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So I took a little/long break from here, owing to busy-ness and just plain not having much to say. Or at least, not much about Simon. But that’s changed, so here I am.

Where am I exactly? I’m 30 minutes from meeting Simon at the bus-stop (he now rides the bus home a few times a week, and my hips, budget, and mood are all improved as a result), and for the first time in all his years of schooling, I don’t think Simon is going to be happy to see me. No, scratch that, I’m sure of it. And that kind of breaks my heart, but there’s nothing I can do.

Fact is, my precious boy, the one his teachers universally adore, got caught lying about brushing his teeth for the second time this morning. The first time we busted him, we explained the importance of tooth-brushing and honesty. To drive home the point of the importance of good oral hygiene, I showed him a picture of Shane MacGowan. (If you are unfamiliar with Mr. MacGown, Google him. But not while eating.) “That ought to do it,” I said to myself, and the matter was closed.

Then this morning I asked Simon if he had brushed his teeth before he headed out the door. He told me yes, but I was suspicious because I didn’t recall hearing the water run. The dry tooth brush confirmed my suspicions, and thus Simon’s last interaction with me before heading off to school was my yelling at him for lying and telling him that his computer, on which he watches soccer videos, was going away for today and tomorrow.

He shook and cried from what I suspect is a combination of shame, fear, and anger. I’ve hardly ever had to yell at him before, and he’s certainly never had a privilege revoked. I’m pretty sure he didn’t realize that computer time was a privilege. As I watched him walk down our hill towards the bus stop, I was saddened by his downward gaze and shuffling, agonizingly slow, gait.

This was a miserable, anxious, and sad 9-year-old. And while one part of me, the responsible parent part of me, thinks, “Good, maybe he’ll remember how awful he feels the next time he’s tempted to lie,” the mom who’s had a ridiculously easy run of 9 years is sad that I’m no longer a source of exclusively good feelings.

I recognize that most of my cohort has had to drop the hammer well before now and that it was unrealistic to expect Simon to remain my perfectly obedient child forever. But it sure was fun! Much funner than this next stage promises to be.

In 20 minutes, I will meet a nervous and long-faced child at the bus-stop, at which point I will restate the importance of honestly and ask him whether, in the event that I go upstairs and sort through the bathroom trash, I will find a week’s worth of discarded flossers. (Spoiler alert: I won’t.) Regardless of how he answers me, he’s going back to the dentist ahead of schedule. But one answer will restore computer privileges tomorrow night, and the other will extend the ban through Sunday.

Wish us both luck.

2 Responses to “Fear and Loathing in Louisville”

  1. goldsteinrita says:

    There was nothing else you could do and the sooner he understands that bad behavior has consequences the better. Stick to your guns or when the big things come along, you will be doomed before you start.

  2. blg says:

    Be careful you don’t teach him to moisten the toothbrush without brushing.
    Not that I ever did this.

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