Mario’s Demise

If you think you aren’t a hypocrite, have children.  If you can’t have children, just hang out with some.  They will shortly prove to you that you are indeed a hypocrite.  I hate it when this happens to me.  I’m sailing along, doling out consequences for bad behavior, and then, wham!  They throw it right back in my face. 

Yesterday, my oldest son came home from Kindergarten with a bad report.  That morning, he had ripped a page out of a book and broke a penguin. When I tried talking with him about it, he got really mad and threw a fit and screamed this and that and around and around we went.  I somehow managed to stay calm and sent him to his room to regain his composure.  Later, when I brought it up again, I calmly let him know that he would need to pay for the book he ripped and the penguin he broke as per our house rule (see below).

“Anyone who breaks something on purpose will pay for it out of their own money.  If you don’t have the money you will sell something of yours to get the money.”

When an angry boy is sent to his room to compose himself, we often remind him of this if he seems like he’s about to go on a destructive rampage.  Well, after informing my son that he’d have to cough up some funds for his destruction of school property, he saw a prime opportunity to turn the tables on me (amazing how they catch on to this strategy at such a young age).

What about Mario, mommy?  You broke him and didn’t pay for it,” he said.

Oh, great.  Thanks a lot, kid.  In this moment when I’m trying to be a good parent and hold you accountable for your actions you have to remember something from a year ago and use it to your advantage to prove your point and make me feel bad.  This kid is going to a good lawyer someday.

So now I have to fill you in about Mario.  Last year, about this time of year, when we were in the throes of language school, transition and everything else, I had one heck of a morning.  I don’t even remember what happened that morning to set me off, but I felt a temper tantrum coming on.  As the boys sat at the breakfast table, I felt like I just needed to throw something to let off some steam.  I dashed down the hall to the playroom and picked up the first thing I saw that I thought would bounce and sent it flying across the room.

Well, in my haste, my judgment must have been off because the toy I sent sailing into the wall did not bounce. Instead, it smashed into a million pieces!  Why didn’t he bounce?!?!  My victim, who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, was a 10 inch, plastic Super Mario figurine the boys had received as a Christmas present in the mail from their uncle in America.  It was everyone’s favorite (including my husband).  So, I had to fess up and tell the boys I made a very bad choice and broke Mario.

I felt like such a moron as I swept Mario shrapnel into the dust pan.  How many times had I told them not to throw toys?  Wasn’t I supposed to be the adult here, leading by example?  I was so ashamed of myself!  The good news is that one year later we still have Luigi and we all know that he indeed will not bounce so we take good care of him.  I have forgiven myself for my ridiculous blunder and haven’t thrown anything since.  I’m also thinking of a fun segment for the Late Show called “Will It Bounce?” where exasperated parents choose a toy they think will bounce and test their luck by throwing it against a wall.  Way more entertaining than “Will it Float?” don’t you think?

This was before we instituted the “you break it you buy it” rule.  Oh, but these kids remember!  So, a little while later, my son sat at the table playing with his Lego men. I pulled out 50 RMB and placed it on the table in front of him.  “Here’s 50 kuai for Mario,” I said, “We can decide how to spend it as a family.  Do you think that’s enough?”  He nodded and looked pleased that I had decided to follow my own rules.  We plan to go to the toy market this weekend and buy more Lego men.

Photo Credit: david_a_l via Compfight cc


  1. Linda April 29, 2014

    I do like your rule.  Kids are often the truest reflection of our misdeeds.  PS. I finally got rid of a sauce pan with a broken handle years later that I kept as a reminder of a temper tratrum.

  2. Elizabeth April 29, 2014

    I laughed at the “Will it Bounce?” game idea! Thanks for sharing the story.

  3. Emily March April 30, 2014

    Thank you M’Lynn.  I needed this today!  My most prominent struggle in the past two and a half years has definitely been controlling my anger.  Oh, and my daughter is 2 1/2.  😉  It has been amazing how much I have grown over the past couple years, but I know I still have a long way to go.  Often, my little girl will quote our favorite show “Ni Hao Kai Lan.”  She will come up to me and say, “Mama, are you angry?  You just need to calm, calm down!”  She has also sent me to time-out while telling me that I need to “calm, calm down.”  I thank God so often for my little girl, and for Kai Lan.  I have learned a lot from both of them.  So, as a toast with our coffee or tea mugs, I say – Here’s to our growing Godly characters with some much needed humility!

    1. M'Lynn April 30, 2014

      I love how the little people in our lives really do help us grow!  It’s fun when their shows or books help us, too!   I like the Little Critter book “I Was So Mad!” The poor little critter keeps getting told “no!” in the course of his day, and his response to each situation is “I was so mad!” My husband and I now crack up when one of us says “I was so mad…” in the course of a conversation.

      When my oldest son was about three years old, we memorized James 1:19-20 together “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry; because my anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”  It’s just one of those that has really stuck in my head and helps me get back in the right mindset when I’m feeling like I might lose it!  And, I can still hear his cute little three year old self spouting out the words!  🙂

  4. Amy Young April 30, 2014

    M’Lynn, out of the mouth of babes, eh? While there is something to be said about not parroting back to each other what we say, we might be better if we’d learn how to do it with the same innocence of a child. I remember when my sister realized she needed to remove a word from her vocab … after it came out of her little one’s mouth.  :). Sigh. Here’s to helping to reveal the real us. Glad for you!!

  5. Karen Rigsby May 2, 2014

    One thing I love about Velvet Ashes, is that I know so many of you posting! I know you and your kids. M’lynn, the patience the Father gives you truly is amazing. My son and I struggle with anger; I need daily doses of the Father’s love, patience and self-control to keep me in line. James 1:19-20 is one we often run to as well.

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