Lazy Nights Of Summer or Too Much Time On My Hands

July 16, 2009

It would seem that I have not provided my children with enough activities this summer, or that summer vacation is just too long.

My daughter talked me into buying her a hermit crab and my son has resorted to juvenile delinquency.

Last weekend I took my daughter to the lake for the weekend. We invited my neighbor and her daughter up and had a nice time hanging around doing little more than swimming and eating. I left my son back in the cities since he had plans and was spending the night at a friends house. We were only gone for one night.

When I returned home I had a message on my house phone as well as one on my cell phone. Because the cabin is in the middle of nowhere and I have AT&T I never actually receive calls on the cell phone, I just get the voice mails hours later. Because of this I don’t check my phone all that much.

To my surprise the voice mails both said the same thing which was that my son, the kid who never leaves the house, had been picked up the night before by the police for being out past curfew and for causing property damage. I was given a number to call. I called the number as soon as I got the message which was about 14 hours after it was left. I got a recording telling me the office was closed and to call back Monday morning. There were no messages telling me where my son was. I called his cell phone and got voice mail, I called both of his friends who he was with and also got voice mail. After calling each of them at least three times and leaving more desperate messages I sent my daughter over to the neighbor’s house and went to the friends house he had spent the night at.

The boys mother answered and filled me in on what had happened and then three very sheepish looking boys appeared to tell me what had happened.

Now I have to do a little back story. I’ve posted a couple of times about the evil child that lives down the block. I might not have used that word exactly but trust me she is. She makes my daughter cry just about every day. Why my daughter still wants to play with her I don’t understand except there are only two girls on the block to play with and she isn’t all that choosy. This evil child does not like her, I don’t know why and neither does anyone else, at least my other two neighbors who all think they are crazy and stay away from this family. My son had tried to convince his sister that she doesn’t need this little girl to play with, that since she doesn’t want to play with her she should just accept it and move on. Easy for him to say since he is able to make friends with kids who live farther away. The daughter isn’t driving yet and is sadly stuck with the kids in the neighborhood. The day before we left to the lake the evil child was outside taunting my daughter, daughter cried and son got fed up apparently.

So my son is out with his friends, going to Taco Bell for a late night snack. While eating fast food they decided to cause a little mischief. They drive by this family’s house and throw six eggs at it. This was at midnight or so. They drove off and were headed back home when one of the kids, not my son, reached out the window and grabbed a garbage can and hung onto while the car was going. The people who had just had their house egged called the police who must have been in the neighborhood, and so while they were carrying this garbage can down the street the cops flashed their lights to pull them over. If this had been back when I was a teenager the cops would have stopped us, confiscated any booze we had in the car, and then told us to go home. Today it’s a little different and since most kids, at least the kids like my son and his friends who never leave the computer and actually go outside, don’t do the stupid things we did when I was a kid, teens are either in a gang or not out, the cops take any bit of mischief very seriously. It also doesn’t help when the kid who is driving panics and refuses to stop.

What could have been just a story about boys being boys turned into a very serious possible felony for the kid who was driving and didn’t stop for a block. Eventually he did stop and no one was hurt but during the “chase” the cops called in reinforcements. Eight squad cars pulled up and cuffed the kids and brought them down to the station. All kids sang like canaries and fessed up to the egg throwing with little encouragement from the police. These are not bad kids. In fact they are so bad at being bad that the kid on the block who really is a trouble maker thinks they are wusses…still. This little incident did nothing to elevate their cool factor or street cred.

So the boys are headed over to apologize to the crazy family who treats my daughter horribly. They are to apologize, to act as humble as possible, and to make any restitution necessary. They caused no damage, nothing was broken, hopefully this will cost nothing more than some embarrassment.

I’ve tried to come up with a punishment for my son, as have the other mothers. One of the mothers was just so tickled that it wasn’t her other son that she gave her son, who is one of the nicest kids in the world, a pass. The other mother has her son doing some yard work. All I can come up with is to make my kid clean his room, which is not an easy task, keep it that way, and then to refrain from doing anything like this again. He lost the use of his computer for a week as well. And even that seems harsh. The police are not charging them with anything, they got off with a warning and I think the scare they got with the police was punishment enough, along with making restitution with the neighbor and cleaning up any mess they made. I can’t ground him because he doesn’t go out and even though what he did was wrong his heart was in the right place and I have a hard time punishing him for caring about his sister.

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  • Reply Lola July 16, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    You almost want to take him out for ice cream, don't you?

    That's a tough one. I think I'd focus on how he felt being handcuffed and how a life of crime doesn't pay. (All the while, trying not to snicker.) I think taking the computer and the car keys away for a week or 2 is probably sufficient.

    Way to go kiddo!

  • Reply BONNIE K July 16, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    I'd be inclined to say that being scared by the police was punishment enough. His motives were good.

  • Reply Chris Casey July 17, 2009 at 4:47 am

    Okay, I would take the son out and give him a good talk, then tell him he was a good egg for defending his sister. Great idea, bad execution. Next time call the cops on the crazy people. let them sweat awhile. You know they are going to give you cause eventually.
    He got a good scare, and that should be all it takes.

  • Reply Jen July 17, 2009 at 7:26 am

    Lola, I can't take the car keys away because he refuses to drive due to his accident back in march. He was given a deferral on that one for 6 months meaning the accident would be wiped off his record if he gets in no more moving violations so he is afraid to drive until the 6 months are up which is in Dec. But yes it was difficult not to laugh.

