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Monday, December 10, 2007

Michael is grounded tonight

Actually, he is grounded tonight and tomorrow. This is the very first time he's ever been grounded, and we weren't sure how to approach it. There has been no punishment in our house for quite a long time, to be honest, but it couldn't last forever.

Michael is generally a very good kid, but he has been pushing the boundaries lately. He is in trouble for not eating his dinner last night. That sounds very innocent and normal, but perhaps you had to be there. We were in a standoff for about two hours before he argued that he was not hungry, but he was tired. We agreed to let him go to bed, and when I picked up his dinner bowl to scrape it off, he grabbed a bagel. Half of it was in his stomach before I wrestled it out of his hand and sent him to bed. That's where I found him munching on some of his Halloween candy, and that's how he got grounded.

I yelled. A lot. I searched my mind for the right words to use, and what tumbled out was "YOU'RE GROUNDED FOR TWO DAYS!!!"

Being a parent is emotionally wracking. That tiny person comes into the world with a unique ability to drive you insane. In fact, one of my memories from Michael's first month of life is of holding him, sobbing, and fighting the urge to throw him out the window.

In prenatal class, the nurse spent quite some time talking about why we should never, ever, shake the baby. We nodded solemnly, thinking that only a sicko would shake a baby. That lasted until about three weeks after the birth, when I was seized with the desperate urge to shake and shake and shake.

Of course, I didn't do this. (I can see you grasping around for the number to Child Protective Services.) I did shake myself quite a bit, though. I would put him down, close the door and scream. Oh, and cry. I cried out of frustration and anger a lot that first year.

I say all of this knowing that we have been very lucky with Michael. He is generally a very well-behaved kid. If he wasn't, I don't think I could handle it. I am not one of the supermoms I see at the ski club; I am a Failed Mommy. (Okay, so the details are slightly different, but I clearly don't measure up.)

Tonight has been very nice, so much so that I am not sure we are grounding him correctly. It does not feel like a punishment. I think we may be punishing Daniel more than Michael by depriving him of his usual after-school playmate.


Karen said...

That was remarkably honest of you. I am fairly well convinced that one reason I never had children was, I couldn't trust that I would be able to always resist the temptation to toss or shake the child. God knows I've been tempted to do that to complete strangers' kids in the store or a restaurant when they're misbehaving and the parents function like they're invisible.

So the idea that you found the ability to resist temptation, while still admitting to being tempted in the first place, is impressive.

Karan said...

Failed mommy? I think not, but we will drink wine with you anyway . . . (and gossip about the uptight supermoms!)

One of the challenges of having a kid like Michael - well behaved and interesting to talk to - is that when they do act up, it's extremely frustrating. The fact that he is seven years old and this is the first time you have ever had to impose any kind of punishment demonstrates this.

You're a cool mom.

Cin said...

Sign me up as a failed mommy!!I drove home from playgroup today muttering, "fuck, fuck, fuckitty fuck" a la Bridget Jones.