I think I just might need to start getting more creative with my overall life organizational skills as well as with my child-rearing methods, as my status updates are becoming increasingly redundant (a.k.a ‘kids fight, I scream, exhaustion sets in, sanity starts slipping…’) Here is part of what I wrote as my blog update last night, but almost decided against it because I felt it was just too stereo-typical:
It’s been an interesting, eventful, exhausting day.
Kids woke up angry, one slamming a door, another had a nose bleed, (no drips hit the floor)
A day of lost e-mails, payments forgotten, to-do lists unmade and I felt plain old rotten.
Complaints about long hair, missed appointments galore, work overdue, stuff all over the floor.
My kids in my classroom, no after-school care, will someone please teach them, just how to share?
And that was just a glimpse of life during my work day. Don’t get me started on home life.
A friend recently told me I should take up running. That would certainly help to balance out my craving for Lay’s chips at bedtime, but I don’t quite know what it would do for my child-rearing skills. That is, unless I am running away from my children, which sadly has occurred a few more times than I should publicly mention. I had another friend confide to me that someone who has read my blogs regularly thinks that I live a ‘troubled’ life. And I thought writing about it was helping me, being my own therapist and all. Instead of helping myself out, I realized this. Not only am I still troubled, but half of P.E.I. as well as representation from select provinces and several of the United States, know specifically what kind of trouble I am in, and why, each and every time I update my status. And they pity me for it.
So, it is time I start nailing down some solutions and offer what it is I actually do when the ‘rubber hits the road’. Thus, I am writing tonight so as to offer the rest of the story, or as it might more aptly be titled: ‘what happens next, after the funny stuff goes down’.
While sitting at the rink tonight, shooting the breeze with the other rink moms who were watching their own kids skate their hearts out, we talked discipline ideas. And we pretty much only got to one idea, because the information flow stopped after this one mom got finished. She was telling us about her method over the years for dealing with her kids who back-talked/used bad language/mouthed off. She washed their mouth out with soap. We listened with rapt attention as she described in great detail how she would wait until they were not watching, and then swipe the inside of their mouth with dish detergent. And I personally shuddered with horror as she told tales of pressing bars of soap inside their mouths which she would then scrape across the first row of their teeth.
Uh. Yikes, girlfriend. And more importantly: what kid could ever be convinced to take a shower with soap, after that appalling experience? But this mom swears by it. It was for her a cure-all for those hard to tame children who used their mouth as a weapon.
When I was little, we had a stick in our house. It was called ‘Heat for the Seat.’ And on the stick was a picture of a little boy, bent over at the waist with giant tear drops welling at the corners of his eyes. Just thinking of that poor, unfortunate boy makes my tushie feel sore. His own bottom, red as a tomato. I swear, heat radiated from that slender board. ‘Heat for my seat’ occurred at regular intervals throughout my childhood. And I can remember on those rare occasions when the crime was too serious and grave for my mother to handle, she would issue those ominous words: ‘You just wait until your father gets home’.
I will never forget one long road trip we took when I was old enough to know better. I committed an offense while attending a church function with my parents, the punishment for which was the portentous and ill-omened ‘heat for the seat’ upon our family’s arrival at home. And this, after enduring a two hour return road trip. It was for me, a long, long drive home. And I spent most of that two hours thinking about the eventual heat coming to my seat interspersed with desperate prayers to God that my parents might have had a miraculous change of mind of the supernatural kind, derived from their church experience earlier that evening.
Of course, they did not. And I probably deserved whatever came my tender bottom’s way that night.
My own methods of discipline differ somewhat from that of my childhood. I will clear the record once and for all: my own children have never felt the wrath of that slender board called ‘Heat for the Seat’. However, I do support the ‘Chicken Little method’ of child discipline. And it goes something like this.
Me: “Who will help me clean up this gigantic mess, which looks for all the world as if an enormous Crayola box barfed all over the table?”
Children: “I didn’t do it!” That’s not my mess, it’s hers!” “Uhhhhh, mannnnnn!”
Me: “I did not play with these crayons either, and if someone doesn’t remove them pronto, forget about eating lunch (or desserts, snacks, Halloween treats, or whatever else might suit your fancy…).”
And as the story goes, we all know who wins this battle.
(Cue the light bulbs going off in children’s heads)
This method usually works. However. Just for this very select issue, that being “toy clean-up time”.
I still haven’t perfected some other key areas of discipline, those being…
- Dealing with whining
- Dealing with laziness
- Dealing with fighting
- Dealing with melt-downs
- Dealing with arguing
So, if anyone might have any suggestions, I am open for advice. Being a parent is a learning experience like no other, with ample room for failure. One might be good at a lot of things, but being good at parenting takes time, patience and practice. So as I plug away at this most important job, blogging my way in the dark down that elusive pathway called parenting, I will count my blessings as I go. And when I win some, I won’t worry about the battles I’ve lost. It is enough for me to have won the all-important ones.
The rest will follow.