The worst punishment ever

Except for a tiny bubble of light floating over our kitchen sink from a handmade night-light, the house waited for me in darkness. Rehearsal Tuesday night was disjointed, but productive. My mind replayed all of my mistakes, visually marking what I need to work on before this Saturday’s annual Riverside Park Pops Concert. It is always a mad dash to get everyone where they need to go before I leave for the night: gymnastics, swim, dinner, homework. There is about a two and a half hour window to connect with each family member on Tuesdays. I make it a point to have the girls ride together for each drop-off, so that I can utilize my driving time to talk to them about their day.

Imagine my surprise to find out that The Tortoise approached DW at 9 pm Tuesday night to sign an assignment. She had never mentioned this to me during our time together. Her teacher had given out a study guide almost two weeks ago, mapping out each step she expected the students to follow in order to prepare. The students were required to have a parent initial each assignment listed and then sign the finished study guide as part of their grade. Unfortunately, she decided to lie and say she just got the study guide the day before, but DW is a smart guy and prodded a little more. Lies were layered and then quickly unraveled under duress.

“Fine! I got this two weeks ago but didn’t show anyone because I didn’t want you on my back about studying for this exam!”

The lie stinks, but so does the reason. The Tortoise’s grades have been really good. She has finally started to show some time management skills and has lost few privileges this year. But this could not go unpunished. DW made the same choice I would have, and refused to sign the paper, because then he would be lying that he had knowledge of her completing each of the tasks, things like re-reading the chapter, note taking that she couldn’t produce, create flash cards, etc. Obviously, this would result in her losing some points – reality discipline at its finest. For the lie, she lost weekend privileges with her friends, which meant her Friday night suddenly became available.

The next morning, over breakfast, I asked her about what had transpired the night before. She pouted, sinking Cheerios one by one in her cereal bowl, and admitted everything.

“And Dad already told me I’m grounded, so there really isn’t anything else to say. I know I deserved that too.”

We didn’t talk about it again the rest of the week, until last night. The Hare has a gymnastics banquet tonight. Originally, just DW, The Hare and myself were going, but there is no way I am going to let The Tortoise hang out by herself to text friends and watch movies all night while she is grounded.

“By the way,” I said, kissing her goodnight, ” You’ll need to wear a dress to the banquet.”

“WHAT!” she exclaimed, sitting up in bed, “I wasn’t planning on going! That’s so boring!”

“It really wasn’t a request. We are all going together, as a family.”

The Tortoise threw herself back on the bed, her head attacking the pillow with a swoosh.

“Great,” she mumbled, “now that’s the worst punishment ever.”

She thinks that’s bad? Just wait and see what happens if she continues to have a bad attitude tonight. I might make her go to church with me Sunday morning.

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4 thoughts on “The worst punishment ever

  1. My inner teen is also squirming, wanting to side with The Tortoise.

    I despised people telling me how I should study. Every person is different so how could they possibly know?

    I don’t know if my mother–strict as she was, would have had the courage to let me suffer the consequences, knowing it would possibly lower my grade. Especially if I then aced the test.

    But I would have totally been grounded for lying.

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