Natural consequences of forgetfulness
My youngest’s preschool called shortly after he arrived and informed me that my son showed up without his lunchbox today. I was five nines (99.999%) certain that I had sent him off with it, so I called his dad who had taken him to school this morning. No answer. I texted him. No answer. Well, what difference would it make, anyway, I thought to myself. It was going to work with his dad.
The school director mentioned that it was pizza day, but since we both know he doesn’t like pizza, he could eat Froot Loops, and that he said he was okay with that.
Two thoughts about this: I wish my son liked pizza. I wish my son wouldjust try pizza. I mentioned that to him one night recently and told him, “Normal kids eat pizza!” He informed me that he was normal and he did not like pizza. I asked him how he knew that, since he has never tried it, while admitting, “you are right, you are normal, except for the fact that you don’t like pizza.” He told me he knew because he had tried ketchup once (and I do remember this monumental event) and that it was too spicy for his mouth.
He doesn’t like ice cream, either. I don’t think that’s “normal” but I don’t want to be responsible for undermining his confidence and creating “issues.” And anyway, what is normal, besides one of the settings on the washing machine? Which reminds me…
But the more important thought is, I couldn’t bear the idea of my son sitting at the little lunch tables with all his friends, when they all had their lunch boxes and maybe a slice or two of pizza (since I am fairly certain most kids his age eat pizza) and he was eating dry cereal with a side of Goldfish crackers. Oh, and he’d probably have some juice, because even if they had milk to offer, he would not drink it as that is not on his list of acceptable things to consume either. (He gave up milk when he gave up his baba.) So therefore, he would be eating sugar and carbs all day, unless I delivered a lunch box that included all the food groups in acceptable forms, e.g., yogurt, apple sauce, pretzels, and orange juice.
So, I did. I figured I’d move around my schedule a little and I’d have just enough time to drive to preschool and back before my next call. The natural consequences of his forgetting his lunch box were simply far too undesirable.
Fast forward to this evening. We were on our way home from a pizza party (where my youngest son did not partake) to celebrate our team’s successful Destination Imagination event last weekend. It was a lovely evening where we didn’t have to do any projects or work or planning or discussing anything besides normal kid and mom things. Our team leader has an awesome apartment over her family’s garage, and the grownups had secured the downstairs while the kids were upstairs via a spiral staircase. Much thumping, giggling, and music was heard overhead — normal kid noises that apparently girls make, too, since the team was 2/3 girls — while the moms talked about kids, health, diets, exercise, aging, the school play, teachers, and homework.
When we had bid our host adieu and were at the end of the long, rocky driveway, I asked my youngest, “Honey, do you have your lovey (teddy bear/blanket combo)?”
His was focused intently on his Nintendo DS.
“Honey, you have your lovey, right?”
No answer as I turned out of the driveway onto the street.
“Do you care?”
“Did you bring your lovey into the house?”
There had been much shuffling and jockeying for position in the car as we were packing up and leaving, so I really wasn’t sure.
Later this evening after showers, my son asked me, “Where’s my lovey.”
I said, “Wherever you left it.”
“Oh, great! Now I’m never going to find it!” Oh, woe — the drama!
I didn’t bite. “You left it at so-and-so’s, didn’t you.”
“Yes, I think so,” he said in a small voice, muffled because his thumb was in his mouth. His shoulders slumped. He looked up at me and I could see the half moons under his teary eyes. He was tired and he wanted his lovey. But it was past 9:00, too late for me to even call our friends.
“Good thing you have two other loveys you can use…”
“But I don’t like…”
“…to get you through the night.”
I am certain he was very disappointed, devastated even, but he did not argue with me. Whether it was because he was too tired, or he had accepted responsibility for the fact that he left his lovey behind, I do not yet know. The natural consequences were painful even for me, as I have gone through great lengths in the past almost-five years to ensure that he does not have to go without his preferred lovey for any great length of time (sometimes it is the lovey I have delivered to school), usually only long enough for it to go through the wash. Which reminds me…