Growing up, I thought my Mom was a nag and my Dad was no less than a Brigadier General commanding an army regiment with an iron fist. The problem was that having a considerable age gap with my siblings meant that I was the sole member of that dreaded and bloody awful regiment. I promised myself to never follow in their steps. I was going to be the ‘Coolest’ and most ‘Chilled Out’ Mom planet Earth and the entire human population itself had ever witnessed!
Well, that was 30 odd years ago and fast forwarding to now I am almost Cool (11 yo cringes!) and somewhat Chilled out (6 yo balks). Suffices to say that I have ‘almost’ lived up to that ethereal ‘Uber cool and chilled out Mom’ dream.
What I actually mean is that, my kids bedrooms and playroom on a normal day look as though a tornado had casually just whizzed past by. And sometimes I just let that be, because I have for some very weird reason never been quite consumed by the all powerful innate desire to constantly clean and vacuum.And, I have given my pristine and not a hair out of place mother in law sufficient shocks to last her, her entire lifetime! I don’t think she quite fathomed what she was taking on when I married her son!
Reward charts suck!
Reward charts, points charts, chore charts, no matter what name you choose to attribute to it. The long answer to them can be sugar coated and long winded. The short answer is, Nope, never worked. However, that is not mutually interchangeable with the fact that we never tried. Oh! We tried. And every inch of every nerve of mine can bear a painful testimony to its equally painful implementation. But if you are an advocate of reward charts and find them to be the answer to all problems of man, then I’d urge you to please look away. It’s only going to go downhill from here! And I do not want to be the apocalyptic reason that broke the camel’s back!
We did it the first time round and had reward charts for every possible chore and training from doing potty to being naughty! And what a damn waste of paper, glue, stickers and sprinkles it was! Yes, we went the whole hog way with them, talked about the rewards and what they had to do. And they all nodded along eagerly. But guess what? That was the best fake agreement performance the world has ever laid eyes upon!The only thing that works in our household is my high pitched screaming voice. I don’t want to do it but my goodness nothing else works. Unless my voice hits the notes of the highest octave I do not get anybody to blink let alone take on the herculean effort of raising their heads to look up. It’s not that I enjoy being the screaming banshee but neither do I want to raise a trio of slobbing monkeys who have their mother tidying up after them 24/7.
Yes, I know we must inculcate all the good values and virtues known to human kind into our tiny little humans. And neither have I raised a trio who is well versed with all the vices known to man. But sometimes, nothing works better, faster and easier than bribing. Let’s zero in on the context that led to this conclusion.
My 6 year old recently changed schools, and was not taking quite well to having weekly spelling tests whose marked results came home every week. Yes, we tried every thing and every trick to get him to sit down and practice a list of twelve odd spellings, which were tough to begin with. I mean getting my six-year-old to practice writing words like ‘unfathomable’ is a task which is not fathomable to begin with.
After, having tried perhaps all the tricks of the trade I resorted to promising him a toy if he got his spellings correct. And, Hallelujah! That got the boy sitting down to not only practicing his spellings but acing the test ever since. Though we’ve had to cut down on weekly toy shops. My bank balance couldn’t quite bear the weekly damaging blows being dealt out to it.
Sibling smacks you in the face…unexpectedly!
There are books and possibly tons of books out there which tell you how to deal with sibling rivalry when you are either expecting a new baby or have a new baby at home. But my experience with my trio has brought to the forefront that sibling rivalry does crop up at different stages. The expression of it might not be quite as blatantly obvious and in your face as before but subtly it does make its presence known.
We went through a phase when my youngest needed our attention 100% and that too 24/7. And we also don’t quite realize that our older kids are really not that old. My six-year-old though did not quite take very well to the idea of his younger brother hogging the limelight. He loves his brother no doubt, but come on, love has its limits, too. Right?
Often, asking them to understand or reasoning that the youngest is little and to be nice or share is often asking too much from them. Hell, if we followed the same rules of amicability as adults my mother in law and I would be the best of best friends on planet earth!But you know, these phases come, and they go, and nothing works better than letting your older ones still be your baby! For some time, at least!
They don’t really love to hate me! (Or, I’m sincerely praying this isn’t an illusion I’ve been harboring)
Let’s just start by saying that this part of the blog post was written in the ‘Golden Hour’ when my youngest was napping and the older two were away at school. The thoughts expressed here are very different to the ones echoed when any mother is bleary eyed, oscillating in the middle of two worlds of consciousness and is yet to guzzle her first gallon of coffee! What I have really come to realize is that the small little ‘Mini Me’s’ have no other way to express their needs and desires and haven’t really quite understood the concept of an ‘appropriate hour’!
But jokes aside, and in all seriousness, they don’t really set out with a vendetta to get us all riled up and irritated. Or at least so I hope. They are perhaps trying to make sense of their environment in a way that they know best.And I know we’d all leap to their defense at any time. Well if not ‘leap’ then definitely rush.
Kids make for great conversationalists…at bedtime!
If you can really wrap your head around the fact that kids love to talk, then you can actually come to realize that they make for great conversationalists. But that conclusion is reached once you’ve actually braved the avalanche of words coming across your way at super sonic speed! My eldest was a late talker. And by God, has she made up in more ways than one for the months that she didn’t speak!
And, if like me you are slightly flexible with bed times and can extend that bed time hour by a few minutes then I’ve had some of the best conversations while they are snuggled into bed. The view they bring is actually very refreshing. Though they have at times leveraged these conversations to get me to make promises for ‘certain’ things!And views on this manner can bifurcate and deviate hugely from one another. Whilst I view my inflexible stern to the hilt sister in law as draconian she views my somewhat lenient views bohemian. So please feel free to take your pick!
Celery for breakfast, Broccoli for lunch and carrots for dinner!
I shall admit the above line is a tad bit over dramatized. But so were the morbid looks of shock and horror reflected on the faces of my sister in law and mother in law as I fed my toddler a scoop of ice-cream! You could be forgiven for thinking that I had perhaps offered my offspring the poisoned chalice! Suffices to say I lived, the toddler lived and no catastrophic, earth shattering, and life changing harm was committed. But that ‘look’ shall always stay with me!
I am in no way advocating that a child’s meal should be full of sugar and salt and all things junk. But neither should the pendulum be made to oscillate to the other extreme by banning all sugar and salt in entirety. A small bite of ice-cream will I’m sure cause no lasting damage!
Moderation is the key rather than complete expulsion. So, the next time we heard the bells of the ice-cream truck ring we chased it down. Who cares what the driver thought, it was the best fun run we’ve had!
And I’ve come to realize that the crux of the matter is that we’ve all taken our gene choices from the same damn gene pool and my kids and I are reflections of one another. The apple in this case fell quite close to or rather on top of the tree itself!