Tap, Tap... Is this thing on?

I know this is common to all children. Knowing it does not make me more patient. Why do I have to repeat myself, again and again and again? Ok, there's the language thing, but I use words that they know.

Ok, and I have a question for you seasoned veteran mothers out there. Were there battles that you fought for awhile and then decided were not worth it? What were they? What are the battles you always choose to fight?

This morning Yordi started asking about her "church cake". Church cake? YES, CHURCH CAKE!!! Then Y was all angry because I didn't understand "church cake". OH! Church cake! You mean the donut you didn't eat on Sunday? YES. Um, that's long gone sweetheart. Today is Wednesday. She then started yelling at me in Amharic and saying her latest unreasonable thing about "Yordanos no food? OK! OK!" So I put her in time-out. I set the kitchen timer for 5 minutes and walked away. She did stay in her seat, but I had to set the timer 4 more times for 5 minutes each before I got a real apology and a real hug. After a fake apology at the 10 minute mark, I demonstrated with Habtamu how it SHOULD look and sound.

Lee was reading on-line about time-in disciplines, and how before you can discipline un-attached children, you have to establish a touching routine... touch them 100 times a day or more. Just a little touch... pat on shoulder, gentle squeeze... even if they pull away. Been working on that today. Got some shoulder shrugs, and pulling away, but mostly I was sneaky and made it seem accidental. We'll see if it makes any difference... it's supposed to take a couple of weeks.

Went to the library this a.m. The kids did well. We got Air Bud (the first movie - we rented AirBud-World Pup earlier). Thank the good Lord it was in. We got it home and the sound didn't work. I called Lee at work, because things were going to go critical soon if the sound didn't work. I found the errant cord and all is now well in the basketball-playing-dog-world.


christophertadhankins said...

Air Bud... gotta love it. We've seen Air Buddies more times than i can count... it's the tale of Air Bud and his mistress... er, wife,... er, lady dog friend and their 6 adorable puppies, each with their own crazy names and "tricks".
Only this time, a couple of clueless dodos try to kidnap the dogs, and various scenes of hilarity ensue. Plus you get to see some kids get sprayed by a skunk and subsequently get a good bathing to rid the odor.
Yeah, it's a fun one. I mean, who doesn't love talking dogs?
And when they can play basketball, well then, you've got a real winner.
I would ramble for a bit about which battles to fight, but you asked for moms.. so I'll let Ann chime in. I'm usually the "heavy" in our house, so my perspective may not be what you're looking for!

Anonymous said...

It's Lynnea and I wouldn't say I've got the worlds best...well, semi-best...even well behaved kids...they are teenagers after all, but the phrase "choose your battles" absolutely MUST apply. If all you do is fight, you don't have time for the good stuff. Battles I choose... you may NOT disrespect me or your father is very high after safety. Now, let's define disrespect. For me to say, "Don't you DARE use that attitude with me!" is legitimate. To tell them, "I said SAY IT" may not be. You may be able to legislate that they apologize but you can't legislate that they mean it and it can easily escalate to a battle of wills that just makes them dig in more. Nobody wins those. If you're using 1, 2, 3 magic, it's OK to start at 2 when you've HAD it! At our house, they argue, fight etc but when I say 1 (or hold up 1 finger) I do get their attention. And if I get to 2 and am giving them "the look" silence usually ensues. However, if I do that every time they bug me...then they ignore it all. Oh, and sometimes, "you may not leave time out until you can be plesant" is an adequate goal. Sigh.
It's hard to find the line between "push over", "rules keeper" and "drill sergeant." You have to know what your buttons are and which ones are most important to you.
Practice makes...progress!

Anonymous said...

one other thing I thought of....it's OK for a kid to be angry...it's NOT ok to kick or punch a hole or call you names. But if they mutter under their breath (or in a different language) and don't out and out confront you (think umpires and referees) then it's not worth the battle. Sometimes ignoring them helps them deal with their own frustrations and removes the "hot" spot.

Ann said...

