“The Gingerbread House Incident” and my thoughts on the month of December

Sorry to keep you all waiting. I have TONS of thoughts in my head at any given time. They all merge together, like light merging into a great blank whiteness! Sometimes I’m able to grab one and document it before it disappears into the mental abyss. How’s that for a thought?!

I am currently ignoring the kids while they play with Legos and say silly things to one another. We just had friends over (brother/sister friends who are the same ages/classes as my two!) and now they are tired and relaxing. Just the way I like them. :)

Anyway, on to the actual point of this post. The Great Gingerbread House Incident! Haha… it’s really not all that great, in any sense of the word! Last week we made a gingerbread house. Remember? I was expecting to see the pieces of candy slowly disappearing over time. Heck, I was expecting to aid in that slow disappearance! ;) The next morning was a school day. Eve was sleeping hard in my bed and Alan offered to bring her to school a bit late, while Lex and I got there a bit early because I was subbing that day. When I got home with the kids that evening we discovered that nearly a third of the candy from the house was GONE! I knew Lex didn’t eat it because he was with me the whole time, so I asked Eve about it. She denied it at first, then told me she ate “just a few pieces last night.” I knew that wasn’t true because it was still in one piece that morning. She eventually told me she ate a few pieces that morning. I had assumed Alan also had “a few” pieces. I told her that I was surprised her belly didn’t hurt in school that day. She just shrugged her shoulders, neither confirming nor denying.

Later that night, after they were in bed, I asked Alan about it. He was surprised! Apparently he had not noticed and had not shared in the eating. He did, however, mention that she threw up in the mudroom on their way out! I didn’t bother to ask why he didn’t either a) notice it was minty chocolate vomit or b) keep her home from school if she threw up! Either way, she went to school and apparently felt fine.

The situation here is compounded by the fact that she has been lying quite a bit lately and even stealing on occasion. I hesitate to call it stealing because that seems like such a harsh word for a five year old, but when I talked to the school counselor about it she said to definitely call it stealing and take it seriously. Three* times now Eve has come home with little toys from school. The first time it was just one and I somewhat believed her story that she had found it on the playground. The next day she came home with a whole handful of the same little toys and the exact same playground story. I, of course, no longer believed her. It turns out they came from a bin in her classroom and she returned them to the teacher with an apology. A week later she came home with a handful of similar small toys from a nearby bin in the classroom. Once again she returned them with an apology, and this time with a lot of tears.

So that, combined with the gingerbread house and the hidden candy canes makes Eve quite the untrustworthy little imp these days!

She is so cute and she made a hair brush out of Legos.  How can she possibly be a sneaky liar?  We won't survive the teenage (preteen?) years if we don't nip this in the bud soon!

She is so cute and she made a hair brush out of Legos. How can she possibly be a sneaky liar? We won’t survive the teenage (preteen?) years if we don’t nip this in the bud soon!

Which leads me to my general opinion of the month of December. I’ll try not to sound too scroogy because I happen to love Christmas, but as a parent it is a very different thing. Only in December do children start each day with a piece of chocolate (yes, I know that is within my control to change) and spend the month doing different and exciting and often exhausting activities. Only in December do kids go through the month torn between the “magic of the season” and their complete rational disbelief. They must doubt the stories and the normally completely trustworthy grown-ups. Only in December is the house turned upside down and filled with bright lights and fragile decorations. The grown-ups are stressed out and hurried, there is more sugar in one month than in the whole rest of the year, and I set out a beautiful “decoration” on the table that is made entirely of sugar and then tell two kids not to touch it. Yeah, right?!

I realize that as a parent, Christmas is largely mine to create. We don’t do a lot of the fun and exciting things that many other families do. The Elf on the Shelf does not visit our house and I don’t push the Santa story too much. We have a tree, of course, but I try not to over do it on decorations around the house. I do supply most of the sugar content for the month because I love to bake for Christmas.

So we have excitement, sparkly new things to touch, sugar to eat, and a bit of confusion/magic/disbelief surrounding the holiday, then we coop them up inside because it’s actually December in Vermont, and ask them to sit still in school and do their homework at night. It just makes for a strange month. Ho ho ho and fa la la!

* FOUR TIMES! It is evening now. I didn’t get a chance to finish this blog post earlier. While putting Eve to bed I happened across another bunch of those little toys from school. She told me she took them at the same time she took the last batch. Seems she failed to mention them to me when she was returning the last batch. However, at this point I really have no idea what to believe from her. Sigh. Then, to add insult to injury, after we had a nice talk about how serious and wrong stealing is, I put the toys at the top of the stairs to take down with me later. While I was laying with Lex, Eve got up to use the bathroom and sneakily took the toys back!! She hid them in her drawer and said “nothing” when I asked what she was doing with her drawers in the dark. They will be returned to school in the morning. Any words of advice from you teachers out there?

4 thoughts on ““The Gingerbread House Incident” and my thoughts on the month of December

  1. I’m not a teacher or a parent, but I have studied some psychology and developmental stages in my day.

    It seems lying and stealing is not so much a harbinger of Eve’s future as an amoral railroad hobo so much as an expected stage of development involving her relationship with herself, her fantasies, her family and her desire to mold her world into what she wants it to be, even it takes some stealing. Luckily, one of the most salient ways you can affect Eve’s behavior is through modeling, or generally not being a lying, cheating, stealing scumbag, and allowing her to observe how you do that.

    “A parent who says, “I love you, but I don’t like to hear you lie,” is still facing the child with the responsibility for having lied while implying that the child can do better. This is a good parental response.”

    This too shall pass. Please don’t worry about Eve. She’s a smart girl, but she doesn’t want to hurt anyone. Those distinctions will come with time and growth.

  2. be consistent…my advice..every time make her take it back, apologize and don’t freak out….it will pass, i’m sure

    somehow i am thinking about being in mom’s bedroom, taking the jewelry we wanted…maybe taking what you want is in vogue right now..asking santa for what you want…remember halloween when you just knocked on the door and you took home candy??? maybe it’s the perfect storm…the time of the season for taking what you want…hahah…well, that’s my rambling for tonight…love you both…sosooo much

  3. One of the best stories about lying is still one of the simplest. The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf. Every story or fable can be related directly to a real situation. So the moral of this story, lying/The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf, is “what if she were really hurt, sick, or had some other problem, or wanted to let you know something serious”; if you can’t believe her, she can’t help in times of trouble and danger, and that is dangerous. Talk with her and put her behavior in a real application and ask her how would anyone know of any danger, if they can’t believe her.
    Bottom line – if she’s old enough to be doing it, she’s old enough for the real world application and lesson. Growing phase or otherwise, it is serious needs to be taken seriously, but with love. And then move on, and move forward.

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