I have these “rules”, or boundaries I’ve been trying to establish with my children about “natural consequences”. For example, a two-year-old repetitively throwing a sippy cup on the floor would have the natural consequence of said cup being left on the floor until the child is excused from the table and then they can pick up the cup. Lately, with a four-year-old and a seven-year-old these natural consequences obviously do not involve sippy cups.
Today, these natural consequences occurred at our local music store. We needed to exchange two piano books for my oldest son. And while one of the end tables serves decently well as a piano bench for years, it’s a “New Years” resolution of mine to be more organized. A piano bench with a lid for storage for all those piano books spilling all over the place, sounds Mmmmm organized! See, the New Years gives some of us with a tad bit of organization OCD an excuse, to well… organize! As I’m ordering this new piano bench with a lid and that is, of course, a mahogany color to coordinate with our living room decor and piano, my sons ask for a plastic kazoo. I say, “Absolutely, but lets save kazoo playing for the car and outside of the music store.” Here, I must mention the employees must be paid to be sticklers with children, because as a watchful parent, these music store employees are sharp toned towards children decending upon their merchandise. These employees make me nervous! I realize they have expensive equipment to protect, and its a mutual concern because I certainly do not want the “break you buy” policy being imposed upon my pocketbook.
I continue to checkout with a relatively novice employee putting through a special order. It takes a ridiculous amount of time. All three children in tow are amazingly well behaved. Even our baby. Who may have been more distracting, because she sang and made lots of babbling noises to several of the employees, who adored her. Yes, they love babies at that music store. I’m also guessing she was so loved because she cannot walk for roughly another six months. Or touch any of their pianos, drums, violins….
My oldest son had pulled the plastic part out the top protruding part of his kazoo. Which means the air will not vibrate through the “periscope” protruding part on the top of the instrument/toy. “Its not working,” my oldest son declares. And as if clockwork he proceeds to ask, “May I buy another one?” This is where I always TRY to stop, TRY to take a breath and think calmly, if even for only a brief moment. Then, I reply, “I notice there are plastic parts missing from the kazoo. Did you pull them out, or was the kazoo like this before you started playing with it?” He glumly states, “I pulled them out. And now it’s not working.” I explain to him that I’m sorry his toy does not work because those seemingly unimportant plastic pieces cause a vibration sound to be made as air is forced through the instrument. I continue to explain to him that pulling those pieces out is a “natural consequence” of the toy no longer working. There are no protests, my son quietly agrees that he should not have impulsively pulled the toy apart. He also knows that when we come back in seen to ten working days, once the piano bench box is delivered to the store, he will be with me. Then, I am certain he will then ask for another cheap plastic kazoo. And I will once again say, “Absolutely!” For now, he will remember that behaviors and actions have consequences, and even then he will know that behaviors and actions have consequences that will keep that kazoo working functionally.
The order was finalized. We got our receipt and work order. God bless that boy, Oscar! He was trying the best he could to get his computer to finalize the order as his boss stood next to him. We left, and retreated to the car so I could breastfeed my six month-old before we continued running errands. Yes, this is mundane, but exactly how it goes sometimes in the world of attempting to multi-task through motherhood. My youngest son tooting along on his kazoo happily in the backseat; he had left all parts of his kazoo in tact. My oldest son after a few minutes of talking to me about non-musical instrument related tops mentions, “Mom, fill in the blank. Curiosity killed the ….?” Where I in a witty voice immediately said,”the kazoo?” Darn. I should not have said that! HE LAUGHS! Thank goodness. He replys in an equally witty voice, “Today curiosity killed a kazoo. But usually Mom, the answer is curiosity killed the CAT!” We both smile and laugh, while being serenaded by the joyous sounds of a four-year-old playing his kazoo from the back of the vehicle.