Thursday, January 17, 2008

The life of a ten year old.

I am not a live-in nanny, but occasionally I have overnight stays, and this week I am doing one of those Wednesday - Saturday, and only a day and half in I'm ready to convert to "mean Christin," as I like to call myself. I try to be the fun nanny, but I don't let the kids get away with anything. Sometimes I think I'm stricter than some of the parents. Maybe it's the way I was raised, or maybe I'm just embarrassed by the way kids act these days.
One of the children I take care of has been complaining of a stomach ache all week, and has only been to school for two hours this week. We were hoping that today she would go back, but that didn't happen. Want to know why? Because she has two bad habits - one of those being sneaking junk food/snacks. Her other bad habit is lying. Full out, to your face, get mad if you don't believe her, lying.
I discovered yesterday that she had been sneaking food while she was sick, even though all week when she'd ask for something to eat, her mother and I both would tell her she could only have the plainest things. Yesterday I found a package of M&Ms "hiding" in the basket on the stairs. I took them and hid them somewhere I thought was safe. Then later I find an empty package of gummy snacks in the pantry. So, I'm a total softy and of course I don't want to send a kid to school if they are really sick, but this made me think that she was trying to stay sick! What am I supposed to do? Well this morning she's crying 'cause she's in pain but knows that she really should go to school, so I was completely honest with her. I told her that I knew she'd been sneaking food and that if I let her stay home today there would be absolutely NO FOOD SNEAKING! We would stick to toast, crackers, broth, and ginger ale. She agreed to this and I kept a good eye on her, or so I thought.
After doing so well all day, not sneaking food and sticking to what I told her she could eat, what do I find this evening, but the torn corner of the M&Ms bag (that I had hidden) and a missing M&Ms bag. So of course I confront her and she gets all mad and defensive and says, "It wasn't me! I don't care if you don't believe me, it wasn't me!!" I know, in my gut (you don't have to be a mom to have mother's intuition), that she ate them. She'd been holed up in the room I'd hidden them in for hours and no one else was in there alone. But I ask the older sister, who knows nothing, of course, and I know that if her 3 year old brother had opened that bag they'd be all over the floor. What can I do though? I have no proof and I'm not in the mood to get into a screaming match and have her stomp all over the house and wake up her brother, who I just put to bed. So I left it alone. Sure enough not 30 mins. later she comes, apologizes and confesses to the entire thing. Never underestimate the power of the intuition, y'all!!
She's going to school tomorrow, no ifs, ands, or buts about it, and I told her I didn't want to hear anymore about a stomach ache, 'cause if she's well enough to eat a bag of M&Ms she well, period. There are to be no calls from the nurse tomorrow asking for her to be picked up, because I will tell them that she has to stay. I hate being so suspicious of someone. Yes, she knows the story of the boy who cried wolf, but I don't think she really gets it. Her mom has tried to nip it in the butt so many times, but I really just think it's something she'll have to grow out of, and let's pray that she does grow out of it.