Last Thursday we found out that Cassidy and her friend, Laura, had been going to a corner store in the morning and buying candy and other assorted junk food. I’m not sure if you all remember the time almost a year ago where she dissappeared for about 20 minutes and I almost had a nervous breakdown right as the cops found her? Well ever since then I’ve tried to balance her freedom with some simple rules. Mainly, you have to tell me where you’re going BEFORE you go. And here’s the thing, I told her had she ASKED me to go to the store in the morning, I’d have more than likely said to go ahead and go AS LONG AS she wasn’t late to school.
The main problem I had with her little escapade was that she has to walk in the OPPOSITE direction as school to get to the store and if for some reason something had happened, I’d never have even CONSIDERED telling anybody to look down that direction because WHY WOULD SHE BE THERE?!
Here, graphical representation:
I tweeted that she was “seriously grounded” and I meant it. Two weeks in the room and no electronics. Harsh, I know and by Sunday I was missing her like crazy and when Mali DM’d me on twitter and was all PUMPKIN PATCH! I told her WE ARE SO THERE! And I let Cassidy go with me. At the time, I didn’t think it was that big a deal but, believe me, it was discussed at length afterward and I know that I shouldn’t have done that. I’m the softy. I’m always the one that caves and lets her do stuff like go have fun while she’s supposed to be grounded. This is really one of the few things that Ben and I argue about. My being a push over which results in him having to stand up and be “the bad guy”. It’s not fair to him at all so after that I promised to try and be better about being more strict so he could focus on being less “sole bad guy” and more “funny fun dude who likes to have fun”.
Ben and I mutually agreed Wednesday that she could be on ‘probation’ for the remainder of her grounding but that if EVEN ONE TIME she lied or was dishonest that the grounding would pick up at that point and she’d have to finish out her last week of grounding. I even pointed out to her at one point that if that happened, her gounding would overlap Halloween and wouldn’t that TOTALLY SUCK?
Tonight would have been the final night of probation. TONIGHT.
TONIGHT! So when we had just gotten done taking pictures of her in her Princess Leia costume earlier this evening and I got a call from her teacher telling me that Cassidy was late to school today, and this was the SECOND time she’d been late, I thought that CERTAINLY SHE WASN’T AT THAT DAMN STORE.
I called her downstairs and asked her what time she got to school today.
Cassidy: *deer in headlights look* I was late because I got up late and left late.
Me: You called me at 7:32 to tell me you were leaving.
Cassidy: I didn’t tell you what time it was.
Me: My phone keeps track of the time you call me. You called me at 7:32 and Ms. Walker said you got to school at 8:16.
Me: I am going to give you one chance to tell me the truth and it would be your best bet to be honest with me RIGHT NOW because I will send that costume back in a second of you aren’t.
Cassidy: Laura had money and she wanted to go to the store so we went and were late.
After more probing it wasn’t LAURA that had money, it was Cassidy and it wasn’t LAURA that wanted to go to the store, it was Cassidy. As a matter of fact, she had decided BEFORE she left the house and BEFORE she left me a message saying she was leaving that she had decided to go to the store.
So this time I know the punishment has to be severe. Grounded, no electronics for a week. That means no school carnival tomorrow, no trick-or-treating and no birthday party for Carrielee (BFF and aunt extraordinaire) on Sunday. The last being the one that seemed to effect her the most.
And it. Is. Killing. Me. I KNOW that this has to be done. I KNOW that if I don’t enforce this we’ll be back here in a month. I KNOW it has to be really hard on her to get the point across and it’s KILLING ME. I look so forward to Halloween and getting to take her out. We’ve never missed a single birthday of Carrielee’s. I feel like a horrible person for doing this to her and I KNOW I shouldn’t.
And at the core of it all: I don’t want her to grow up resenting me the way I resent my mother.
I’m taking these things away from her and I don’t want her to hate me for it but I know that, as a tween, hating me is just going to have to be a part of life for awhile. But I’m just so scared.
An aside to Ben because I want to say this publicly: Thank you SO MUCH for your love and support and for helping me to become a better parent. For talking me through things, for a gentle touch to let me know it’s going to be okay, for the space I need sometimes to work through these things in my head or hammer them out on a keyboard, and for the strength I know it takes to help me learn and grow in this daily roller coaster of parenthood. And most importantly, for being the best father any kid could ever have. I love you.