The refreshing sounds of crying, whining, and bickering. I know - please contain your envy. Who wouldn't want to wake up to that
But anyway, I got out of the shower. At this point, the kids were in the driveway, riding their bikes, while Richard was setting up the car to change the oil. But what did I hear from our bathroom as I towel-dried my hair? Bickering. Richard's frustration with the bickering.
I got dressed, went out there, exasperated by the realization that we may have hit that stage in parenthood where all we're doing is putting out these fires. That even though our kids definitely have "good days (or minutes...maybe hours)," the overwhelming frustration of being subjected to their blood-curdling whines (Everett), and endless snapping at the other one (Jillian), sprinkled with the occasional "I don't love you!" (E to J) and resulting, "Moooommmmmmy..." tattling (Jillian) possibly negates those good moments, and definitely leaves me in an almost perpetual state of being on edge.
So anyway, I marched right on out there. After being prompted by the insane amount of whining from Everett, I thought about the fact that we try to emphasize that he is a big boy. We've talked about whining and how it is preferable to use a "big boy voice" - or simply - words. And in thinking about this, I want him to realize that if he's going to make the choice to not use big boy words, he doesn't need allllll those "big boy toys." (Disclaimer: Friends that prefer positive reinforcement techniques, you may want to brace yourselves and/or be done reading this post...you've been warned). Similarly, Jillian knows when she's doing something that is bothering Everett. She knows the bickering needs to stop. The yelling, arguing, etc. So. I informed the kids that I will be taking a mental tally, possibly on paper, too...and at the end of the day, the number of times I hear them not using kind, helpful words and tones to work out their differences or express themselves, THAT is the number of things I will be removing from each of their rooms. I get to choose the item, and it probably will not return to her room.
Now that I'm in a room further away from the driveway, unable to hear the number of times they've had these verbal altercations, I can't say where we're at in our tallying...Richard is out there, and has said that it's better. (And since that last talk with the kids, there has been yet ANOTHER talk with them, as Richard had to send them in, after not being able to work with whatever they were doing in the background). This last talk included me giving them example scenarios of how to handle situations with each other. They seemed to think that my demonstrating their usual interactions was hilarious. I explained that it, in fact, is not. Even in all of its "humor" (I explained to them that while it may seem funny when Mommy does these things, it isn't exactly the same as when they're doing it in combination with yelling, tattling, etc. AND it being for long periods of time), they were able to see that those demonstrated choices of interactions were NOT the correct choices.
We're at 12:30 in the afternoon, friends. I'll keep you posted. Okay, who am I kidding? No news is good news. So if I haven't updated here, things are probably going better than usual. Unless they're not. And I suppose that's when you'll hear back from me, as I discover this new form of therapy...
Thanks for listening and I'd love to know your thoughts and if you can relate!