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Ah yes - the lesson teaching! A difficult but necessary aspect of being a MOM!!


"It's lonely work trying to raise a Jimmy Carter instead of a Richard Nixon."

Love it!


Once when I was about six or so, I was at a friend's house and broke her baby sister's rattle. Not on purpose, but I should have been more careful. (We were dancing where we shouldn't have been, and I stepped on it.)

My mom made me buy her a new one out of my allowance, and then take it to my friend's mom and apologize. I remember crying and begging her not to make me, and then her hand gently pressing on my back as I did it.

Even 34 years later, I still remember. And I'm a lot more careful around other people's stuff! :)


Oh and now I just listened to the mp3. They are lovely. Let us know if you get through on the phone to get the album, ok?


Is it wrong that I can't wait for my kids to take something so I can do the same thing? I love teaching them that choices have consequences!


Oh, Moxie. I just love you and your little peanut farmer!

Lisa C.

Conventional wisdom around here is that you don't take stolen items back to stores, because instead of teaching your child a Very Important Life Lesson, they will charge the parent with shoplifting and call the police. Honestly, I'm not willing to risk it. Your non-taker-back fellow parents may have heard the same thing....

Rachel 99

Oh! I have seen them too, in NYC, awhile ago. I can't remember when or where, but they were awesome!


Oh, now I remember. It was by Union Square.


Sorry Moxie, I have to disagree with you on this one. First of all, I think he's too young to understand the concept of stealing. I used to have preschoolers "steal" toys from my classroom all the time. Secondly, wouldn't you rather he view the police in a positive light, rather than mean men who lock up little children?

I agree with actions need consequences, but natural consequences (the shame of having to return to the store and give back a book he covets) are more important than those we as adults can create.

Just food for thought.


Good points Anonymous (if that's your real name), but I see a huge difference between taking something frlom a friend's house or school classroom or even the library, and taking something from a store. El Chico and I have had enough discussions about buying things at the bookstore and how you can't buy things when you don't have neough money, etc. that I know he knows he wasn't supposed to take it.

I hope he doesn't see the police as people who haul away little boys. We have several real-life police encounters per week (we live by and sometimes eat at a local cop hangout) and he definitely knows that they're real, kind people.

Now that I've read Lisa C's comment (which, whoa, that's just scary, and I thought NYC was tough), though, it seems completely within the realm of possibility that we could have been held in the store office and the police could have been called.

I don't know if I did the right thing. I'm hoping he doesn't take anything from a store again, although the result of that doesn't tell me whether it was the right thing to do or not, obviously.


i think you did the right thing, moxie, and i think that it would really depend upon 1) the age of the child and 2) the manager on duty as to whether the cops were called here in texas (where lisa c. hails from, as well).

i have heard the same thing she's heard, but i've never actually heard of it happening to someone i know. so, whether it's texan urban legend, or if it's regularly practiced, i do think that there is some wiggle room in that policy depending upon the situation and location. stores don't -have- to enforce shoplifting laws, and the payout in loss prevention manpower, management manpower, and police manpower is going to be MUCH greater than the value of one child's book, contritely returned. simply put, it's not worth the store's hassle, re the bottom line, to call the cops on you and el chico.

next time--if there is an unfortunate next time--maybe you should call first and scope their policy. from a payphone (not that i could ever find a payphone in NYC on my last visit there, but maybe they're just off the beaten paths).

Lisa V

I commented on the last post that Sunshine stole lipstick, we returned it, and the clerk said no big whoop.

Like you said "It's lonely work trying to raise Jimmy Carter instead of Richard Nixon." Put i on a t-shirt or mug Moxie and I am buying.


I am so behind you on this one, Moxie. Kids need to learn that you cannot take things that don't belong to you - whether it is from a store, a friends house, or your brother. People can always find excuses why not to do the right thing. That's what Richard Nixon's belief was. Jimmy Carter obviously thought that even if the right thing has a high price, it is still worth it. Good luck raising another Jimmy. Your are on the right track.


I am commenting again just to say I second Lisa V-- if you put that on a mug, I would probably buy it and I don't even have kids (yet).



The minute I hit the "post" button, I began to feel guilty for my last post.

I'm a parent, and one of my first rules of parenthood is "don't try to tell other parents how to do it."

It's been bugging me ever since, which is why I'm apologizing!

I may have handled it differently. I may not have. My children have yet to take something from a store (though I've no doubt they will at some point) so I don't know. But that is not the point.

My hugest apologizes for being an ass. It won't happen again (well, it probably will, but I'll always apologize for it!)


OMG! Nixon vs. Carter... that's my new parenting strategy! Is there a feminine equivalent?


He can be very much like Jimmy Carter, whom I seem to remember as having lust in his heart?
: )

Rachel 99

This is unrelated to this post, but,
Any thoughts on the latest installment (in today's NYT "Style" section--grrr) in the trivializing non-dialogue in the mainstream media on women, children and work?


I'm a Chicago-an and I have no idea what "Hypnotic" means, unless you're trying to quit smoking (which is a new development in Chicago).


Anonymous, don't feel bad. You can always say you don't think I did the right thing. Who knows if they've ever done the right thing, really, and it definitely gave me something to think about.

Rachel99, I haven't read it yet, but I will.


I was only ever an accomplice and my last bout of petty crime occurred when I was five or so. Because my mom totally would have marched me back into the store, and I'm pretty sure I'd do the same thing with my daughter. Hopefully she'll let her petty thievery go no farther than the pilfering from my handbag that's already begun.

Why has no one picked up on the fact that it was a DORA book he absconded with? That's the part I find utterly fascinating.


The DORA book - fascinating or horrifying? I just don't get my 3-y.o. boy's enchantment with Dora. Obviously, she's stolen (pardon the pun) the heart of Moxie's Chico, too, but I just don't get it.

FWIW - I would have taken my little guy back to the store with the book, too. I still remember my mother marching my brother back to the store to return stolen chewing gum when he was about 4. It certainly made an impression on 6 year old me.

Carol Park

What you're doing for your son, Moxie, is earning invisible currency. This kind of attention to your son's development has high rates of return. My two teenage daughters are now routinely offered jobs, and praised by teachers and other authority figures. I think that their competence, integrity and maturity that shine brightly now are largely due to being recipients of such life lessons from both parents, along with strong doses of kindness, humility and laughter. Good work! Remember that on the tantrum days.

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