Ahhh... the innocence of childhood. Passing the summer away playing in the pool, drinking Kool Aid (ok we don't have much Kool Aid it's actually called Zuko and it's a low sugar drink imported from Mexico), and petty theft.
Yep, that's right. Today, our darling little angel decided to shoplift a roll of bubble tape from the mini mart. I told her no gum, and that she could choose a laffy taffy or sucker. After a huge fit, she chose a laffy taffy and we said good bye to the clerk (a friend of ours). We got outside and Kaia kept one hand behind her back. Immediately I was suspicious. I asked her why she had her hand behind her back. She told me her "butt itched." I looked at her shadow, and sure enough she was scratching her butt. I felt bad for thinking she had something behind her back. I told her ok, and went to put Mo in his seat. I got him in, and unwrapped his sucker. I walked around the truck (my car died on Wednesday, so I'm truckin til it's fixed), and saw it. The bubble tape I had nixed inside.
Here was a dilemma. I wanted to deal with Kaia's misdeed immediately, but I'd just strapped Mo in his seat. I quickly decided that with all the truck windows down, Mo would be fine while Kaia went in to apologize and put the gum back. I know both the kids, and Mo is the easy going guy. Kaia would have taken any hesitation on my part as weakness or acceptance. I would like to say I marched her back in there, but it was more like dragging a wet noodle. I stayed by the door so I could keep an eye on the truck and Mo. She put the gum back immediately, but broke down in huge sobs and tears, then threw herself to the floor. Especially once the clerk and a customer realized what had happened.
Luckily the customer is a regular (and so are we) so he stopped and told her to calm down and breathe. He also told her we've all made that mistake before, but it still wasn't right. The clerk came out and told her to calm down, then reminded her that people that steal have to go away with the police because it's naughty, and Kaia wouldn't ever want that.
That turned out to be punishment enough. Public humiliation does wonders. Especially when Kaia so looks up to other adults. She wants the approval, and acceptance. She is a first child, just like her mom. She was devastated that I told her dad. I'm not sure she heard me tell her Grandma Owie, because I think she would have really come unglued if she knew Grandma Owie knew. We shall see how she reacts to Grammy knowing.
Well one more milestone passed. I think I handled it well. I didn't lose it, just maintained that she needed to make it right. Her own shame seemed to work as punishment, but I'll be watching the vehicle keys from now on.