Ours is a chocolate friendly house, there is usually a small-ish stash of chocolate in some safe place. Normally, I am the one privy to its secret location. The lure of chocolate has tested me and my self-control many a times. I have always lost.
I am, a recovering chocolate addict, if there is any such thing. I go to chocolate first, next and last. I am guilty of eating up an entire Toblerone, over the span of a few days, piece after delectable piece, but without sharing it with my little ones. Yes, that is Mommy guilt for you.
I don’t keep candies at home. The kids have been told that they are sticky and not good for the teeth and one can expect ant attacks if you have them often. To which, they agree, reluctantly. The candy section is one aisle where I linger too often, only looking, you see.
Couple of weeks ago, the kids and me had to go to the grocery store. Normally, I try to finish this when they are not around. As I was hurrying along with my purchases, I realized that the two had slipped an aisle behind. Unsuspecting parent that I am, I turned back to ask them to step up, only to see them at a convenient distance from the candy display. With two identical deers – in – the – headlight expressions, but I did not give it much thought then.
But wait a minute, what were they chewing? Aha! Even before I could voice my indignation, anger, surprise – there were fingers pointing at each other, she did it first! And then me! I was furious. Here I was, trying to instill good values and all that, gathering them from my personal list and from the posts here on Parentous, and can you believe this – shop-lifting of the delectable kind.
My first attempt was to make them realize that what they did was wrong, yes, even if it is one small candy. And that we should pay for what we take. I think this was understood well enough by the 7 year old, though the demeanour was defiant. The younger one did not seem to realize the gravity of the situation. I don’t know who did it first, and who followed, both are wrong. If there is a camera, you can be caught. In any cases, liars sprout moustaches, and who would want that. Two little people promptly pointed fingers at each other again. As we paid up, I mentioned to the cashier we had helped ourselves to a candy each, and offered to pay for it. Was it the festive season, or maybe my faulty Dutch under stress that she gave us some more candies!!!
Has anything sunk in, I wondered? On the way home, we talked about it, and I asked them to go over what had happened, if it was a right or wrong thing to do and how would I know they are feeling sorry about it. At home I am particular they take something only after asking me. No chocolates, no TV for a week, said my older one. Are you sure, that’s not going to be easy, I asked. She insisted it would be that way.
How did we do in the week that followed? Some misses, but mostly on track. I had bought some chocolate mousse, so that had to be consumed before the expiry date. And Nutella spread over bread, as well as chocolate milk. The biggest test was on New Years eve when the kids had collected a large stash of chocolates and candies after going on neighbourhood wishing spree (on the lines of Halloween). They had to wait two more days to eat it. TV time off went ok too, they did use Ipad for controlled durations.
I have walked into each of them at various points, standing in front of the mirror, examining their upper lip! Would love to know how you would have handled a similar situation, thanks in advance.
Vibha, aka Chatty Wren, is a full-time mother to two delightful little girls. She blogs at http://wrenwarbles.blogspot.com about her life with her little ones, ups and downs of living in a foreign country and anything else that catches her fancy.