Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Consequences Bite . . . or Do They? (Another Guest-Post by Daddy)

On the morning of August 31st, as related in the posting under that date, James took unwarranted liberties with Daddy's bank card (trying to order a 3DS game he desperately coveted but hadn't earned) and promptly lost the same. The last he knew he was sitting on his bed and (he said) the card "fell in the direction of the TV." (Only it wasn't there.) In consequence of this chain of events, James lost something of value to him as well -- his treasured 3DS was confiscated.

The drama lasted all through the long holiday weekend. The various stages of grief were passed through: denial, defiance, deal-making, despair -- you know the drill. Initially, he simply denied he had taken the card. Didn't wash. Daddy's wallet had plainly been moved, the card was missing, its number had been entered in the device, and he had even had the chutzpah to go to Mommy seeking help in completing the abortive purchase.

As the evidence mounted against him he got mad: "Oh! How about I just ______!" The blank was filled in with whatever he truly thought would get the parental goat at that particular moment. This tactic was attempted several times.

Various efforts ensued to negotiate his way around the situation, play parent against parent, wheedle out of searching for the card, or otherwise subvert the final decree. "What do I have to do to get back my 3DS?" he finally pleaded. "You have it right now, James -- just give me back my card. As soon as I have my card, you can have your 3DS."

Black depression came upon him -- this was his "I'm just going to punch myself" mode. Thankfully, it didn't last long; one self-inflicted blow later, he realized it hurt.

Acceptance? I'm not certain. Desperation, certainly. He spent a good portion of Monday afternoon frantically turning his room and his sister's upside-down in quest for the lost card, which, alas, stubbornly persisted in its absence. This after having refused to search through nearly three days during which Daddy had turned the house upside-down in his stead. Other truant items had turned up. The key that winds our mantle clock, which James abstracts on a regular basis. An older model DS belonging to another member of the household. A favorite game for it, belonging to that same member of the household. All brought to light by Daddy, not James. I get that kid out of more trouble! But our boy was really suffering.

Meanwhile, I had not neglected the general chores -- feeding the cats, changing the cat box, watering the plants, cleaning the fish tank, washing the dishes, doing the laundry. The laundry tends to back up during the busy week, and catch-up can occupy much of the weekend. We generate a lot of it, our family having recently increased to five people. Anyway, Monday evening I was emptying the drier a final time. Clink! One plastic bank card dropped to the bottom of the bin. I picked it up. It was my card, all right. In all the hullabaloo, no one had thought to look in the pocket of Jamesie's pants!  (a side note from the "Laughter Mom... Just for the record... this is not true... James is "frisked" (have him turn his pockets inside out) more frequently then I like to admit!  I did it the morning of the incident and several times during the weekend. The card wasn't in the pockets of the pants he was wearing at the time the card disappeared.  He likely threw it in the laundry basket in the girls room and I know I told the search party to look in the laundry!)

Up to James's room, 3DS in hand. "What are you doing with that, Daddy?" he asked.

"Giving it to you." I displayed the card. "A deal's a deal."

Complete and utter joy. "So where was it?"

I explained.

"So I was innocent!"

A sidelong look. "Really?"

"Well . . ." (No, not really.)

I shook my head. "I hope, James, you've taken a lesson from all this."

"Yeah, I get it."

One can only hope!

A postscript: of course it remained to be determined whether the bank card still worked, having gone through both washer and drier. The test was made, and passed with flying colors. It seems financial institutions make their plastic tough, doubtless with greedy little boys in mind.