Life of Crime

I went to change Ruthie’s diaper the other night after she had spent the afternoon with Mimi, and when I undid her onesie a rosary came spilling out. That’s just how blessed my mom’s house is!
Actually my first thought was more along the lines of, “You little stinker!” That was her second act of petty larceny in one day, having already slipped a tube of craft paint into my purse at WalMart that morning. I didn’t discover it until we got out to the car and I was looking for my keys. Back into the store, kids!
So far I have only had one other shoplifting incident with my girls, and it was also pretty innocent. While cursing at concentrating on the self-checkout station at the grocery store, I didn’t notice that Margot had started to help herself from the display of chocolate covered pretzels right next to the cart. She had generously shared some with her little sister as well. There goes another $2.
The pretzel thing was definitely a teachable moment, though, since Margot is 3 now and needs to know better than to just start eating something that I haven’t given her. Beyond that, however, how much of right and wrong can she really understand at this age? I know we McSisters have discussed among ourselves the whole issue of lying — at what age does it actually become a lie and something they ought to be punished for? Since Jane is the only one among us (other than Mimi!) with children who have reached the age of reason, I’m hoping she can guide the rest of us through these issues of parenting older children.

For now I just have to keep a better eye on Ruthie’s sticky fingers.

3 thoughts on “Life of Crime

  1. Thanks for the laugh! I guess I shouldn't be surprised that she had the rosary on her because she kept dipping her hands in the bowl of them all afternoon.

  2. Stealth post! I just noticed this one! Anyway, finding a rosary in Ruthie's diaper reminds me of when Jim had his big leg cast off and there were all sorts of stinky treasures in there. I think he particularly liked the little tubes of your oil paints, Rose.

    I obviously don't have parental experience with the whole lying thing, but I think Margot is old and wise enough to have discussions/teaching moments about her transgressions. Then if she continues with the same behavior in similar circumstances, it's worthy of discipline. Does this sound fair? I think knowing right from wrong stems from learning there are boundaries. And your parents make the boundaries! So she might not know exactly why she shouldn't chow down on what she wants in the grocery store. But after you explain it to her and make it clear that we don't do that, if she does something similar again, she should know "Mom won't think this is cool therefore I shouldn't do it."

  3. My advice is call Mimi. 🙂 Also not to sweat the small stuff, which is something that she always tells me. It sounds like you handled the situation with her very well, even though it must have been frustrating for you! My friend Jen who is a teacher also says that 4-5 year olds are pathological liars, which I found oddly comforting when trying to figure out why Theresa "stretches the truth" so often. It's a stage, and it shouldn't be tolerated, of course, but as long as you keep reinforcing the reasons why she shouldn't lie, she'll eventually stop. Does that make sense, Mimi?

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