Saturday, April 11, 2009

On Cleaning and Consequences

So...a few things to talk about here. First, don't fall over, but I went on a cleaning spree. I got rid of all kinds of clutter on my main floor, I did laundry, I cleaned bathrooms, I mopped floors, I was an animal. What is up with that? I hate cleaning and I usually feel so unmotivated to do it. I mean, if you could clean and it would STAY clean, that would be one thing, but it always gets messy again and it drives me nuts. It makes me feel like my attempts at cleanliness are futile. I mean, why bother when in 20 minutes or less it will just be a mess again?

Nevertheless, I went crazy cleaning. I am hoping to keep up the momentum. But friends keep telling me it is a pms thing. Or a full moon. So it will probably not last. But for now I will ride the wave. I will make use of my manic cleaning behavior while I can.

Speaking of cleaning, Christopher is in BIG trouble with Daddy. He had a friend over for a dinnertime playdate. That won't be happening again anytime soon. I was asleep (had to work tonight) and didn't see what happened...and didn't want to look when the yelling and crying began. Apparently Christopher and his friend thought it would be a good idea to destroy furniture and make a HUGE mess in our play room throwing around toys and stuff. This is an ongoing issue for our middle child. He just joins in when his friends start trashing things. He doesn't stop them or say anything to us.

How does one teach a young child about respecting their home? They don't understand the work that goes into maintaining a home. Perhaps he will learn as he spends his morning tomorrow cleaning the playroom by himself. Daddy was very adamant that he would be doing that tomorrow morning. And I think that is exactly right. The natural consequence of making a huge mess is that you have to clean it up. It's just exhausting arguing with young children about follow through. You know as a parent you have to follow through, but it's just so aggravating to have to. But you do it no matter how aggravating otherwise you raise kids who are out of control and show no respect.

The other issue we are currently struggling with is lying. My son thought it was okay to tell a nurse who called out house the other day that I was not home. This was most definitely a lie and I don't know how to break him of doing these things. I keep explaining that if I cannot trust him that he won't be allowed certain priveledges like riding his bike up and down the street with his sister. But this is tough because you can never really know if you cure them of lying. You can only hope that you do. My daughter never lies as far as I can tell. But maybe she's just better at not getting caught. You never can be 100% sure.

On a positive note, my daughter got her report card and is on her third consecutive term of straight A's. Not only is this good, but she also gets wonderful comments about her conduct and the amount of effort she puts into her work. It's terrific. She is developing some good study habits and I am so proud of her. Her daddy keeps joking around with her about how his parents never saw report cards from him that were this good. She is a high honors student and we are so proud of her.

Which brings me back to my son. I am proud of him too. He is a good boy. He behaves in school, he gets good grades, and he is so smart. I don't want to compare the two of them and make him feel like he is not as good as his sister. He is. He justs needs some help learning proper behavior. He's only 5 1/2 for crying out loud. Boy I hope that that is what I am conveying to him. I don't want to go too easy on him, but I also don't want him to feel he can't be good. He really is a good kid.

My youngest is so imaginative. He is emotional, fiery, and creative. I love him so much. My heart wanted to break today because he decided not to eat his lunch. He was told that if he didn't eat he couldn't have ice cream...well,he preferred to play. When his siblings got their ice cream and he didn't get his he was devastated. He sat down on the floor, refused to sit in a chair and said, "I don't love you. I don't want my new shoes." He then proceeded to cry the most heartbreaking cry you had ever heard. I wanted to give in, but I held fast. He has had the most difficult time accepting that rules are rules and it is more important with him than the other two to make the rules be the rules.

I couldn't tell him how much I sympathized with him. I needed him to feel the sting of his choices. But oh, how sad I did feel. I know how much he wanted to play. So I harden my heart and hope that this is the last time I have to endure this scene, knowing that it most likely isn't.

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