Wednesday, September 10, 2008

He's Halfway There

For the longest time Mark has wanted a pet.

"Mommy, I want a kitty cat."

"Sorry buddy, Mommy's allergic to cats."

"Mommy, I want a puppy."

"Sorry sweetie, daddy's allergic to dogs." (No, really, we aren't liars. All this is true. That and I love dogs as long as somebody else has to walk them and take them out to pee, aka not mine. And oh yeah, I need one more thing to take care of almost as much as I need a hole in the head. Truly.)

Being the rational and intelligent child that he is he said, "Well, how about a fish. Fish aren't furry or ANYTHING so they won't make you and daddy sneeze."

"Yes, Mark that is true. We could probably get a fish."

Except, that at that very moment we were days away from leaving to drive half way across the country to Oklahoma, so I thought that maybe it might be a good idea to wait until after our 3 week vacation so Mr. Fishy might have a chance to survive (still debatable in our home.)

That was in June. We never got Mr. Fishy. Why, you ask? Well, right around the time we got home from vacation, Mark decided it would be a great idea to start lying to us and after various punishments we decided that little boys who lie don't get to have pets. A lot of tears were shed. And we forgot about the fish. For awhile.

Lately, he's been asking about the fish from time to time. Lamenting the fact that he lost his chance to have a pet. Saturday, we were out running errands and he mentioned it. I took a deep breath and said "Well, Mark, let's make a deal. If you can go a whole week without getting sent to your room, we'll get you a fish. Today is Saturday, so next Saturday, if you are good for a whole week, we'll go to the pet store." Then I wondered what the heck I had done because, Mark had been excessively naughty at home since school has started. Picking on Eric, potty talk, crappy attitude, you name it he did it and I was nearing the end of my rope. I alternated between thinking NO WAY he could not get sent to his room for a week, and OH CRAP do I really want a freaking fish?

There was one incident on Sunday. I can't remember what he did but Kevin sent him upstairs and then he looked at me and whispered "Sorry, I forgot about the fish." I told him not to worry, because he had committed a send to your room offense. When Mark was able to come down again I asked him to come talk to me and he was so sad until I explained that we could start fresh and try again. All was well.

I can't believe it, but Mark has not been sent to his room since Sunday. Has he been perfect? Of course not. Has he been reminded a few times to "Shape up the attitude if you want the fish?" Yep, sure has. Has he been remarkably better behaved than in previous days. Absolutely.

Tonight we had a near miss. I was folding laundry, so I didn't witness it but I heard Kevin say, "Did you just hit Zack? Why did you hit him?" And I held my breath hoping against hope that he would be lenient. We don't tolerate hitting, but ... but... but... he's been SO good. In the end, he wasn't sent to his room tonight. He apologized. I talked to him and said he was lucky daddy didn't send him straight up to bed, and he would have had to start all over. He looked at me and said "Daddy said if I hit someone again, the deal is over."

I'm rooting for my boy. I'm willing him to be well behaved. I'm willing myself to be patient and reserve room sending only for the worst offenses without letting truly bad actions slide for the sake of the deal. That would negate my whole objective. I hope by Saturday he'll have a fish. I hope that we've both learned some lessons in this endeavor. I hope we've made some habits that can help our home be more peaceful and fun. I hope that little boy knows I love him no matter what, whether he acts like a little turkey, or as saintly as they come. I hope that this is something more than a bribe and that a deeper lesson is learned.

You can do it Mark! Just a few more days! You are more than halfway there!


Anonymous said...

Oh, that is so awesome!! Go Mark!! I hope he makes it! And I recommend a Beta fish- they are soooo easy. We had one that lived in a vase for about 2 years. And they can't live with any other fish, so getting 'another fishy' would be out of the question, and they are really pretty. :)

Rebecca said...

Yes! I meant to mention that! I was either going to do goldfish in a bowl, or a beta.

We had a fish tank for a few years and I seriously don't have the energy for that now. I still have flashbacks of Mark and Eric dumping and entire container of fish food in the tank. Repeatedly. Shudder.

Kellan said...

I'm rooting for Mark too - GO MARK!

Take care - Kellan

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