Right now, my stock punishment for the kids is to copy a Hail Mary.
I happened to have written the Hail Mary on a piece of paper to try and help Jenny remember how to say it. When it’s her turn to lead a decade of the family rosary, this is what transpires:
Jenny: Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed is the fruit –
Me: Blessed art thou.
Jenny: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
The next Hail Mary repeats exactly like this. Ten times I correct her for missing the middle part. She hears it the right way 43 other times. Makes no difference.
And we repeat this night after night.
So, I wrote down the Hail Mary for her to follow along and get it right.
But she can’t read yet. I don’t know what I was thinking.
Then along came a misbehaving child, and voilà – instant punishment. I keep old spiral notebooks from last school year around, open to a blank page, sit a child down, and make them copy the prayer.
Katie has been given this assignment many times over the last week. Her most common infraction is not staying in bed quietly after “goodnight.” Before she even has a chance to finish complaining about her sister and roommate, she is seated and handed pen and paper.
Every single time she does it, she finishes with “I love Mom.” It’s so sweet. But I just wish she’d tell me that at goodnight.