Monday, September 15, 2008

ENOUGH TO TRY THE PATIENCE OF A SAINT. . .

A week ago this past Saturday was the Illini home opener against EIU. Chris and I have season tickets, and have been looking forward to college football season starting up again. The game against EIU was at 11AM, and so we had our babysitter, Ashley, at our house at 9AM. Ashley is a teenager from our church, and does a good job with the kids. She has a sister who is exactly the same age as Aleita (they are only a few days apart in age, as a matter of fact), so we knew she was used to four year old behavior. It was a beautiful day - - sunny and in the high 70s - - so we had come up with activities designed to get the kids out of the house and moving - - and hopefully, to wear Aleita out.

We asked her to walk them over to the intermediate school and let them play on the playground for as long as they wanted. We put their library books in a bag and asked her to take them to library to take their books back and check out new ones. Our library also has a small kids’ play area, with a stove and grocery store, so the kids enjoy spending time doing that as well. I told her she could let them play there for as long as they wanted. I gave her money for the restaurant in town and told her to take them to lunch there. I told her to come back after lunch and lay Aleita down for a nap. I even sat down and explained to Aleita that she was going to take a nap that day and not to argue about it.

I left home that day, headed for the football game, confident that I had given my rambunctious four year old enough to do to properly wear her out so that she would A) be too busy in the morning to get into too much trouble - - and B) be worn out enough that she would lay down and take a nap in the afternoon without too much objection. Silly, naïve, foolish mommy.
We got a call near the middle of third quarter of the game from Ashley. She had laid Aleita down for her nap, but it seems Aleita had other ideas. Within minutes of putting her in bed, Aleita had stripped herself naked and was running around the house without a stitch of clothing on. Attempts by Ashley to get her redressed and in bed were futile, and so a phone call to Mommy and Daddy was finally made. Chris had Ashley put Aleita on the phone and proceeded to chew her butt for a few minutes. His words to me were, “I think if I could have reached through the phone and choked the child, I just may have done it.”
After he got off the phone with her, according to reports from Ashley, she did at least get herself dressed, but refused to take a nap. She did at least stay fully clothed, though her behavior was not much improved. Once we got home and Ashley left, Aleita’s butt got reintroduced to the wooden spoon (they hadn’t seen each other in awhile.) She also got all the toys taken from her bedroom. The worst punishment came the next day when Chris and Maggie went into Decatur after church for lunch and some shopping, and Aleita got to stay home with me and have a cheese toastie for lunch instead. As she realized they really were leaving without her, she threw herself to the floor in a sobbing heap and proclaimed, “I wish I weren’t such a bad girl!”

Me too, kiddo. Me too.

Now you would think that after a proper punishment and lots of discussion about behavior, Aleita would have learned her lesson and been better the following week when we again went to a home Illini game. Yes, you may think that, but you’d be wrong. Come back tomorrow and I will fill you in on Aleita’s behavior this past Saturday for our babysitter, the brave (and probably underpaid) Ashley.

2 comments:

Susan said...

Evidently you're overlooking that being a super-hero comes with certain privileges; evidently among them are to be clothed or not and to nap or not!

kristin said...

This one had me laughing! You have your hands full with Aleita. But just think of all the good blogging material she gives you. You should be writing a book about this child.