Thursday, July 12, 2012

It's only fair to admit that I write mostly to process, and I mostly process what is hard (don't we all?), so you tend to only hear about the hard days.  We have whole chunks of time when everything just ... flows.  The kids play well together, laundry gets mostly folded, we fill our days easily, and life around here just seems to work.

Other weeks, not so much.

All of June, when our routine was in flux?  The kids were perfect.  This week, as life was settling down?  It all hit the fan.

One of the boys suddenly will not eat what is on his plate, ever.  Or put his head on his pillow at rest time, no matter how visibly tired he is.  Or stay in his bed at bedtime.  Or put on his seatbelt.  On and on it goes ... The other has spent the entire week with his arms crossed, scowling at the rest of the family and melting into a puddle that is just ... too ... tired ... to ever pick up another toy/ cup/ shoe in his life.  And the toddler has decided that hitting someone in the face - sibling or parent, she isn't picky - has become the most efficient way of garnering attention whenever she is expected to not be the center of the show for a few minutes.

I have walked out of two public places in the past five days because children would not do what was expected of them.  It's been like THAT this week.  

When you're running a household, with or without kids, you are either playing offense or defense.   I can either spend my days running behind, picking up and reacting, or being proactive, setting the tone for our time together.  And though I kept trying - TRYING - all week long to turn the ship around, I have spent the past several days playing defense.

Until today.

This morning, when it had been half an hour and STILL nobody had their clothes on, much less shoes on or teeth brushed, I had had enough.

What does that mean, exactly?  Well, today it meant that nobody went to swim lessons this morning.  Instead, after sitting in time-out for a while, each was given a chore to do.  If it wasn't done, back to time-out.  I honestly did not care if they spent their morning in time-out or doing chores, a fact that became apparent pretty quickly.  And it worked.  The house got cleaned (as clean as any house with lots of small children ever is, anyway), the kids played without squabbling, and most importantly, attitudes improved remarkably by lunch.  Everyone ate what was on their plate, then put their head on their pillow for rest time.  And it has been whole hours since anyone has hit me in the face.

Now it's rest time, and I'm feeling a little smug.  I'm finally on the offense again.  

Until everyone wakes up, anyway.

Happy Thursday, friends.  

1 comment:

Kendra said...

Every single night I set my alarm to get up before my kids. And every single morning it goes off, and I laugh and think "oh nighttime Kendra, you are so ambitious" and turn it off...only to wake up 40 or so minutes later to a child or two yelling "mommmmmmaaaa!" from their crib and start right into my defense.