So I have a certain 5 year old (Little Red) that gets himself into a lot of trouble...A LOT OF TROUBLE...because he is so set on making other people laugh.
His excuse for everything..."well, but ________ was laughing." As if that should excuse his behavior.
I have tried many approaches to cure this kind of thinking (you know, that it's okay to do anything as long as someone finds it funny) I've tried:
The "just because it's funny doesn't mean it's right." approach.
The "I don't give a crap if he was laughing" approach.
The "you think that's funny...give me 50 burpies" approach.
The "oh, you still think it's funny? give me 50 MORE burpies" approach.
and sometimes The "go to your room until your dad get's home...I don't want to see your face for a very long time" approach (which I used the other day when he scissored off some of Golden Locks's (16 month old) beautiful curls).
But...this one takes the cake. Not only was it really effective..but it made ME laugh. In fact, I'm still laughing.
Pure mommy genius.
A few weeks back we were having a particularly heinous day....the kids were giggley and obnoxious and I was a bit sleep deprived and not finding much humor in their antics.
Little Red was in the bathroom and needed me to come wipe him. I walk into the bathroom not only to find G-McBabe (our eldest) in the bathroom with Little Red (a big no no in our house), but the ENTIRE new roll of toilet paper unrolled and in a heap on the floor.
I glared at Little Red with a blazing flame of fury in my eye...
"What?...What?....he says...and then "Well [G-McBabe] was laughing."
He and G-McBabe exchange their little smart "A" glances...you know, the ones kids use when they are being completely disrespectful and are really trying to tick you off?, and began to giggle.
Cleansing breath...cleansing breath...I told myself (I just saw the Hulk this week for the first time and feel like I may have found my kindred spirit... he he he)...and at long last I calmed.
The two boys were still giggling...which annoyed me to all get out...but I calmly replied. "So...it's okay to do anything just because you think it's funny, huh?"
Giggle, giggle..."Yeah," they replied...giggle, giggle....along with more shifty glances and a bit of hand over mouth "I promise I'm trying to keep myself from laughing but cant quite control myself" gestures.
"Oh, okay," I said.
"So....G-McBabe...do you think it would be funny if I were to take Little Red's head and dip it into this toilet of poopy water (and believe you-me, Little Red had the runs and it was pretty poopy)?"
Again, more giggles and even a few loud bursts of uncontrolled laughter from both of them (probably because of the mention of "poop" and "toilet"...boys, seriously?), and finally G-McBabe answers, "Um....Yeah..." with a huge grin.
"Oh, Okay, .......well then," I say.
I think Little Red could sense something in mommy's mood had changed...he stopped laughing.
I quietly rolled back up the toilet paper and calmly wiped his bottom. I, ever so gently, helped him off the toilet and waited for him to pull up his pants. Meanwhile, G-McBabe is still giggling in the back ground (what, did they have too much sugar that day...i mean, REALLY?)
Little Red finishes and, before he could even blink twice, I snatched him around the waist, tipped him upside down and lowered his head within mere inches of the water line...poop and all.
The giggling and laughter turned into pandemonium....
I hear, "MMMMOOOOMMMMM! MMMMOOOOOMMMM! AHHH AHHH AHHHH AHHHH! HELP! HELP! HELP! from Little Red....screaming....crying....the works.......PUT ME DOWN PUT ME DOWN ......PUT ME DOWN!!!!!
and simultaneously from G-McBabe, "MMMMOOOOMMMM! MMMMOOOOOMMMMMM! IT'S NOT FUNNY! IT'S NOT FUNNY! MMMMOOOOMMMMM! IT'S NOT FUNNY IT'S NOT FUNNY IT'S NOT FUNNY IT'S NOT FUNNY!!!!!!PUT HIM DOWN...IT'S NOT FUNNY...IT'S NOT FUNNY....ETC."
After a few seconds (but what I'm sure seemed like HOURS to both of them), I calmly put Little Red's feet back on the floor and reply, "Oh...that wasn't funny to you?"
(pant pant pant) "No," they replied.
"Oh...cuz I thought it was funny," I said smiling.
They both stared at me like I was crazy.
I let that thought sink in while I washed my hands.
"So...maybe it's NOT okay to do things just because we think it's funny, right?"
"Yeah"...they mumbled as I walked out the door.
And that was that.
I will say that the lesson learned was quite effective for a few days. Any time I had problems, I would kindly remind them of the toilet incident and they would shape up rather quickly.
I had forgotten about it for a time....shame on me....it's good ammo. One that I will be using rather often, I am quite sure.
Hey, a mama's gotta do what she's gotta do to teach her children the lessons of life.