My son was so incredibly well behaved on the weekend and the last few days of last week that we bought him a model aeroplane on Sunday to build and fly. It is just one of those little foam and craft wood ones that you attach a rubber band and wind the propeller and it glides. They are cheap but provide hours of entertainment.
This afternoon, my son was happily tossing it around in the yard, mostly from the lofty position on top of our wall. This meant that I had to keep the giant white puppy inside because he is rather inclined to try and chase and catch things which fly around ‘his’ garden!
Eventually my son tired of being out there on his own and asked me to please play with Moppett outside while he flew his plane. This has worked for us on other days, where I entertain the giant puppy and my son does what he wants to do without being under attack. The plane had already suffered some minor injuries over the past couple of days due to crashing nose first into trees, fences and the ground, so it was fairly well taped up at this stage, and not flying particularly straight.
So, my son wound it up, and launched it from the wall. Meanwhile I was throwing a tug toy for the dog to retrieve to keep him entertained. Unfortunately disaster struck. The plane caught a tail wind and was propelled forward to land right in front of the giant puppy while he was on his way at full pelt to get his tug toy. Oh dear.
The puppy thought it was for him, and so grabbed it up immediately. The boy thought this was the worst air disaster in a century and commenced chasing the puppy screaming, “Moppett! NO! You will kill the plane! Give it back! Come here!” The puppy in turn thought this was the signal to start a chasing game and took off rather excitedly. Naturally it turned into a full speed chase around the garden which could really only end in disaster! I finally managed to convince my son to calm down enough so that I could distract the puppy with something else and let my son get his plane back.
Oh dear again… The plane had suffered numerous punctures, and a rather bent back wing thingy. Almost in tears, my son marched into the house and demanded that I try to fix it. I explained that the tape we were using would be too heavy and the plane wouldn’t fly. He refused to accept this and started work immediately to fix it himself.
10 minutes and a full roll of sticky tape later, my son ventured back into the garden with a plane which looked more like an Egyptian mummy than anything else. I winced as I knew how well this was going to turn out. He gave it a few goes and then appeared at the back door again.
“Mummy! Look at this!” He tossed the plane so I could see how it kind of went ‘flump’ rather than glide. “YOUR dog has completely ruined the aerodynamics and it won’t fly at all! You should send him back to the family he came from because he is just too naughty! Now I will never be able to fly my plane ever again! I tried to fix it, but the fuselage is just too bent and the wings just had too many holes!”
He then proceeded to whack the dog on the head as he had come over to see what all the noise was about. I took a deep breath and started with,
“I know you are really disappointed about your plane. You are also feeling really angry with Moppett. I do understand that. However. It is not ok to ever hit animals and you need to give me the plane and go straight to your bedroom and sit on your bed.”
He didn’t argue because he was just too angry and upset to even argue I suppose. Later, he came out and told me again how the dog was stupid and that he ruins everything and he deserved to get a smack because he ruined the plane.
I calmly sat down with him and asked,
“When you ruin stuff of mine, do I send you back?” Wrong question…. I really should have thought about that one a bit more first!
“No! You can’t! I would have to grow down into a baby and you would have to put me back in your vagina and back in your tummy because that’s where I came from! I don’t have another family that you got me from, so you can’t send me back!”
Trying to remain serious, I calmly continued.
“That’s true, but do I take you to the police station and hand you over and say, ‘sorry, this one is ruining things, and won’t listen to me, you can have him now because he just doesn’t suit my household”
This seemed to strike a chord as he actually turned and looked me in the eye for a moment and seemed to be processing how that would feel…. or maybe not…..
“Fine! Take me to the police station! I don’t care! I’d rather live there anyway because you are too mean!”
I got him to look at me again and said,
“I would never do that because I love you too much. You are here to stay and we will just keep working on things until we can teach you all the right ways of doing things. It’s the same with Moppett. He’s here to stay and we have to forgive him when he does things like that and try to teach him better for next time.”
Thankfully that seemed to work, and he went and apologised to Moppett before taking the dog’s head in hands and saying,
“Moppett. That was really naughty of you. If you bite holes in the wings of a plane, you will ruin the aerodynamics and I’ll be very mad at you.” Awwww. Moppett gave him a big lick and then a headbutt and the house regained its calmness.