This past weekend was one filled with more drama than I care to normally be a part of. There were tears, tantrums, sibling rivalries and several teachable moments where absolutely nothing was learned. In other words, it was a fairly typical weekend.
It was a theft that had ignited the fires this time around. The six year old completely irate because she had become convinced that her older sister had stolen the new nail polish gift pack that had been a present from my mother this past Christmas. The alleged perpetrator wasn’t home to defend herself, her return not guaranteed anytime soon, so without any real inclination to investigate further I simply assumed that the gift pack had been misplaced and informed her that she was going to have to get over it until such a time as the polish resurfaced. Case closed.
Alaina found this to be a completely unsatisfactory resolution. She had been wronged and she demanded restitution. She demanded justice.
To a child the solution was simple: she would simply steal things from Kayla’s room until such time as she decided that they were even.
Naturally this wasn’t allowed, two wrongs not making a right and all that nonsense that we are supposed to be teaching them.
She stole some deodorant and was given a talk. She stole the Twilight book series and was given a lecture. She stole a candle and was given a warning. When she tried to hide her sister’s guitar behind her bed I took a picture, for evidence naturally, and gave myself a timeout while I laughed at the absurdity of the situation and marveled at her stubbornness in the face of an increasingly aggravated daddy.
Eventually I did what I should have done right from the beginning. I walked into the teen’s room, looked around for approximately three seconds and found the nail polish. I neither know nor care how it found itself there to begin with but will give Alaina credit for at least appearing sheepish when asked why she didn’t just take that on one of her multiple raiding missions.
I wish I could say there was at least some sort of lesson learned here. Not to jump to assumptions about the guilt of another, the lack of satisfaction found in revenge, the real life societal costs of the vigilantism celebrated in today’s comic book cultural takeover.
Instead we just got pretty purple nails.