from now on i'm going to let him choose his punishment, because an ice cream trap is way better than what we were going for.

Ocean was having a terrible time when he got home from school today.

Iris had stayed home from school with a raging fever and Phil was working so by the time Ocean got here I was losing my mind between Iris's demanding screams for more juice and Ruby's physical abuse of Iris, for which she shows absolutely no remorse I might add. (It's a new thing. It's disconcerting. I don't know.) So I didn't have much time to connect with Ocean like I usually do in the afternoon. As a result, he was- as my dear southern mother would say- fit to be tied.

When Phil finished working he tried playing soccer upstairs with Ocean but I could hear Ocean copping an attitude. I went up to chat with him and ended up taking his soccer ball for refusal to cooperate, and then subsequently sent him to his room for sassing me. Different versions of this scenario kept replaying over the next hour. I had had enough and went downstairs to deal with the Sicko and the Sociopath. Finally, Phil came downstairs, opened up the freezer and took out the carton of chocolate ice cream. He put two scoops into a small bowl, set the bowl on the table and called Ocean. "I'm going to try a different approach," Phil said. I raised my eyebrows.

Ocean came downstairs and Phil told him to sit at the table. He sat, then noticed the ice cream. "What's this for?" he asked with a smirk, raising an eyebrow.

Phil said, "Do you think you deserve this, Ocean?"

I was pretty sure I knew where Phil was going with this. We have been talking about God's generosity. How he gives and gives, and we often don't recognize it. That it's not by our efforts that we are given so much, but just because we are loved and part of the family. This is something that I want to communicate to our kids. Generosity- recognizing it, appreciating it and replicating it. For about three-and-a-half seconds, I thought this just might work.

Ocean pondered the question for just a moment before he began to speak, tentatively...

"I heard a story once. It was about a mouse. And there was some cheese in front of him. But then he realized it was a trap. A mouse trap."

Guess we nailed that one.


Anonymous said...


I can see him saying that!! So precious!

Lesli in NC

supertiff said...

that just killed me. i am posting this from beyond the grave.

Ellen Colberg said...

what a smarty. the things i have to look forward to :)

Becky said...

I too have died from the awesomeness.

But I was really with you there on the generosity. Before Ocean totally outflanked you guys, what was Phil's game plan? I might need this.

tim's wife said...

Nice touch. "Kill'em with kindness." Our pastor also reminds people that we receive God's grace despite being undeserved.
Only you could make an insanely difficult day, sound hysterical.
I'm going to try this one and ice cream is definitely the right currency around here.

Lorna said...

Do you think it might work with cantankerous older men? Probably not, I think I'll just eat the ice cream myself.

CancerKicker said...

I was so upset and didn't know what to do so I asked the guy upstairs for some discernment on what to do next. I think sensed that God views me like an angry, greedy child most of the time, but he still finds ways to bless me amongst my self-centeredness. So.... the most illogical thing I could do is offer up a the greatest treat in our fridge to Ocean. To demonstrate to him that God loves us even at the times when we are angry and make bad choices. His blessings are not withdrawn based on being "good" or "bad".

Amy said...

This is AMAZING. Seriously. You guys are dealing with a little genius over there. I like Phil's approach though! I need to be more grace-oriented at times like that.

Also, The Sicko and the Sociopath could be the next hit sitcom.