I am always trying to be creative in ways to deal with tattling. It happens in this house every day. So a few weeks ago, I was reading a magazine and a mom had wrote in how she handled it. She required that the child bring a written paper explaining what happened. Then she would address the problem. I liked her idea, so I implemented it immediately. I called all the children and explained that from now on, if they felt that something needed to be brought to my attention, the older ones would need to write it all down and the younger ones would have to draw a picture and explain it to me.
So for about two weeks, not a one of them has felt it was worth their time to write or draw anything. When they would come running to me, I would just look at them and say “Go write/draw it for me”. And they would leave and never return. Now of course this does not apply to anything that is an emergency or needs my immediate attention. Like Gabe cutting up one of his good shirts. Or Josh burning matches in the bathroom and then putting them out under the water. But we went over this when I explained the new house rule to them.
So yesterday, I was folding laundry and Maryann came screaming and crying hysterically. I reminded her that she needed to draw Mommy a picture. (She is always very dramatic in whatever the situation. Not sure where she got that from. ) She turned and ran away. A few minutes later, Laura came and asked why Maryann had locked herself in Eric’s office. I made a mental note to check on her as soon as I finished folding the laundry.
But I never had to. Soon she came back to the laundry room with a piece of paper with a drawing on it. And with the biggest tears and saddest voice she said…
“This (pointing to the big round shape with jagged teeth and big eyes on top) is Michael. This (pointing to the oval shape with eyes and mouth on the bottom) is me. This is Michael jumping on me. This is me very sad that Michael is jumping on me.”
I try to act mature and grown up at times like this. Because I am the Mommy and she is my little girl. But no matter how hard I tried not to laugh, I just couldn’t help myself. I’m not sure even why. Maybe it was the silly drawing, that was so clearly portrayed. Those scary looking teeth and bugged out eyes. Maybe it was her utter despair and my lack of sleep for the last 15 months. Whatever the combination was, I laughed. Not at her really, but just the whole situation. Here was my 4 year old girl with this fabulous Veggie Tale drawing of how her big brother had pounced on her. The first of my children to feel the need to tattle so bad that she had spent time to draw it all out for me to see.
I sat her on my lap. We went over the picture a few times. Talked about everything that had happened. I asked about the scary teeth and crazy big eyes. She started laughing a little. Then I called Michael in. Who immediately wanted to know what was on the paper I was looking at. So I explained it to him. Pointed out him in the drawing. And then pointed out Maryann. My mouth was twitching the whole time and Michael and Maryann were soon laughing with me. Michael apologized to Maryann for jumping on her and Maryann assured him it was all ok and that she forgave him. She asked him not to do it anymore and Michael agreed.
And then they were off to play again. I took the picture Maryann drew and after taking a picture of it, I tucked it away. I want to keep it to show her someday when she has children. And we can laugh again at it together.