“Mom?” Levi said. “I did something bad. Really bad.”
“Really?” I said, over my shoulder. “What’d you do?” You might feel tempted at this point to compliment me for my equilibrium, but you should resist. Levi has not yet developed a sense of scale, and has been known to report a bandaid falling off in the bath as an emergency.
“I don’t want to tell you.”
And that is when both my attention and my head swung around to him. That is not a good sign. After a little more conversation (he really didn’t want to tell me), he pointed me to the window.
I suppose it was inevitable.
In what may be my personal triumph for the week, I did not yell. (I’m a yeller. I’m trying to reform.) I cleaned up the glass and taped the window so no more shards fall down. I called to get a new window sash on order. Bonus: I learned what a window sash is. I was just calling them the top part and the bottom part.
I did, though, sit down with Levi and explain to him that while, as he said, the break in the glass was certainly an accident, throwing hard stuff around the living room was not. Sometimes the things we do on purpose seem like they don’t matter, but they have consequences we don’t intend. And parents usually have reasons for the things they forbid, even if those reasons aren’t entirely clear to a preschooler.
I haven’t decided on the consequences yet – I’m not just being mean; I want to talk to Paul about it – and he’s kind of sweating it out. It’s almost certainly going to involve paying part of the replacement cost out of his allowance. My friend just suggested that he also needs to clean some windows. I like this idea. I wonder if I can get him to break something (really inexpensive) on the stove and get that taken care of, too.
Kidding! I think.
I do want to set a precedent that is both reasonable and scalable. Because … I have a feeling this isn’t our last broken window. Bless their boisterous little hearts.