Saturday, August 1, 2009

My child needs a dump button!

You know how on live radio and TV broadcasts they have a delay of a few seconds and a dump button they can press to essentially mute out any comments or language that shouldn't be sent out over the air waves?  Well, I need that for Madeline.  You have no idea just how badly I need it.

About two weeks ago she lent her Diary of  a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw to her friend.  Bryan and I have told Madeline many times in the past that we would prefer it if she didn't lend her books out to her friends.  She has lent a few books out in the past and they always come back in very poor condition.  I learned the same lesson when I was a little girl and had lent a book out to a friend and got it back in a condition that was so awful that I'd never read the book again. It was one of those moments that has stuck with me for 22 years.  

The book in question got lent out because Madeline put me on the spot in front of the little girl and her mother.  I allowed her to lend the book, but I explained to her again after the book drove away with her friend why we don't lend books.  Madeline has spent the past two weeks worrying about her book. (I knew she would, she always worries when she lends things.)  

So today her friend called to see how she was feeling (she called a few days ago wanting to play when Madeline was sick).  She also wanted to let Madeline know that she finished the book.  I suspected a few days back that Madeline left the room when her friend called to ask about her book.  Whatever she said must have left an impression on her friend that she felt the need to tell me she finished the book when she talked to me on the phone.

I handed the phone to Madeline and then it happened.  Not wanting to tell her friend that she doesn't want to lend her books out because she doesn't trust her friends and worries about her stuff too much, she tells her "My mom doesn't want me to lend my books to you anymore.".  Aaaah!  Where's the dump button?  I really like the little girl she's talking to, and I like her family.  Her mom and dad are nice and they even have a little boy who is Ellie's age.  The last thing I want to do is offend them, and there Madeline is plodding ahead with totally unfiltered speech.  

We had to tell her that she can and has to lend her friend the other books from the series now.  I told her two weeks ago to assess the condition of the book she had just lent out when it comes back before committing to lending another.  It's as simple as that.  If you lend something out and it comes back beat up, then you just tell the person that you don't want to lend them anymore books because they didn't take very good care of what you had just lent them.  If they return it and it is no worse for wear then you have nothing to worry about going forward and can lend books out with no worries.   

In general, I prefer her not to lend the books because we will use the for Ellie in a few more years and I'd like them to be in excellent condition for her.  Since Ellie is living in a world where most of her things are hand me downs, I like to make sure that what gets handed down to her is in decent shape.  I'm trying to instill in Madeline a sense of responsibility.  Yes, the books and toys are hers, but she needs to be mindful that many of those things will ultimately be passed on to her sister as she outgrows them.


  1. I'd like one of these buttons too! The things kids say... Aaahhh!

  2. I remember learning this lesson when I was little too. My mom leant her friend one of the books from my Chronicles of Narnia series. She suspected we would never get it back and she was right. She bought me a new series (I loved it so much I read each of the 7 books at least 7 times). In the process of moving from home to home some of those got lost too, so I bought my daughter a new set. So now we have 2 incomplete sets and 1 complete. We will not be lending out any from the complete set.


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