Thursday, January 19, 2012

At least I won't be alone

It was later in the evening. A Sunday. Close to the beginning of the bedtime routine. Anna and Allie were arguing over something trivial. Not physically arguing. Verbally.

"It's summer."

"No. It's winter."

"No. It's summer."

"No. It's- AAAAAAA..."

Anna was holding her shoulders and crying. Allie had apparently grabbed the back of Anna's shirt and twisted it, which hurt and left red marks on Anna's shoulders. Allie knew that I was not happy with her behavior. I picked her up, marched up the stairs with her in my arms and deposited her on her bed.

At this age, I don't feel that a simple time out is effective with my children. Placing the girls in time out creates a negative attention type of situation so I have modified it. I remove the offending child from the area and tell her that I am upset/angry with her behavior. Shortly after I brought Allie upstairs, she appeared downstairs and I could tell that she was still fired up. By this time, we all had to head upstairs for the girls' baths.

In order to clear yourself of a wrongdoing in our house, you need to do the following:
  1. Tell me what you did wrong.
  2. Tell me why it was wrong.
  3. Give a heartfelt apology to the person(s) who was hurt.
As I was bathing Emily, I could hear Allie coming out of crazy mode. Although it may seem like non-parenting, I usually do not keep bringing the child back to the removal area. So while I could have told Allie to remain on her bed, I felt that this would have caused her to act up even more resulting in the negative attention situation. I wanted her to return to normal Allie mode and she did.

During Allie's bath, we discussed how she had hurt Anna and why that was wrong. She was completely calm and it was a good discussion. She had also been told that if she didn't clear herself of the wrongdoing, she wouldn't be able to participate in story time that night. A punishment I have never had to follow through with. As I was drying her off, I said, "You know, Allie, Mommy and Daddy aren't always going to be here. I need to know that you are going to help Anna if she needs help when we're not around."

Oh, how I wish there was a re-do option in life.

Allie pouted before a few tears rolled down her cheeks. Why did I open my big oversensitive mouth? It turns out that she thought I meant that we wouldn't always be living in this house. Crisis diverted. She told me that she would live in the house next to us and recovered when I told her that I would really like that. I don't know how her future husband would feel about it but I would like it.

And then Emily joined the conversation. When she learned that Allie would be living next door to my hypothetical future home, she squeeze-hugged me while telling me that she was always going to live with me. You think I would have learned my lesson. But no. "Well, one day I will probably be living in a nursing home. Are you going to live there with me?" Yes. Yes, she will.

Allie ran out into the hall and hugged Anna to the point that Anna was clearly afraid of losing her balance and all order was restored. A temporary achievement.


Tina said...

Aww! I'm sure we have all said things that we totally regret to our kids. For example, my oldest daughter (who turned 5 today) was overheard saying the following things today:
"I am just so frigging mad that this bow broke!" (about the bow on her new build-a-bear).
"You just make me CRAZY! I just don't know what to do with you!" (said to her 2 year old sister when she was frustrated with her).

Yep. Totally need to watch what I say and how I talk to my kids from now on. ;)

Jan said...

You are definitely on the right track with the offender and offendee. Just a small word of advice from a mom of triplets (teenagers) plus 2 others. I have always gone to same route - know what you did, why it was wrong, and apologize. But I learned from another mom when my oldest was still young. Another step is necessary. The offendee is required to offer "forgiveness" because I feel that is just as important. I'm not saying there haven't been "I'm sorry" and "I forgive you" through clinched teeth, but they do all know forgiveness for the ones we love if they make a mistake is important too. Just my two cents. Love your blog! We moved from MA a couple of months ago to Utah and your blog reminds us of home.

Rachel said...

Awesome post. Your girls are absolutely adorable, but kids can be challenging! You seem like a wonderful Mom :) Following now!

Wiley said...

Love this post. Life and success are made of those temporary achievements.

Tara said...

how adorable! I really like your removal but not negative attention!