If my 8 year old kid tells you she's going to juvey, she's not. She's just on probation. Let me explain.
I fired my kid this morning.
Let's get something straight. I didn't fire her from being my kid. That's a job, sure enough, one that she'd probably resign from if she knew all about resignations. But she's 8 and doesn't even like writing her school work so a strongly worded resignation letter is years away.
But she does have a job to support her habit -- Build-a-Bears. She's made a computer listing of all the animals she wants to buy, outfits and accessories. She knows that in 8 weeks, she'll meet her first goal and will be able to fund her well-planned trip to the store.
Her "job" is just normal kid-stuff chores: making her bed, feeding and watering the dog and cat, walking the dog twice a day, and picking up any of her cups or dishes she might have left in her room before bedtime. That's it. No toilet scrubbing or floor waxing. No digging trenches or cleaning out the septic tank. But today I snapped and fired her.
There were three bugs floating in the cat's water dish outside. That's what started it all.
"What are bugs doing in the water dish?" she whined.
"Apparently drowning," I said.
"I hate bugs."
"Will you do it?"
"No. It's your job."
"But I don't like bugs."
So I explain that it's easy to scoot the bowl to the edge of the porch, then pick it up by one corner and pour the bugs over the side. No touching the bugs required.
"That sounds good. Will you do it?"
Whine, whine, whine. Whine. Whinety-whine-whine.
"You know what? You don't get to negotiate in a real job. In a real job, you have duties and you are expected to do them. So are you going to empty that water and fill it with fresh water or not?"
"I really don't like bugs," she said.
"Does that mean you are going to fill the water or not?"
"Okay. You're fired."
"Fired? What does that mean?"
"It means you no longer have a job."
Tears filled her eyes.
"Will you just give me the money for Build-a-Bears?"
I can't believe she asked that.
Yes I can. "No."
"How can I get my job back?"
"Do it -- all of it -- without whining."
She got the cup of water and did it. Without complaining. Dead bugs and all.
So, she's been rehired but she's still in her probationary stage. But as I told her the good news, tears came to her eyes again. "Does that mean I have to go to juvey?"
"What do you know about juvey?"
"Well, Sam on iCarly went there for sticking a chili dog in some foreign guy's pants."
Ah, yes. I remember that episode. It was especially funny. But no, no juvey and not that kind of probation.
We've talked about a lot of stuff today: work ethic, jobs, firing, hiring, work probation and juvey -- all before noon. Something tells me this is going to be a looong day.