2008-07-21

You'll Shoot Your Eye Out!

I last posted only a few hours ago, and since then, things have gone crazy!
Over the weekend when TOny and his girlfriend Robyn took the kids for the day, they brought the kids home and they had gotten Brandon a BB gun. It was the kind with the soft plastic BB's. At first Diana was pissed because she figured Tony should have asked her first, and she didn't even want the gun being used around our house, with the two little kids there and everything. Eventually Brandon convinced her to let him keep the gun, but he was gonna have to follow really strict rules with it. Some of the rules were that he was never to shoot it at anyone or even pretend like he was going to, he wasn't allowed to shoot it at any of the surrounding houses or cars, etc.
So the second day that he owned it, Brandon was showing it to all the neighbor kids, and they all happened to have their own BB guns as well, with no rules around them because we live in the ghetto. So the other kids were walking around with their metal bullet BB guns in their pants like gangstas and everything. Somehow Brandon's BB gun got broke, and then the 8-year-old neighbor accidentally shot Brandon with his big brother's (real metal BB) gun.
So then, today, Brandon asked me if I would let him use his tokens* to get a new BB gun. I was like, "You'd better ask your mom about all that, because I'm not just gonna take you to get another BB gun after the whole ordeal the other day." So Brandon called up Diana and asked her, and she said, fine, get another BB gun. And we went to Wal-Mart and picked out another one.
Afterwards, the kids and I were all at home and the kids were climbing the walls. I took Hayden out to play in the back yard because she loves being out there on the slides. Brandon came out and asked me if he could go play across the street with the neighbor kids, and I said "Yes." Abby came out and asked me if she could take Clover for a walk, and I said "Yes."
After a while I brought Hayden inside to get a drink, and I look out the window and see all the boys playing in the street, and Abby standing in the street with them, with Clover's leash tied to one of her bicycle handle bars. I went outside to tell Abby to get out of the street, and to let the dog come inside if she was done playing with her. I turned to go back to the house, and look back and realize what all the boys were doing... they were having an actual gun fight and shooting each other with their BB guns!
I went back over there and hollered at Brandon, "Are you shooting at people with that gun?"
He's like, "Yes, but they're soft bullets, they don't hurt."
Disbelieving, I hollered, "I'm calling your mom right now! And you're doing this with Abby sitting right here?" It was just so twilight-zonish to me that he was actually breaking just about every single BB-gun-related rule in existence, just blatantly right in front of me! I grabbed Abby and brought her inside and called Diana, and she told me to take the gun away, and that was the end of that until she and Jimmy got home and ripped him about twenty new assholes, then TOny called up and ripped him about twenty more.

*I made up the token thing at the beginning of the summer for Abby. The idea is that the day is broken up into sections, and she earns stickers for following five rules during each thing that we do. The rules are: Keep yourself safe, keep others safe, keep our things safe, do good listening to grown-ups and use good manners. They're an adaptation of the ECE CARES rules. If Abby follows all the rules for a section of the day... like, Lunch, or Chores, or whatever... she gets a token. She can get seven tokens in a day, and can eventually trade the tokens for prizes. Like if we were out somewhere and she saw something she wanted, I'll get it for her if she has enough tokens. The system works really well with Abby because she doesn't freak out or get upset about losing tokens when she does. She actually points out to me when she should lose a token. I think it helps her to think before she acts, and also to break the day up so she has lots of chances to do good. When she has a perfect day and earns all of her stickers and tokens, we hang the sheet up on the refrigerator. ANd she still gets negative things, like time outs, if she breaks the rules, so its not like she says, "I have enough tokens for now, I'll just skip a few rules today."
It seems to be good for Abby, but when I first started it Brandon wanted to earn tokens to, so I made up a sticker sheet for him. But with him, I think it does exactly the opposite, and gives him the idea that he should be richly rewarded for every little thing he does. Even when he hasn't spent the day with me and the little kids, he wants tokens, and is constantly trying to say he has more than he already has. And, like, this morning, I had asked him to come with me and the kids to the mall, so that he could watch Abby in the play place for a few minutes while I took Hayden and went and grabbed Abby's birthday present. At first he said "Sure," and asked if we could stop at Wal-Mart so he could spend his tokens. Then in the car he started being a jerk to Abby and to me, saying he never should have come, etc, so much that I almost turned the car around and said, "Fine, then stay home," but that would have been like a reward for being mean. And once we actually got to the mall he was fine and being really nice, and he stayed in a pretty good mood right up until the BB gun incident. Its weird, its like he goes through mood swings, but I've kinda noticed that he has pleasant and happy moods as long as everything is going your way. In the car on the way there, all it took was Abby saying, "Yay, my brothers going to play with me!" to make Brandon get all angry and say that Abby was making fun of him or "rubbing it in his face." While we were at the mall he was happy because we were going to eat lunch in the food court and because he was going to be able to get a new BB gun. And as soon as he got in trouble and the BB gun got taken away, he was back to hating everything.
So I think I'm not even going to do the tokens with him anymore. There's no point to it. He spent the last of his tokens on that BB gun, and now its gone, and thats that.

Anyway, I'm at my mom's house now, and tomorrow is Abby's birthday party! I can't believe that little kid is turning FIVE YEARS OLD! Unbelievable, huh?

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