It is 8:55pm. My 4 kids are asleep, I just did a load of laundry, took out the garbage, and straightened up the house a little, since all my visitors have left. AND I am on the computer before 9pm! This is nothing short of miraculous!
My friends from NY were here staying for a few days. They have remarkable children, who are more or less the same ages as my kids. We have known one another pre-kids, and therefore have been able to witness the emergence of our kids, at various junctures throughout our friendship. They have come here many times, and we have been to them in Manhattan, many times.
Whilst ou kids get along very well, I have to say that I think their kids get along well with everyone, because they are impeccably behaved, mature and well-rounded little individuals, who hold their own amongst kids their age,as well as adults. They are very polite ( as my 8 yr old pointed out to me), very thoughtful, and have excellent middos ( character traits)
— hold that thought
Make that 3 children asleep, one just woke up and was screaming for me from the bathroom. She had a very sore tummy, and needed to go in such a rush that she kinda missed the toilet bowl, and hit the toilet seat, and her leg. We are not talking about a little pee-pee over here….
Anyway – nothing some wipes, a shower and a big kiss couldn’t fix.
— So – back to what I was saying. Anyway – I have always asked them from parenting advice, which they have given willingly. They have been going to classes taught by an exceptional individual ( I am not sure if I can mention her name or not – I will let you know if I can), for the past 10 years.
Before they arrived this time, I had mentioned that I need some serious Nanny911, as my kids were slowly turning into monsters, and each day was becoming an eternity.
So they delivered from the moment they set foot in my house. they pointed out where I was going wrong, what I should do, guided me step by step, even gave a few stern words, and just a certain look here and there, that did wonders.
I would say that from their arrival on Tuesday, to their departure today, my kids behaviour was a good 60% better. I think that that is phenomenal.
It is not me to be drill-seargant-like. Ordinarily, I ask nicely, and get ignored. I then beg, my blood pressure begins to rise. I then plead; and start to lose my rationale. Then I explode. That explosion ain’t pretty. i lose my self-control, the kids do too, and 95% of the time we all land up in tears, including myself,and exhaustion reigns supreme.
After many chats, and a bit of note taking last night, I really have become implementing their zero tolerance policy. Zero tolerance for chutzpah, zero tolerance for whining.
So let me tell you how my day went, being all by myself to implement my new-found control, and hard as it may be to believe – FREEDOM:
After everyone had left for NY, and school, I was left at home with my 3 little ones.
I made us breakfast. As soon as my 2 yr old began walking around with her food, I immediately said in a nice, but stern voice that we eat at the table. She sat very nicely thereafter and finished what was on her plate. They then had a bath, I nursed the baby, put her to bed. Being Sunday, i let them watch TV, and so I put on Barney, while i cleaned up breakfast things, and loaded the dishwasher. We watched a few home videos, and then i got dresses, and we were going to leave to get Mic.
Sassy would not put on her socks and shoes. i told her nicely that if she does not listen to mommy that is chutzpah, and then she does not get to have poutine ( a gourmet junk food delight. French fries drenched in gravy, with melted cheese on top). She gave one more moan, and then I said “Ok – No Poutine. You did not listen to Mommy. The Torah says, you have to listen to Mommy.” Just as Jodi told me.
Well what do you know, she then dashed to put on her shoes , without an ounce of moan, and off we went. We got Mic, and then I took them for lunch. Everyone go their Poutine, and Sass just gave a sheepish grin, trying to show an impenetrable bravado. She even tried to help her little sister clean up the cheese dangling from her chin, and then she quickly gobbled it up – and then I gave her a look and said sternly again ” No Poutine.”
I then dropped Mic and Sass off a little fete at someone’s house, and off I went downtown with ‘The G’ and Shikebum. I strolled around as they slept, got a coffee, and even read my book.
2hrs later, went to pick them up, and we were invite to a friend’s house to go in their sprinkler. with cheers of joy ( it was boiling today) we raced home to change. Big ones helped little ones, all helped me, and we went back to play in the water.
I had to remind my eldest to say hello , when she was greeted by her host, and she did but with a little prodding – I have to add. when it was time to leave, the 2 yr od gave a little moan here and there, but I reprimanded her, and it was fine. We left, and just to top off our very healthy day, I said – “Ok girls, take out it is”. It was 6:15 already, I had nothing at home, and truth be told i was too hot and exhausted to even contemplate preparing everything. besides, Big E is away and there has to be something in this for me too, right?
In the car on the way to pick up the food, Mic said ” Thank you mommy for a great day, I really appreciate it!”
We had a picnic on the balcony, and then everyone got into PJ;’s, brushed teeth and got into bed. I did not have to speak twice. ( Please bear in mind, I have been doing this since Tuesday. I think my kids are beginning to believe that I mean business). I gave mic some extra time on the porch, but asked her not to ride her bike. When I came around, I saw that she was on her bike. So IMMEDIATELY – I said to her that she had to go to bed right now, she had lost the privilege of staying up a little later- It was 7:30pm. She went to the room, I then went to the little kids and read to them. When I returned she was not in bed. And so i had to further punish her and say that she was not allowed to read. Now this kid has been almost perfectly behaved for the past few days, a GIANT effort on her part. I felt SO bad. She then began to cry and whine, at which point – i may have failed a little but I said, “If you whine and cry the next thing to go , will be your junky snack tomorrow. It is your choice – you decide whether you want to cry, or go to bed now. ”
She did whimper, she then pulled it together to say ” Mommy for 8 years i knew one kind of mommy. Now all of a sudden – you are this new mommy? You can’t do that! It is not fair! I want the mommy that I know!”
Wow! Have I changed so much, so soon?
“Well, ” I said, ” I have to be like this, because you listen – and didn’t we have agreat day – no fighting or yelling. you just listened, and we did a lot of fun things.”
And you know what, therein lies the truth. I may have had to go out of my usual comfort zone, and be very strict and dole out consequences. But they are getting the message fast ad furious. Life seems to be a little easier, and I hope i t doesn’t backfire! But so far so good. For all you softies out there – IT DOES NOT PAY!!!!!!!!!!!!