Crazy, Lazy Saturday

I Can, and I Will, Just Because

The one good thing about Saturday (and Sunday) is we don’t have to rush around in the morning, trying to get everyone out the door and to school, or to the sitter’s, or to work. That’s a major cause of stress for us during the week.

The one bad thing about Saturday is that one parent has to man the trips while the other has to run errands, including doing the bulk of our grocery shopping for the week. And if the weather does not cooperate, we have to spend time inside.. where we tend to get incredibly bored and frustrated with each other.

Theo usually is busy running from room to room, going upstairs and down, taking and dropping toys everywhere. We did spend some time this morning watching one of our favorite performers (Laurie Berkner Band) on dvd, but for Theo that never lasts long.

At least today he slept late..but that means no napping for him.

Oh Those GIRLS?!!

I love my girls, I truly do. But at times they are like oil and water. I think they really get bored with each other, and they are experts at pushing each other’s buttons. In fact today, if I have to say “play nice girls,” one more time, I’m going to lose it.

Olena tries to boss Gretchen around. Gretchen, God love her, won’t let anyone do that to her. Fight ensues.

Gretchen asks to push the play button on the DVD player. Olena barges in and whines about wanting to do it. Fight ensues.

Olena says it’s day. Gretchen says it’s not and that the moon is out. Fight ensues.

And on and on and on…

It’s not even noon now and I can’t wait for bedtime.

The Solution?

For the past month or so I have been practicing the “1-2-3 Magic” parenting solution developed by Dr. Thomas Phelan. I count to 3, and if the girls don’t settle down, or if they continue to do their own thing without listening…it’s time out for them. IF they do anything egregious, like playing with the tea set, then throwing it all around the room because someone poured the imaginary tea wrong… that’s an automatic 5 minute time out.

The time out begins once the kid settles down and after time is served, we continue on with our day.

I’ve had great success with Gretchen… She has really caught on. Olena, however, will sit and scream the entire time she is in time out…she knows that could bring on an asthma attack. Smart little… well, you know.

The one good thing about this method is their Pre-K teacher currently uses it. Lee (their sitter) also gives time outs. So they are already familiar with it. The school is going to host two information sessions on the method next month and while I cannot attend the first meeting, I plan on going to the second (I already watched the video).

I haven’t had to use it much with Theo. He has a hard time staying still, but he does understand when he has done something wrong. I thought if he does something really bad I would just take away one of his favorite toys for a while. We’ll see how that goes.

Any Attention IS Attention

Also, while I dread the fighting and the shouting, it can’t be helped…sometimes I can’t help it either. I have lost my cool a number of times trying to get the girls (mostly) to play nice, behave, not shout at each other.

On the flip side I realize that these almost 5-year-old kiddos, although they are not adults, are wicked smart and they know what buttons to push. Sometimes I believe Olena just does it to get attention. I’ve been trying really hard to stay cool, and calm, and to walk away (or put Rob in charge) when she gets under my skin. She’s very good at it.

I’ve also made extra effort to give each kiddo one-on-one attention, whether it is a pat on the head while walking by, a hug, or just sitting and coloring with them. This is working out very well. But sometimes with Theo’s needs, everyone gets lost…

And then, Peace

But then there are times, even after we’ve had our blowups, where the girls just settle down and play together very nicely. And they’ve even tried including Theo in at times. It’s very sweet, and gives me hope that they are not always on each other’s nerves.

And a fight-free day, even a few hours of peace, is perfect in my book.

Now, where is that tea?


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