When your kid steals gum from your purse

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She’s only 7 years old. She’s always been one to take and hide things. In a purse. Under the pillow. In the side of the couch. But today, she took it to another level.

After lunch, she asked for a piece of gum. Orange creme pop gum. Her favorite. I gave it to her.

Everything seemed fine until I started to smell faint mint. I called Jasmine over and it was apparent there was a large mass of something in her mouth. She’s a tiny thing. I asked her what was in her mouth.

She shrugged. Shot her eye contact to the window. And stood there, “Nuffing.”

I asked again, “Jasmine, what is in your mouth?”

She struggled to open up and muttered, “gum.”

That’s when I saw a mint green goo protruding from her mouth.

Oh Jasmine. Lying and stealing. I gave you a piece of gum already.

Her eyes welled up with tears because she knew she fouled up. I made her spit out the gum in the trash. She was not too pleased.

In my disappointment, I had to realize how much of a self-determined kid we are raising her to be. To get and do for yourself. To live vulnerably and own your story. To take risks and be brave. And that’s what she was doing.

I am a huge fan of Brene Brown’s research on shame, guilt, and vulnerability. She says this,

Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”

After Jasmine fessed up, spit out the gum, and took a much needed nap, she is happily playing (i.e., annoying, pestering, making her presence known, etc) with her siblings and being her silly, sassy self.  She assures me that next time she’ll just ask for the gum. Good plan, sweetie, good plan.

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