    Bonnie, that was my take on the whole thing but still there needs to be punishment on my end so he doesn't think that even if his intentions are good but the behavior is bad he can get away with it. He should have thought about the outcome before he did something stupid even if his heart was in the right place. I'm proud of him for wanting to take care of his little sister but his method lacked a little forethought.

    Chris, I agree except the crazy people are just that and you never know how they are going to react. I've had no cause to call the police but then I am one of those people who think police have better things to do than go after a bunch of kids throwing eggs. I've called the police once in my life and that was when I was being threatened with bodily harm. In the crazy people's defense however, they have been targeted by kids because of the children many times so I suppose they are tired of it and want to put a stop to it. I don't think they see why it is happening to them. Not that it makes it okay or justifiable but they are the only ones on the block this sort of thing happens to.

  • Reply GDad July 17, 2009 at 7:47 am

    Jen: [Yelling] …and I don't want you to THINK about coming out of that room until you find the Amulet of Yendor on level 30! And if you think I'm going to fry up some liver and turnips, you've got another think coming, young man! And brush your hair!

  • Reply Jen July 17, 2009 at 8:33 am

    GDad, that's about it but I suspect he has already found the amulet.

  • Reply Pricilla July 17, 2009 at 10:26 am

    You would think the family would know their daughter was evil but of course they think she is an angel and can do no wrong. Just wait – that pot is going to boil over and you will have the karmic satisfaction.

    He knows he did wrong. The having to apologize is going to be excrutiating.

  • Reply Jen July 17, 2009 at 10:58 am

    Pricilla, I was sick to my stomach just thinking about how much it sucks to have to go apologize, I did a few times when I was a kid. He said it went well actually. The mom, who is the source of the evil, was actually nice to the kids. She told them not to do it again and that they were just being kids. Of course she never asked why….

    And yes I know that pot will boil over. The movie Mean Girls comes to mind along with Heathers. It will all work out.

  • Reply ReformingGeek July 17, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    I am no expert but if this is not a habitual problem for your son, the week of no computer time sounds like enough for me.

    It's too bad about the mean girl. What goes around will come around.

  • Reply Split Rock Ranch July 17, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    I have to agree that Karma will catch up with "Evil Girl". Since when did egging houses become such a huge deal?! I know some friends back when we were kids who would have spent some serious time in handcuffs had they been that strict way back when! Then there was the TPing, the metal trash cans one on each side the road, tied together with fishing line, waiting for some poor unsuspecting motorist to trigger the trap… oh, the good old days… I'm sure your son has had punishment enough and will remember this one for a long time. Kudos to him for wanting to go to bat for his little sister!

  • Reply Bill July 18, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    Thumb screws.
    Can you even find a pair these days?

  • Reply The Mother July 19, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    I'd say this calls for draconian punishment. Surely there is some yard work (especially in the heat) that you can pass his way?

    His ass would be mine. For at least a week.

  • Reply Jen July 20, 2009 at 8:42 am

    Geek, I agree it will come around for this child.

    Split Rock, I did my share of egging houses and tping them as well. I've never heard of the garbage can and fishing line trick, that's a good one.

    I don't know about thumb screws but my daughter found a chinese finger puzzle the other day and had a hard time getting out of it, that might work?

    Mother, it's been really cold here but I had him cut down trees, grind up the roots, haul it away, along with other various yard work. He has been happily doing the work which is not like him so he gets the punishment thing.

    On a side note or in addition to the post I received a letter this weekend telling me that the county has decided these boys need to be taught a lesson and must take a class with other juvenile delinquents, do community service and some other task all of which I must participate in as well. I don't have to do the community service but I'm going to have to shuttle his butt around to get there. Once these things are completed the incident will be wiped off his record, somehow I really doubt that is the case but the man has spoken.

  • Reply La'Tonya Richardson July 20, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Being handcuffed and all should scare them pretty good. That will be something they won't ever want to experience again. And they'll tell that story for a long time to come. Something like scared straight.

  • Reply Leanne July 20, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    Yep, this is a tough one, the kid was trying to do the right thing, and did it uh, wrong. How does one punish that? I think you're bang on.

  • Reply Stacie's Madness July 22, 2009 at 10:46 am

    finally your blog is loading for me…ok, now I must go read….

  • Reply Stacie's Madness July 22, 2009 at 10:52 am

    wow. I would guess that your punishments are suffice enough…

  • Reply Vera July 23, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    What a night for those boys! Too bad though that the police catch good kids doing this one bad thing. I'm sure the punishment you gave your son is already enough to teach him the lessons he probably picked up already even while they were being chased by the squad cars.

  • Reply dana July 24, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    OR: let him go to jail so that he can learn from the professionals how to take up for his sister without getting caught….oh wait…he'd be learning from the guys who GOT caught….okay, bad idea.

  • Reply Jen July 25, 2009 at 9:15 am

    He's getting ten hours of community service. He hasn't and won't be charged with anything and there will be nothing on his permanent record (yeah,right) but he has learned a valuable lesson. That being don't do stupid things and then spill your guts when caught. He also has to take part in an evaluation to see if he is "at risk". One of the other kids already did this part and was found to be slightly at risk because his father died several years ago. The kids a really nice, well adjust kid with an incredible mom, hardly at risk. Just wait til they learn my kid has gone through not one but two divorces…I'm already pissed off and ready to make a stink.

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