It’s been yet another one of those weeks. You know how you get back from being away from your babies, and you’re just so happy to see them – for the first 20 minutes or so? That’s how it’s been this week. Yes, it’s been another week of me wondering if I have some of the worst-behaved children ever and/or if I’m the worst mother ever who cannot control her children.
Yesterday, I was that screaming mommy that I hate being. I was just so tired and they were so not listening, not doing what they were supposed to be doing (cleaning up their playroom), not following rules we’ve had since day one, etc. This morning, we had the usual struggle to get everyone out the door in a timely manner so we got to sit in the very long line for drop-off and then were late dropping Grace off at preschool. FRUSTRATION!! Lunch was a nightmare of them throwing food, breaking up chips and dropping them all over the newly cleaned counter and floor, standing up on their stools, and so on. I finally took plates away and they were done. The behavior did not improve after that. At least I could put one of them down for a nap, and I did, a half hour earlier than usual. Ryley and Grace just seemed to decide they were going to make up for the one kid missing – pillow fights with my couch pillows (a very big no-no with my brand new pillows!), wresting, jumping from the recliner to the table to the chair, dragging dirt from the backyard onto the newly cleaned (did I mention my house got cleaned today?) kitchen floor, and so on and so on and so on…..I did not yell. I’m so proud of myself.
We have this new tool we’ve been using. It’s called a Reward Board and it’s on the computer. Pretty cool – interactive, personalized, etc. They get happy faces if they accomplish a task on the list, they get check marks if they don’t. If they don’t get enough happy faces for the week, no certificate, no allowance. They also get demerits if they really lose control. So when this behavior was going on, Ryley and Grace each got 2 demerits within 20 minutes. And no happy face for “listen to Mommy and Daddy” for today. I told them they know what the rules are, they know what is expected of them, and they know the consequences of bad choices. I’m done yelling, I’m done fighting with them.
Things seemed to settle down after that. I came back into the office/playroom to try to continue working. They went into the backyard to play. My friend called me and I poked my head out the window to see what they were doing. I dropped the phone – Ryley was STANDING on the back wall. We don’t have wood fences around our yard – we have stone walls, and they’re 8 feet tall. Ryley was standing on top of it. AAAHHHHH!!! My heart flew out of my chest and I ran from one end of the house to the other and out into the backyard, praying that he would not fall before I could get there. He had stacked up the patio chairs to be able to climb up that high. I got him down, and sent them inside. They’re banned from the backyard for the next couple of days. That’s where the new words come in. They are learning the meaning of “grounded”. They are both grounded for two days for the behavior yesterday and today. And they’re not really happy about it, but whatever. It’s a matter of me having some kind of control, them learning the limits and boundaries, and keeping them safe. Good grief!!!!
You’d think after all this, they might have thought twice about misbehaving. Apparently I have little to no hold over them. I just caught them with candy, which means that Ryley climbed up on the counter to reach the top of the fridge to get to the candy, and in the process broke two more household rules – no climbing on the counter, and no candy unless mommy or daddy say you can have it. What do I do now? I threw out all the candy. GONE!! You should have seen the looks on their little faces – like the end of the world had come. And at that moment, as awful as it may sound, I took great joy in being the “mean mommy”.