Oy, what am I doing wrong?
Here's what happened: One of Jake's pet millipedes died. He fusses over these critters to no end, spraying them once or twice a day with water, giving them bits of lettuce. He didn't seem too upset by the death, but he kept talking about it. He wanted to show his mom the dead millipede, and she refused, saying it was a yucky, dead, decaying millipede (based on Jake's description of brown stuff oozing out of its body). Jake got insulted and demanded an apology. Karen wouldn't apologize. Meanwhile, he was supposed to be reading his biology, and he kept turning the pages with his feet. Or something like that. I wasn't there, didn't see it happen. All I know is, I came upstairs, saw wrinkly pages in his nice new biology textbook, and said, "Um. You know, I wish you wouldn't mess up your new book." No anger. I didn't realize Karen had already said something to him about it. Next thing I know, we're in Tantrum Central. Then he kicks me in the shin. Now, I've almost never hit this kid. One little slap on the butt to get his attention (at about 18 months old), nothing since, and he's ten now. So I sent him to his room and told him if he DIDN'T get down to his room right away, no computer for a day. For three days. For a week. (I'm upping the ante because he's standing there, refusing to go downstairs.) I think he misunderstood me, because he thought he had to go to his room AND was getting booted off the computer. Next thing I know, he pops out of his room with his pillow, blanket, and flashlight. He leaves the house and begins running away. Slowly. My parenting skills are exhausted at this point. In the old days, you were supposed to just let the kid go, right? Let him have his temper tantrum and wander back sheepishly. But this isn't the old days, and besides, we live on a street where folks barrel down in their trucks at 50 MPH. Nevertheless, I had Karen come downstairs (her pelvis has mended well enough that she can get around with a cane, but still) so she could see Jake running away down the driveway in slow motion. "Go after him," she said. "Bring him back. I don't want him walking down the road." I met up with him at the entrance to the driveway. Another 'don't you think you're overreacting' speech, to no effect. He wouldn't come back. "I'll carry you back if I have to," I said, and he said, "You can try." I lifted him up and carried him back, with him kicking me in the shins as hard as he could all the way. We put him in his room and left him there. That was about an hour ago. Karen's thinking we should punish him extra (for all the shin-kicking): no computer, no TV. But I don't think we've seen the end of this insurrection. Look, folks. My parenting skills are for sh*t. As a kid, I didn't get much of an example, and neither did Karen for that matter. Dr. Phil me, people (tell me what to do). Thanks. D.