Thursday, March 31, 2011

Aiden's Headed For the Slammer

In the next few weeks I'll be posting a sign up sheet for those of you that wish to put together a care package to send to Aiden when he's sent to Juvenile Detention for stealing.  He likes bubble gum (no mint,) hidden picture puzzles, stickers and anything that Cole is currently playing with or thinking about play with in the next 20 minutes.

The first time Aiden lied to me he was probably approaching three years old.  Cole was still a baby and was just learning to pull up on things.  I left Aiden and Cole in their playroom for a minute to run into my bedroom (I am pretty confident I had something VERY urgent to handle in there) when I heard Cole start crying. I ran back into the room and there was Cole in a heap on the floor, bawling.

Aiden immediately told me that Cole tripped and fell.  He repeated it a few times like Rain Man would and went along with his business.  A few minutes later though I overheard Aiden talking to himself while he was running his little matchbox car along the couch.

"I said he fell, but I pushed him.  I said he fell, but I pushed him."

To this day he is still that good at lying. It's really pitiful and I really hope that it never changes because he will never be able to get away with anything.  But, that's going to be a problem if he keeps up his new habit of stealing.  You need to be pretty slick to get away with that.

The first act of stealing was when he lifted a matchbox car from Sunday School about six months ago.  I really feel like this was more of an accident than a deliberate act of taking, but it was a really poor location to violate one of the Commandments.  Geez, he really has poor crime skills.

Keeping with the trend of poor skills, yesterday I noticed a $20 bill was missing from my pile on the counter.  (Don't you keep a pile of money on the counter?  No? Seriously? )  I quickly asked both the boys if they had seen it and Aiden gave me his guilty face while replying, "No, why do you need it?" I guess he was looking to see if I really deserved it or not. 

Knowing he was guilty, but not having the time to run through the process of getting a confession out of him, we headed out the door for the vet. On the way home I mentioned that I would like the boys to help me look for my missing money when we arrived home.  Aiden immediately said, "Ok, why don't you look in the kitchen and stay in the kitchen and I'll just look around my room.  But you stay in the kitchen."

He's super smooth.

Within one minute of returning home he gave me back my money, which I later found out he had put in his piggy bank, and told me he had found it on his dresser.  Sure you did.  It took a few minutes but he eventually confessed and we had a long discussion about honesty, stealing, and how Mommy needed that money to buy cute shorts she had seen at Old Navy. Didn't he want Mommy to look good? We have to work together on this.

These gray shorts are elastic wasit!  Hooray!  And the skirt is $15...seriously.

I was feeling pretty good about our stealing moment, I mean every kid has one at some point, right?  Well, this morning I discover he's been smuggling gold coins out of preschool.  He claimed that he just "found them in his pocket," but after a few questions he broke down that he had really taken them.

We started again with the stealing discussion and I told him he would have to tell his teacher what happened and apologize.   He did talk to his teacher, but seriously, what the hell is going on with him?

At this rate he'll be lifting candy from WalMart in a few weeks.  He'll have to befriend Lindsay Lohan to try to figure out how to get out of doing any sort of time for his tendency to "borrow" things without permission. 

Now that I'm thinking about his stealing this week I keep blowing everything he has an interest in out of proportion...or perhaps I'm just finally seeing the light?  He is fascinated by security sensors at stores and desperately wants to know what they are, when they make noises, and how do the people know what was taken by whom? 

(Seriously, he uses the word "whom" because grammar is really important in our family and I'm a super good Mom.) 

He's asked a series of jail questions since our trip to the courthouse early this week.

(Shit, he gets his crimal mind from  me!)

He wants to know why people go to jail and how long they have to stay and what it's like there.  He didn't understand my analogy to Mommy's time at home, but I think that things really clicked when I referenced Lightning MQueen's time at the impound after wrecking the road in Radiator Springs. (Thank goodness for a Disney movie that can teach about the slammer.)

On our recent trip to Costco, the vet and Target he was very concerned about the cash register drawer.  Why is it opening?  Why is there so much money in there?  How do you get it open?  The cashier at Costco actually asked him to step back because he was getting so close to the money, it was pretty uncomfortable....which is why I didn't say anything in an attempt to make the cashier think he wasn't with me.

I think I even saw him trying to pick a padlock we had in the garage leftover from our former shed.  He's clearly working his skills. 

When the photographer came to take pictures of us for the paper today I felt like I should warn her that we could not take responsibility for anything she left unattended.  I just don't know what he's going to lift now and I can't afford to pay back any money she could have in her purse, my kid's taking everything I have. 

Thank goodness he doesn't realize that cameras could actually be sold for a lot of money or he might have tried to pick up the second camera she set down on the coffee table.

Seriously, any good advice on hammering in the Thou Shall Not Steal message?  I do think this is normal (I'm sure Bernie Madoff did this when he was 5 too) but it's very frustrating.  He is so sweet and so horrible at the stealing thing, thank goodness, but....I mean, look at him, how is he stealing?

If you still haven't registered to win the amazing necklack from my friend Jessica's company, Noonday Collection, be sure to click over and check it out!  Alll you have to do is check out her website or a few other things and comment that you did each of them.  You could win this!


Sara @ Life With the Two said...

As the former proprietor of the Little Big Top Daycare for Future felons, I find that mugshots and really horrible community service sentences work wonders.
Mopping the floors with a bucket and rag is my favorite, but other dumb things I don't want to do like wash windows and sweep the patio work just as well.

And if it doesn't help, at least he'll have experience and will have less of a chance to have a Nick Nolte-esque mug shoot or 12.

Anonymous said...

You write with humor but I think you also have some anxiety about this. My son had behavioral issues so I understand. I explained prison to him by saying that you couldn't take your blankey with you, no toys and no one tucked you in at night. Bet you figured out he was kind of young when we had this conversation. The time he wanted a toy from WalMart and I said no, only to have him show it to me at home and say he found it under the sofa was pretty awful. I called the store to tell them what happened and that we were coming to return it to customer service. He was only 4 so I didn't think they would prosecute but I also didn't want them to just say "OK, no problem."Being impulsive and wanting to avoid punishment meant he had trouble with lying too. The best advice I got for handling that was this. If I knew for a fact he was lying, I would say, hmmm, I know sometimes you have trouble thinking before you answer. If you want to take some time to think about this, you won't be punished for changing your answer. Of couse, he had was punished for his wrong doing but he was saved additional trouble for lying.

Sara, I love your community service idea!

Kimi said...

I used to threaten (teach?) my son with "kids jail", better known to grown-ups as the juvenile detention center. They have the big menancing complex along the Inner Loop in Gtown, and when we'd drive by I always made it a point to talk about how awful it is inside. "There are STRANGERS in there!" Only once did I pull in towards the long driveway which resulted in a lot of "Mommy I'm sorry!" and tears. But it worked.

He once lifted a toy car from church too. I made him write a sorry note, take money out of his piggy bank to buy a bubble mailer and postage and we mailed it back. The church sent him back a note with a $5 bill so he could buy his own cars. Basically he was rewarded to steal. Hmmm...