The boys are going to sign up for Little League at the base this weekend. They're pretty excited and spent much of yesterday outside hitting balls and practicing catching. At one point, I did ask them not to throw the ball at or near the house, just in case something were to break. It wasn't much later before Joel came to me and told me that he had been throwing the ball up in the air out in front of the garage, and that the ball bounced into one of the garage door windows and broke it. My initial reaction was extreme frustration (Rick: think Randy Harris' reaction to the sobbing woman in the airport). I was able to regain composure fairly quickly and told Joel that I thought he should put his ball away for the rest of the day. After I cleaned everything up, I realized I needed to talk to him more. He had shut himself in his room, and when I went in, he was sitting on his bed... little face streaked with tears. I gave him a hug and told him that I realized I had forgotten to tell him something. I told him how proud I was that he came to me right away and told me the truth about the window. I asked him who else was pleased that he chose the right thing to do, and he said, "God." Then we talked a little bit about why I had asked him not to play ball near the house and I said, "Mommy doesn't say "No" or make rules just to be mean or make you mad," to which he replied, "You do it because you love us and want to keep us safe." Well, isn't that just what every mom wants to hear?? There was much hugging and squeezing and kissing after that. I'm glad he realized I wasn't angry with him, and very happy that we were able to restore our relationship. I think that's often one of the missing links when our children have misbehaved or displeased us. The younger they are, the easier it seems to be. I hope I can find better ways to do this with my oldest. At her age, she is so busy trying to separate from us, that maintaining any feeling of connectedness to her is a challenge.