Sunday, October 10, 2010

The case of the dry erase marker and the lie

There I was, reading Z a chapter of one of the Rebecca books on her bed, when I glanced up and saw an 8 inch green rectangle etched on her bedroom wall. Although Z initially professed innocence in what appeared to to be a combination marker drawing and pencil scribble, her lies were pretty unconvincing.

"I don't know how that got there."

"I think it's always been there."

"It doesn't bother me."

Two seconds of sleuthing and I found a green Dry-Erase marker about a foot and a half from the crime scene. Its shade matched the evidence on the wall. 

"Z, come over here and use this pencil eraser to erase the marks on the wall." 

"But that's not pencil," she replied. "It's key. I was drawing a door to fairy land and the key is to get in."

And thus, with any remaining doubt as to her guilt removed, I gave Z the opportunity to choose a consequence. She offered me up a doll she never plays with and said I could have it for a week. No dice. She offered up her American Girl doll, but since she hasn't played with it this week, I turned her down and told her she wasn't going to get to play on the computer or Daddy's iPod Touch for a week. I was shocked when she accepted her fate without protest as we've been dealing with a lot of backtalk lately.

I didn't finish the book chapter, but went downstairs to Google remedies. Apparently Z isn't the first to take a Dry-Erase marker to a painted wall, and a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser removed the marker pretty well and softened the key scratches somewhat. A little rubbing alcohol took care of any remaining stain and I, feeling like the punishment now outsized the crime, lessened Z's punishment to 3 days.

Speaking of discipline and parenting challenges, I've been reading How to Unspoil Your Child Fast and will be reporting later this week on my take on the book that promises "A Speedy, Complete Guide to Contented Children and Happy Parents."