You Take the Bad with the Good

So today was interesting. The kids wanted to be on the computer, so at some point I thought, “You know what – I’ll go watch the rest of ‘Little Dorrit’ and let them play for a bit.” I set them up, turned on the timer (they each take 20 minute turns) and went to go watch a little “Masterpiece Classic.”

It went fine for about an hour. At some point CootieGirl came in to hang with me for a second (I think she liked the costumes from the Charles Dickens tv serial), while CootieBoy finished his latest turn on the computer. Then CB came in the room. “Mommy, there’s something under the computer.”

“What?”

“Can you come look – something happened.”

I got up, went into the office, and to my horror saw half the CD tray neatly snapped apart, but still connected to the computer.

It’s a brand new computer.

I moaned, “No no no no no no no,” and laid on the floor in front of the CPU. Which caused the boy to immediately burst into tears, knowing that I was not happy.

“I’m sorry!” he wailed. “I’m sorry!”

I got up, specifically not sounding angry, and said, “I know. I know it was an accident and that you didn’t do it on purpose. And I’m VERY glad you told me as soon as it happened. But I need you to go to your room right now, okay?”

“Okay,” he sniffed, all but running to the stairs.

On one hand, I’m ticked that he broke something on our BRAND NEW COMPUTER, on the other hand, I want to commend him for telling me right away rather than 1) not telling me and letting me discover it later or 2) trying to hide it.

I grabbed a music cd and gently placed it in the tray and with a quick prayer pressed the button to cause the tray to go back into the computer. Then pressed the button again – phew, the tray will still go in and out even with a CD in it. I then pushed the button again and watch the tray go back into the CPU, then powered up Windows Media Player. Sure enough, the CD was read and music quickly began playing through the speakers. So while the tray is broken, it still enables the CD player to function (which is a blessing considering I’m about to start a freelance job that involves 32 PHYSICAL CDs that are currently in the mail on their way to my house).

I called to CB and told him the good and the bad. I explained that he needed to be more careful, but all was not lost – the CD player still worked. I praised him for telling me right away and that he should ALWAYS tell me right away when something bad happens – because this means he’s telling the truth and he will NEVER be punished for telling me the truth, whereas if he had lied he’d be in even bigger trouble.

When Denis got home, I told him what had happened and his reaction was a lot less angry than I expected. In fact, when I told CB that his punishment was no computers/video games for two weeks, Denis said, “Isn’t that a little harsh for something that was an accident?” What was also funny is that CB gladly accepted that punishment. I think he was so relieved that Daddy didn’t yell at him, that 2 weeks with no computer or video games seems more like a gift than a punishment.

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2 comments

  1. I figured it was just an accident. I don’t think there was malicious intent there. Accidents happen. If he does it over and over again, I’d be angry. Not that I want him spending hours on the computer, but I’d rather have him learning something (math/reading) playing a computer game than watching TV endlessly throughout the day. Actually, I’d prefer if he spent a lot of time in his reading book and other books learning to read and count. Is that possible now that he won’t be spending those hours on the computer the next two weeks?

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