Yesterday the kids had friends over, so combined with my three kids, there were 7 kids total running around. Unbeknownst to us, the ice cream truck came cruising by. We have a very hard and fast rule of not buying from the ice cream truck. We've explained multiple times that it is too much money and not a safe practice in general. With a lot of battles and tears and repetition, Bo finally gets it. He says with some derision every time the subject comes up, "It's a rip off." And we are proud.
But Avee is my child. There is friendly music, portable popsicles, and money doing absolutely nothing, upstairs in her drawer. While the grown-ups were chatting, our friend spotted her sneaking off with my wallet. Because we couldn't hear the ice cream truck, we had no idea what she was up to--so I just halfheartedly got my wallet back from her and didn't think much of it. She sneaked upstairs and then back past us (I never saw her) and went outside with 6 other kids following, and bought ice cream from the ice cream truck. She came back into the house proudly displaying the popsicle.
I was genuinely shocked. I didn't know that's what her end game was, I couldn't believe she so deliberately disobeyed, and that she did it so "quietly". When she said she spent four dollars on the popsicle I almost fell over. I made her put it in the freezer (there were kids following her around, salivating) and told her she wouldn't be eating that popsicle. It soon after came out that she had actually gotten TWO popsciles for four dollars, and one of them was for Danyo. That tenderness she innately has for Danyo gets me every time.
This morning the kids wanted popsicles, and having forgotten about the naughtily-gotten gains from last night, I said yes. They came traipsing in with their $2 popsicles.
Last night I had thought about how to best handle the situation and didn't feel like any solution I came up with was appropriate. Either too harsh or too lenient. Ultimately, I felt like she needed to know WHY she couldn't do this, more than she needed to be punished for doing it; but I was coming up with nothing.
So I deferred to J. As they stood there with popsicles in hand, I asked J what he thought should be done. He answered quickly, "She can have the popsicle if she explains to me the mathematical logic of why we don't buy from the ice cream truck." He grabbed a piece of paper and sat on the couch with her, drawing out the difference in buying two for $4 from the truck, and buying a whole box for less than that at Wal-merts.
I sat there feeling proud in who I chose to marry. He's a smart guy. Avee and Bo got all in to it and Avee drew the ice cream truck and Wal-merts for the diagram.
The message was sent. We talked about the safety end of it, and how there are almost always popsicles in our freezer, etc, etc.
While J and I are sitting there reveling in the successful teaching moment, Avee sat and graffiti-ed the teaching tool.