After school though - Macey had invited her friend Janiel over after school. Her friend Jenna from across the street was here when Janiel arrived. I was visiting for a few minutes with Nicole, Janiel's mom when she dropped her off. Her other little girls got out of the car and we were all mingling together.
Next thing I know the older girls come bounding down the stairs all talking at once. "Mom, one of the hamsters is dead." My next words, "Really? Are you sure?" They all said at once, "Yes, yes, and the other one is eating it." YUK! Trying to be calm, "Ok, well, bring the cage down so we can figure it out and take care of it." So, they bring the cage down and yes, yuk! It was a little disturbing. Nicole and I tried to shoo the littlier girls away. I didn't really want them to see that. Dead it was. Ham the hamster was still alive but our Shadow was gone.
Quickly, I'm instructing all three bigger girls to do different things - never mind that its not their hamster. "Macey, where's the shoebox from your new tennis shoes from Christmas?" "Find a bucket in the garage so we can get the other hamster out of the cage so we can clean it." "Get one of the old towels out in the garage so we can clean and dry the cage." "Where's the leather glove?" (the remaining hamster nips when we have cleaned the cage so therefore the need for protective hand covering).
The girls were going to go bury it - Macey carrying the shoebox coffin, Janiel carrying the camera to take pictures of the burial and Jenna carrying the shovel.
|Jenna, Macey & Janiel|
|Shoebox for Shadow|
It wasn't too long before Parker came back in upset & mad. He and Macey had been arguing about who was going to do what. Who got to choose the spot to bury Shadow, who got to dig the hole, who got to do this and who got to do that. So I go out back hollering for Macey to come here! I made her friends stay in the backyard while Parker, Macey and I hash out in the house all the "he said this, and she said that, and he did this and she did that"stuff! Macey talks back in a nasty tone and gets herself in more trouble and then ends up in tears which isn't unusual lately. I had to tell her that if she & Parker couldn't come to a resolution then the friends would have to go home. Family comes first.
In the end it was one of those teaching moments where we get to talk through their actions and words. About the fact that if they had just been thinking of the others feelings, been willing to communicate more clearly with each other and willing to really listen to what the other person was saying - all the arguing could have been avoided.
What is really fair? How should things be divided? Who should do what? How would you feel if the tables were turned and the other person was treating you the way you are treating them or they are saying to you what you are saying to them? If one person decides on the 'burial' spot then maybe the other person should get to dig the entire hole. Macey was concerned that her friends wouldn't get to do anything. I had to point out that it wasn't their hamster that had died. They could each put a shovelful of dirt on after, etc.
It all worked out in the end.
You hope the whole process produces some good because these teaching moments can be exhausting and emotionally draining for the mom at times.
There wasn't much play time after all this. Our time was limited as it was. Everyone got a small, quick, personal microwaved pizza (friends, too) before needing to get out the door and down to the the other ward's building to help a friend set up for her son's Eagle Court of Honor. Whew! What a day!