Wednesday, October 22, 2008

This is what punishment looks like in Melz World.

I came home Monday to a silent house.

As Jason walked through the kitchen, I said, "She got on 'red', didn't she?"

"How did you know?" he asked.

"Because the house is so quiet," I answered.

In an effort to encourage Anna Marie to follow the rules at school, we've told her that if she gets on "yellow" she loses computer for the afternoon, and for "red" it's the TV too.

So, on those days, the house is quiet - because Jason and I don't watch TV either. I know, it's kind of a punishment for us, too, but, whatever.

Anna Marie makes a HUGE mess on those days, because with no electronics to keep her occupied, her imagination goes into overdrive - usually involving lots of paper, and tape, and stuffed animals.

And sometimes, it spills outside to the sidewalk.

She did this while I was cooking dinner.

It's what she had to write, over and over, in her journal at school.

"I will stop talking in class."

And this little confession was out there as well - like her own version of Post Secret.

"I am on red Mom and Dad."

After dinner, when I was trying to clean the kitchen, she took her sidewalk chalk to the concrete block building in our backyard. She asked me to come help her color the parts she couldn't reach.

(How did she draw the outline, and then find herself unable to color in that outline? Beats me.)

Editor's note: the following photographs were taken by a seven-year-old. They are unretouched.

While I did the hard work, Anna Marie took a little "photo safari" around our backyard.

(That is Spiderman's mask, and a Pokemon ball, per Anna Marie.)

She also took a picture of me with the finished product:

And I returned the favor.

Yes, I busted up my hands (and a couple of fingernails) on that concrete. But we have been studying The Five Love Languages of Children in Sunday School, and Anna Marie and I took a "love language test" on Sunday. And I discovered that her main love language is "acts of service," which means that she feels most loved when someone is helping her do something (and feels most like she's showing love when she's helping someone with something.)

It makes perfect sense to me - I thought that she just never wanted to do anything alone, but really, she wanted to feel like she was helping, or someone was helping her. So now, I'm trying to be more understanding of behavior I had thought was a bit annoying.

Makes me wish we'd have taken that test a long, long time ago.


Rachel said...

That's Awesome!
I must say as a teacher I don't feel the writing sentences is effective. Kinda old school. Poor girl!
If her worst offense is talking she'll be just fine. I have a student that told her mom she "couldn't help it. Her mouth just keeps moving even when she tells it to stop!". :D

Amanda said...

Man. There's something brutal about seeing she's written that stuff on the sidewalk!

Melissa said...

Amanda, I about cried when I saw her out there, writing that stuff! It was just too, too sad.

Rachel, I wish you were her teacher! Her Prims teacher at church is also a first grade teacher, and she feels the same way. Talking is in her DNA, and I really can't fault her for a trait she gained from me.

(Besides - you both know how quiet Jason is. If God hadn't given me somebody like Anna Marie, I'd probably have no one to talk to at home!

superpaige said...

I need to take that test with my family. I think that is great that she gets all creative. Darling drawings.

wendster said...

Can I get a copy of that love test?

Maybe that explains MY children?

Becca LOVES to clean, but not when she's ASKED or TOLD ... especially not when she's told. But when she can surprise someone with her act of kindness, she'll clean like the dickens.

How to set that up so she'll do it more often is the question I am asking myself now.

That was a very enlightening post. Thank you!

wendster said...

btw ... I agree that writing shouldn't be a punishment. However, I don't have a problem with journaling when you've had an issue with someone. It helps you get your thoughts together before you talk to someone about the incident ... like your mom ... or the principal.

It's hard enough to get kids to love writing.

wendster said...

oh yes. And I think you look FABULOUS!


wendster said...

Hmmmm .... now I am just having a hard time stopping myself from commenting some more.

Even though I have nothing else to say.

I think I might have some of your DNA. LOL *talk talk talk_!*