Creative and Bizarre Punishment

My 10-year old stayed home from school yesterday.  His asthma was acting up and I didn’t feel 100% confident that he wouldn’t have a severe asthma attack at school.  By the end of the day, I was seriously wishing I’d sent him to school.  My patience was at an end.

Late in the afternoon, I took him grocery shopping with me.  Yes, I know…sick kids should be at home; but he wasn’t sick so much as I needed to monitor his asthma.  It had been a long day and he was doing everything he could to aggravate me.  I’d had enough.

“Braden,” I told him.  “I’ve had enough.  When we get home, you to go straight into the house and go sit in the garbage.”

Garbage?  I didn’t recognize my error right away.  What I meant to say was to go sit in the bathroom, which is our standard time-out spot. (Note to parents:  When the kids REALLY misbehave, I send them to sit in the bathroom and then hand them cleaning supplies and they can’t come out until the bathroom sparkles.  When my daughter was about age 13 or 14, the bathroom got a daily thorough cleaning).  In any case, in my exhaustion from dealing with his behavior throughout the day, I mistakenly told Braden to go sit in the garbage instead of the bathroom.

Braden was clearly confused, but saw my directive as a sign that Mom was really mad this time.

“Okay,” he said sincerely.  “Which one?”

I’m even more irritated now.  “What do you mean which one?  The same one you always sit in.  The one on the main floor!”

“But there are about three on the main floor,” he responds.

Though I’m confused, I reflect back over what I’ve said and realize my error.  Now I’m giggling and can’t stop.  I’m not sure which is more bizarre; the fact that I said garbage, or the fact that he thought I was serious.  I’ve never had my kids sit in the garbage!  Ick!

Funniest part of the whole story?  Braden later revealed that his first though wasn’t, “Gross…I have to sit in the garbage!”  Rather it was, “Thank goodness Mom made me take the garbage out before we left and put a new bag in!”

I’m still not sure what this says about me as a parent…


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Published by C.H. Armstrong

C.H. (Cathie) Armstrong is 1992 graduate of the University of Oklahoma and is the author of THE EDGE OF NOWHERE (Penner, 2016), ROAM (Central Avenue, Feb. 5, 2019) and co-author of DÉJÀ YOU: STORIES OF SECOND CHANCES. She is represented by Tina P. Schwartz at The Purcell Agency, LLC.

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