At least I think taking five children ages (4, 4, 5, 5, & 7) to a concert qualifies as being crazy. Even if it was at the community college, and even if it was a free choral concert, and even if the choir was kinda (okay really) bad.
Who does that?
I think it would have been challenging enough with just my two boys, but my friend calls and says she’s going to a movie, but I know her hubby’s at work, and she just let Tom and I go to a movie on Saturday, and so her kids are going to a teenage who’s watching like NINE kids tonight, so, I open my mouth and say “I’m going to a free concert at the college, I can take them with me.” Then, I call and tell her “I’m making spaghetti and cooking a whole pound of pasta, so come over if you want” and then she’s like “we’ll be right down” because, I didn’t know it, but she LOVES my homemade spaghetti, even if it’s the “quick” version.
(Amy... I love you and your kids and OBVIOUSLY, this is just a total rant on my week and evening and not really about taking the kids at all, but just a great demonstration of how wacky I can be.)
Wow! I’m rambling and that’s QUITE the set of run-on sentences.
Anyway. I love being busy and going and doing and now that I’m feeling just a LITTLE BIT better (and Tom’s out of town and therefore unable to rein me in) I find myself doing crazy-fun stuff like that.
When I’m out with Amy’s kids, I always wonder what other people must think of me with the five stair-stepped kids. I mean, it looks like I cranked out one kid a year for five years in a row! Who does that? I know people do, but I honestly don’t think I could handle it. I mean, if the pregnancies, births and breast feeding didn’t kill me, trying to wash diapers and potty train all of them. And then, oy! I mean, this week, I waged war with Jack. I can't even imagine dealing with so many toddlers at one time - all.the.time.
This week, I decided it was high time Jack learn to clean up his room, on his own. The boys share a room and USUALLY, Tom or I or Erik will go in and clean it up. But no. I wanted Jack to do it.
I've learned that Jack really does know where all his toys and things go... he just honestly and truly wants someone else to clean up for him. What's more, he's OKAY with hanging out in his room all.the.time and just having occasional time-outs to interrupt his playing (because he seldom... okay, NEVER is actually CLEANING).
This week has been a long, harrowing journey for me. I’ve wanted to scream and yell (okay, I HAVE screamed and yelled). I wanted to strangle and cry (did the crying). Okay. The only thing I wanted to do and HAVEN’T done is strangle, gag, and bind my kids. I mean, I really thought about gagging them Tuesday afternoon. Which is when I first called Amy and she then came to my rescue. It’s been SO GOOD to have her support this week as I pitched this battle with Jack.
Come to think of it, that’s probably why I wound up with five kids at a concert tonight. I felt SO much more sanity this week because Amy has been coming over and calming me down when I wanted to strangle, gag, and tie Jack.
Tom would say something like “never wrestle a pig in the mud… the pig likes it and you just get dirty.” Same thing with this battle with Jack. But, I have learned somethings.
My best day, was also the one when I was the most exhausted (haven’t been sleeping well with hubby on a trip, and a good book series in my face!) Anyway, I was tired on Wednesday. Therefore, I couldn’t muster as much energy for the fight. But bigger than that, I made an effort to check on Jack FREQUENTLY, and made sure to catch him DOING WHAT HE WAS SUPPOSE TO. Then. I’d have him come sit on my lap for a cuddle and usually a story book. That little bit of positive attention was SO MUCH more productive than all the fighting, crying, etc I’d been doing.
Another change on Wednesday… some different forms of time-outs. In our house, time outs have almost always been served in a rocking chair… gives them the chance to move while still doing what you want, sit in one spot. Monday and Tuesday I was doing time outs on a step stool (little and hard and not-mobile). Well, Wednesday, we switched. Time outs were either Nose-in-the-Corner or (a new idea to me) hands above your head on the wall touching an item (either a piece of tape, or for Jack, until he figured out he could blink them off and on, he just had to put his hands on a switch plate). That worked out MUCH BETTER. I also made sure I could see him while serving these new time-outs. I’m loving the hands over the head one. It doesn’t take long until I hear “Mom! My arms are tired! Can I PLEASE go clean my room?”
I really hope I didn’t thwart my four days of effort here though… tonight, I left the concert early. And then, the five kids, when ask “do you think we should help Jack or just let him work on cleaning his room again tomorrow?” They decided to help! I gave each child an assignment (1 – clothes and hangers, 2 – stuffed animals and books, 3 – cars, 4 – little things, 5 – everything else). In TEN MINUTES, they had the pile down to small bits and trash. Another twenty minutes and the room was clean and vacuumed!
EVERY DAY this week has been a battle. I really and truly hope that I didn’t undermine my efforts by allowing the children to help.
Perhaps tomorrow I’ll have Jack do something nice to thank his friends and brother. Help him realize that he needs to be grateful to people when they do something nice for him, instead of just expecting them to do it because he’s the littlest/youngest/cutest/laziest/whatever.
Anyway. I do think I’m crazy… actually, in my family, it’s hard NOT to be Certifiable, but that’s DEFINITELY another story for another time! :D