Tough Lessons

If you will, a photo story in five parts.


Part I:  Boys build fort.

Aka…mom builds fort.  Boys inhabit.


Part II:  Boys have special screen time.  Fort now deemed, “Boys Only.”

Meanwhile, unassuming mom congratulates herself on brilliant plan to buy 5 minutes of time.


Part III:  Boy (aka…little ring leader) commits cardinal sin of fort dwelling.

Fort Rule #1:  Forts are for being in.  Not on.


Part IV:  Boys innocently present victim to mom.


Oh.  Snap.

End self congratulation.

Part V:  Choose your own Ending

Now what.  What to do about the broken screen on the special toy from Santa, no less, which keeps mom and dad sane on long road trips provides engaging and educational activities for child?

The thing is, it was an accident.  As evidenced by the complete bewilderment on both their faces when they presented the device to me.

Uh oh, Mom.  It has lines in it!? 

I’m pretty sure they don’t even know when it happened.

But I do.

It happened when they, when he, broke the rule.  (Refer to Fort Rule #1 above.)  And while, yes, he is only 3, he knows this rule.  We’ve talked about this rule.  A lot.  We talked about it in the beginning.  On the first offense.  On the second offense.  And on the third offense when he landed with a thud and some some crocodile tears.

Silly me for thinking the talking and the time outs and the crocodile tears were enough.

No, it happened when he thought, once again, it would be more fun to be on the fort than in the fort.

Too bad the screen was still obeying the rule.  Look again.  Can you see where it is?  That’s right.  In the fort.



So then, again, with the talking and the, “This is why we have rules because mommies and daddies don’t want kids to get hurt or for favorite things and special toys from Santa to break.”

Yes Mommy.  But Mommy, maybe Santa can bring a new one that isn’t broken?  

And there were tears welling in his eyes.  Genuine my-heart-is-breaking-now-as-I’m-realizing-what-I-did tears.

I don’t know, Honey.  Santa doesn’t come again for a very long time.  Your toy is broken now and we can’t play with it anymore.

Truth be told, I struggled not to cry with him as I watched his world crumble.  For me, it was not about the toy.  It was about his heart. About frustration at myself for not doing a better job about the rules.  For being just around the corner and not seeing.  About tough lessons.


There is another twist to the story.  I asked Google what to do. There is a way to “make it better.” (Thanks to an extremely kid-friendly company with amazing customer service.) Santa can bring a new one that isn’t broken.

But, what to do as parents?  How do we navigate this accident?  How do we {all} learn so there isn’t a next time?

{Of course there will be a next time.}

So there isn’t as many next times?

How to both hold his heart and guide his actions.  On what page of the Parenting Handbook do I find this answer?


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