The Great Disappointment

Ah, Monday. A whole new week to discover.

Jason was away in Vancouver for the whole of last week, taking a computer course for work. We went and got him from the G.P. airport Saturday afternoon, had a good Sunday together, and now he is home in bed with a stomach bug. I don't know what kind of evil creation can bring Jason down, and don't want to find out. He's usually the one with the stomach of iron, I'm the one who catches things like this--so I'm really hoping I don't.

The week without him was more challenging than I expected--not because he was gone, persay, although we all missed him, and my life was definitely busier (these are the parts I did expect)--but because that was the week that Noah decided to try out vandalism.

It rained, hard, for most of Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. On Wednesday, I had Noah's friend Q.S. here, a boy who is also home schooling, but his family is going through a tough time with health issues right now, so I've been taking him three days a week to do school at our house in order to help the family out. Q. is an interesting child with a tendency to "forget" the rules whenever it is convenient for him, and so is Noah--more like Dory on Finding Nemo--"something shiny!" they exclaim, and immediately forget about anything else. However, the two of them together are not usually a major problem. Until now.

I once received a hilarious e-mail forward about boys, and there was something in there about how a group of boys together have a lower combined I.Q. than each one individually. That was borne out last week, when Noah and Q. came in just before lunch, bragging that they had been breaking glass in the old trailer (which is still sitting a few hundred yards away in our yard, but at such an angle that I cannot easily see it from anywhere in our house, especially in the rain.) They did not think of it as "destruction of property"--until I illuminated them, that is. They were simply two boys, not thinking, having a lark, enjoying the noise and effect of shattering glass.

I haven't been that angry for a looooonnnnng time. Of all the things left on that trailer, the windows were the only thing of any real value. I had intended to take them all out and make a greenhouse with them.

On surveying the damage, I found that only four windows in the entire house remained unsmashed. The four panes in the beautiful large bay window in the front was destroyed. The only surviving windows are smaller. There is glass everywhere there, and so we have had to restrict and carefully monitor our dogs since then, as we have not yet had time to begin cleanup.

Most of the cleanup will be done by the two boys, as part of their discipline. We (our family and Q's) have initiated several other measures of discipline to really drive home how big of a deal this is, but the unfortunate part is that you can't make eight-year-olds get a job and pay back $6000 worth of damage. That is just the way it is.

However, I think that the part that will really help these boys remember is the lack of trust I now have for them, especially the two of them together. Even when Q is allowed to come back over to play (which will be some time), I will not trust them to be unsupervised by an adult or an older, more responsible child. How are they going to earn that trust back? I don't know--but it is going to take a great deal of time.

Because if a child was four, I could maybe see them not "remembering" that you don't just wreck stuff. Especially something like a house. But at eight, if you can't trust them--how does that trust get rebuilt?

Without a lecture on my parenting, I would appreciate any further insight that other experienced parents may have in dealing with a situation like this.

So... here's to a new week. Let's hope it is less exciting than the last.