I know he thinks I’m terrible right now. I made him go to bed without lunch.
I felt mean and terrible and I second guessed it all they way to his bedroom. Hoping I would have an out to this horrible punishment I was about to dish. But nothing rescued me…not even a glimmer of apology was there to open the window for me to send him back to the table. It was sheer outrage and an offended little creature that met my eyes when I got to his room. The same reaction I had received downstairs when I first dolled out the sentence was repeated again. “I don’t want to! I don’t want to!”
I explained as calmly as I could the reason we were doing this and though he did not express any acknowledgment, I know he realized his mistake.
Each day when I pick him up from school at noon I have already made his lunch and have it waiting so that there is no time wasted upon our arrival home. He does not have to go hungry for a moment and I know what he wants everyday. Peanut Butter and Jelly are the favorite and I usually have it on a plate, covered in Saran wrap either in the fridge or at his seat at the table. Today, I made a special effort and cut the sandwich in the shape of a football. This is something he often asks for and I rarely take the time to do. You would think I would get a “thank you,” maybe even a “Wow, mom!” instead his first words were…”Why did you cut it in a football?” Followed by, “I didn’t want this…I wanted mine folded.” When I offered him milk he said, “I want juice.” None of this is too harsh until you add it to the numerous times he’s had similar reactions and join it with the warnings I’ve given on being grateful for what he’s given. Almost every meal is unsatisfactory in some way. I started to explain to him why I had given him his sandwich the way it was but quickly changed directions and in my most unemotional tone I said, “take your dirty socks off and put them in the laundry room and then go upstairs to your bedroom.” He took the socks off warily but was not yet convinced that I was actually sending him upstairs without lunch. He moved slowly and I ordered his removal again. The outburst followed and bitterly he obeyed.
He is asleep now. He will wake up hungry I am sure but I hope he also wakes up with a confidence that there is a price for ungrateful behavior. As I told him before I covered him with his quilt…if he doesn’t learn to be grateful, he will live a very unhappy life.