Teacher: "Mrs. Peeler, please come into the classroom. Grady has something he wants to show you."
Me: "Oh, okay. What did you do Buddy? Did you make something special?" (My tone is excited and curious.)
Teacher: "He made something alright." (Her tone is not excited and not happy.)
Grady Lee: "I colored on the table, Mom!" (His tone is excited and proud.)
Me: (After my jaw hit the table - there was black crayon all over it - I calmly knelt down and said in an oh-so-firm-but-trying-to-be-calm-because-the-teacher-was-right-there-voice) "Grady, who's house are we in?"
Grady Lee: "Jesus' house!" (Again, very excited tone.)
Mom: "If we're in Jesus' house, then who does this table belong to?"
Grady Lee: "Jesus!" (Still very excited.)
Mom: "Is it ever obedient to color on the table?"
Grady Lee: "No." (Tone lessening in excitement.)
Mom: "What does Jesus tell Mommy to do when you disobey?"
Grady Lee: "Sspppaannnkkkkk mmeee!" (Tone has lost all excitement. The child is now sobbing.)
Sigh. Off I go to find cleaner to scrub the table. I return several minutes later and get on my knees to give the table all the elbow grease I have to get the crayon off. Grady Lee is sobbing, because he knows what's coming when he gets home, and is half-heartedly flinging a wet paper towel on the table. When the table was spic-and-span we got up to go.
Teacher: "Grady I'm so proud of you for helping to clean the table. Thank you for obeying your Mom and wiping it down!" (Cheerful tone.)
Grady Lee: "I obey Mom. I don't get a spanking anymore, right?" (Cheerful tone - big smile - still has crocodile tears on his cheeks.)
Mom: "Thank you for helping clean up your mess." (Ignoring the spanking question - I just wanted to leave!)
Grady Lee: (Because he's all too familiar with consequences for disobedience and knows what's still coming.) "Why you not answer me Mom? I obeyed and cleaned... I don't want a spanking!"
And the "I don't want a spanking!" scream continued out of the classroom, down the hallway, out to the parking lot, and into the van. (Um, since Grady is now a deacon does this disqualify him from serving? I think one of the deacon qualifications says something about managing your family and ensuring they live in peace and submission...)
Every third Sunday we eat lunch out with our college group. I prayed the whole way over that Grady Lee would cooperate and not make lunch out a miserable experience.
I can happily say: prayer works! We had a fun lunch with the group, and the boys were entertained by super-patient girls who enjoyed playing play-doh with them while we waited for food.
The boys didn't enjoy Chinese food, but thought chopsticks were the coolest and were also pretty excited to get a cookie that had a "secret messege" inside. In fact, Micah has his message safe in his pocket and Grady is napping with his chopsticks.
(Between you and mean, today hasn't felt like a day of rest yet!)