Love all those Air Bud movies...also we love Homeward Bound...funny b/c my kids really don't like dogs and cats in real life :-) Anywho....the repeating, and the repeating and oh...did I mention repeating....gets very, very old...sometimes I feel like I just talk to myself over and over. I do have certain things that I never cave in for and others that I allow myself a bit of wishy washiness....for sure safety...also I am not a fan of jumping on any kind of furniture--bed, couch or otherwise...so yes...it is no there (which is a hard one at other kids' houses where jumping is perfectly fine)....talking back or no respect for Chris and I is also one we never cave on...I try to give choices so they feel like they are making the decision....Parenting is sooo trial and error...you guys are doing great---seriously learning some tips from your posts! Can't wait to see you guys...we will be in church this Sunday after our summer hiatus!

Roscoe and Julia Richardson said...

Hi Gardners,

I you like to read some parenting books, I recommend Parenting with Love and Logic - my parents used these techniques when we were teenagers - I love it!! It is all about giving your child choices that are appropriate for their age level and development. It also emphasizes letting your children learn from their mistakes while mistakes don't cost too much (i.e. learn that if I stay up too late reading, I am tired at church or school, and mom won't let me stay home). It also helps eliminate some unnecesarry battles between parent and child. The child doesn't eat dinner? Well then, he must wait until breakfast for more food - no battles, just the facts of life. Kitchen is closed after diiner - a rummble in the tummy never hurt anyone.

Andrea said...

You've already had some good ideas about battles to pick, and battles to leave. Anything that involves serious safety issues (seatbelts, carseats, etc.) is non-negotiable. I also expect to be treated with respect, but like Lynnea said, you can't always make them mean what they say! That's more a heart issue that takes deeper work than discipline in the moment.

I don't fight battles about food. I have Asian friends who will follow their toddlers around the kitchen, begging them to eat a spoonful of food. I refuse to do this. I cook one thing, put it in front of everyone, and if they choose not to eat it, it's their choice, even if it means they will be hungry until the next meal or snack time. I give healthy snacks (fruit, whole grain crackers, etc.) at set times, and they can have these even if they did not finish the previous meal. I rarely serve a real dessert, but I do allow children who clean their lunch plates to have 3 M&Ms. That way the reward is not HUGE, but it is something they'll work a little harder for. Even Audrey, at age 8, still wants those 3 M&Ms! But I am also otherwise strict with candy...once a week, and the meal does have to be finished to earn it.

I think you're doing great, both of you!

kim said...

I found this on a blog from Haiti..thougtht it may explain why your kids threw the tooth on the roof...


Kim P.

Katherine said...

Respect is a big thing. They are also not allowed to lie to me (or daddy). Noe learned this the hard way last night. Safety issues are non-negotiable up to a point. You know, don't run with knives, don't hold your sister's head under the water in the pool, don't run out into the street. Some safety issues, though, you just have to let them learn the hard way. Kai, as you know, seems bound and determined to spend some time in the hospital. Or with a cast on. I try to keep his 'adventures' to a minimum, but there comes a point when I'm like, 'well, boys will be boys. They have to learn to grow up to be men, not girls.' I don't have as many problems with Noe with this (lying, yes, danger, not really). Sophia seems more into doing dangerous things like her big brother.
Food I don't let bother me much. I used to gripe (well, heck, I still do, let's be honest!) at Noe, because she takes FOREVER to eat. I'm trying really hard to not nag at her anymore. I set the timer instead. "Dinner is over, and I mean OVER, in 10 minutes, whether or not you still have food on your plate." That way, she has a time limit, and the control of food is on her shoulders. Takes stress away from me.
Messes are a sore point with me too. I like to keep the house clean, and messes bug me (a lot). I am trying really hard to not nag so much about that. Better is, "if you make a mess, you are responsible for cleaning it up, not me" That helps a lot. They are also starting to learn to clean the floor with me (vacuum, wash, pick up toys), as there are so many crumbs on the floor after just one day, you'd think we just slopped our food right there on the floor and ate off of it.
Anyway, that's it for now. You just need to pick your battles. Try to insist and fight on the things that really matter to you/the kids, and don't worry so much about the rest.