Phoebie had drawn on her desk with her crayons despite warnings from me and this was not the first time.
The first time it happened, I told her that she was to draw on paper instead of her desk. I cleaned up all the crayon stains and told her she was not supposed to draw on the desk.
The second time it happened, I brought Phoebie to her desk and showed her the lines on the desk she had drawn with her crayons. I warned her that if she drew on her desk with her crayons again, I was going to throw her crayons away and she would have no more crayons.
So tonight turned out to be the third time. I was preparing Breyen for bed and overheard Ben talking to Phoebie about drawing on her desk.
I went to Phoebie’s room and asked her if she was supposed to draw on her desk. She said no. I asked her if she remembered what I said I would do if she did it again. She said I would throw the crayons away. I told her since she drew on her desk again, I was going to throw her crayons away. She looked on sadly as I took the crayons one by one, realizing that I meant business.
“Noo… Don’t throw away the crayons…” She cried as big drops of tears streamed down her cheeks. “I won’t draw on my desk… Don’t throw… Don’t throw…”
I almost wanted to stop taking the crayons away because of how sad she looked, but I knew I couldn’t stop there if I wanted her to know I meant what I said.
I took all her crayons n put them on the dining table. She chased after me but didn’t see where I put them. She cried hysterically, begging for her crayons to be returned to her. I walked away, leaving her to cry and trying not to be broken by her sad face.
After a couple of minutes, I went back to her and sat on the floor. I asked her if she knew why her crayons were taken away. “Because I draw on the table,” she managed to say between sniffles.
“The first time you drew on the table, I cleaned it and told you not to do it again. The second time you did it, I told you that if you did it again, I will throw the crayons away. Tonight, you drew on the table again, so I took away your crayons,” I explained to my crying preschooler.
I repeated this to her a couple of times her and she begged for her crayons. She then repeated to me why her crayons were taken away and what she was supposed to do instead of what she had done.
“I always tell you that if you don’t pack your toys, I will throw your toys away. Because you always help to pack up, I don’t throw your toys, but you didn’t listen to me about the crayons, that’s why they are gone now,” I explained again.
Phoebie continued to cry and ask for her crayons.
I then told her, “There is a way you can have your crayons back. You will have to help me clean the table, and you tell me, can you draw on the table?”
“Where are you supposed to draw?” I asked Phoebie.
“On paper,” she answered.
“Okay, now you help me clean the table, and I will give you your crayons. But no more drawing on the table, only on paper.”
It can be really hard to hold my ground, especially when Phoebie cries with such a sad face. However, she has to learn that there are consequences when she doesn’t follow instructions.
Hopefully I don’t have to throw her crayons away and she will remember what happened tonight.