he's lying!] but he stuck with his story. The conversation ended without a real resolution but I knew we would address it again when Dad got home.

Indeed we did. Basically, we had the same conversation again but this time we pushed a little harder. "Tommy, there is NO WAY a kids math game would have swearing in it. The company would get in a lot of trouble from parents and teacher if it did." We were this close to dropping a "That dog don't hunt!" on him. He got more upset this time (we were double teaming him, after all) but refused to back down from his story. Finally, we said, "Tommy, if we go play that game right now, will we hear swearing?" His response, "On Level 18 you will."

So, we did. I was a little frustrated because the game started up not too long before bedtime and he was getting to stay up late. Giving him a PRIVILEGE when what he needed was a CONSEQUENCE.  Unfortunately, you have to work your way up to Level 18 from Level 1, so we had to wait around a bit to get there. At Level 18 I called Scott in, saying something sarcastic like, "Okay Dad, here's the cursing level..."

We watched as one of the characters (a snail) got stuck in a hole.  Then another snail fell on top of him and they were both stuck. And then... (you know you saw this coming) one of the snails says "Dammit!"


Granted, it's not loud and clear. And if you had the background music on you would definitely hear it as "dramt" or something. But we listened to it a couple of times. That little SOB [nyuck, nyuck] said "dammit," Dammit!

Well, we felt stupid. And sorry. And apologized 6,000 times to Tommy that we didn't believe him. And then told him how proud we were that he stuck with the truth, even though none of the grown ups believed him. But, oh, by the way, you can't swear, even if you hear something or someone else do it....

Tommy went to bed feeling vindicated and proud and very loved. I hope he slept the sleep of the righteous.

Vindicated Tommy

Of course, I slept the sleep of the blogger who couldn't think of how best to share this story!


  1. OH MY GOSH...I laughed so hard. Yep, been there- not the same story but the same parent/child issue and to this day remember it well. You made a memory that will stay with all of you forever and it's so funny that the outcome was just what I thought.. and proud you should be that T did stick to his guns and so glad you shared/saved this story as one day he will be all grown up (and saying worse than "dammit" I'm afraid) and you will have this to go back to and read, and smile! Thanks for sharing your wonderful tale and giving us a glimps of your wonderful saved memory..after all, isn't that what life is all about?

  2. Thank you so much for sharing, for making me chuckle, for sticking with the math game until level 18 and for enjoying the trials and tribulations of motherhood!!!! I'll share my Zoe story some time.....trust me~ you handled things so much better!!!!

  3. You know that there is no such thing as a perfect child.
    I know you know that. I think I would go see the Principal with this. Not that it is ok to say Dammit in school..but to put him through this and he was telling the truth is not not fair in a sense...I think I would take a kid who tells the truth and said dammit over one who lies!!!!

  4. Oh Phoebe! It is with GLEE that I read your blog. This was awesome. I got a good chuckle and also a good "way to go Tommy" out of it. You ROCK, sister! xo

  5. Thank you so much for sharing that. What an awesome story. So awesome that you let him show you despite the fact that it was late. You are a Very Fair Mommy! (and a great blogger...)