Thursday, February 26, 2009

Doom, Gloom, But No Monsters Please

I should have known it was going to rain today. My morning began it's unnecessary gloom and doom at 5 am.

Ate decided to wake up at 5 am, which does not happen often. Of course I kicked Hun out of bed (his stupid Blackberry alarm was about to go off anyway). Ate asked right away,
"wanna go in Mommy's bed"

This is easier said than done, because between Mommy and her belly, there is just not a lot of "Ate" room available.

I thought he may have woken because of his issue - the issue of being "anal retentive" etc.... But when he got into my bed he was asking me if the monsters are still in the basement.
(Remind me to thank his sisters for that one.)

I assured him that there were no monsters in the basement or anywhere else and he best be falling back asleep if he knew what was good for him.

After over an hour of hearing him singing "row row row your boat" and being subjected to his conversation about "helicotters" and "agilators", he finally realized that he left his small airplane (his current choice of bedtime toy) in his crib, and asked for it. I took this as an opportunity, and negotiated. He could have his airplane, only in his crib. He agreed to these terms.

However, I soon realized that this would have me stuffing myself under his crib again to locate the airplane, in the darkness of early morn, in a place where his bedtime toys tend to go to die. I tried my damnedest to reach for this small airplane across the width of the crib, but I needed a miracle.

And, Hallelujah, my hand stretched enough to avoid becoming nothing less than an encased sausage, and I got that plane. And at 6:10 - Ate was back in his bed. Of course, I now had only 50 more short minutes to get some shut eye. This ended up being about 35, when I could hear So jumping around downstairs. And when I hauled my exhausted self out of bed at 7 am, Ate was still awake and crying for that friggin' airplane again. At least this time it was more easily attainable on the outside of the crib. I handed it to him and hoped he would get a good hour and a half of sleep because he has school at 9 am.

Now on to So... She has carpool coming at around 8 am. I went through my morning routine with her and Ro and at 7:55, she was getting her stuff on to wait at the door. Carpool driver today is my neighbor, so she picks So up first. At 7:56, So lays it on me...

"My teacher said, we should bring a PURIM* book or story to school if we want, so I want to bring the one I just took out of the library..."

(*Purim is an upcoming holiday full of joy and delight. It is chock full of sweets and treats and kids dress up in costume)

Here are the problems I had at this moment...

1. I am not a morning person and I have limited patience in the morning.

2. I just had a whole talk with So yesterday about responsibility and not waiting until the last moment to inform Mommy about needing wanting things for school, when she waited until the last minute to tell me she needed 100 of something to celebrate the 100th day of school, and then cried when I gave her 100 cheerios (because I did not have 100 lollipops or dollar bills in the house - imagine that).

3. I am sooo not a morning person and I have waning patience in the morning.

4. The library book she wanted to take TO school, actually just came home FROM the school library, but the child in question is So. The same girl who is on her fourth pair of mittens this season. She also has "MISPLACED" library books in the past, which I was asked to reimburse the library for. And in addition, has lost her wallet that contains her Chicago Public Library Card. If I send the book to her classroom, I can no longer expect to see it.

5. Did I mention that I am just chock full of patience in the morning because I loooooooooove mornings?

I decided that I needed to stick my ground to teach her some valuable lessons. She needs to inform Mommy earlier, if something requires preparation. And she needs to know the difference between items she can afford to take chances with and items that are not hers to take risk of loss with. And about a moment after I said, "no - you can go to school without a book today and we can find one from our house for a different day" carpool had arrived, and So erupted.

She sat on the entrance bench, tears flowing, adamantly refusing to go out the door to her carpool. My focus was solely on getting So out the door without giving in to her demands, and not on the poor carpool driver who was waiting patiently to move on with the ride. (It was not so difficult to ignore my lovely carpool friend, because I had gone through this with her daughter pretty much every single one of my carpool days for the last two years.)

I could have taken the easy way out and just handed her the book, but I had a lesson to teach, and she was going to learn it.

It felt like an eternity, but it was probably not more than two minutes. I had to break out the leverage "If you do not go to school, you will miss your friends' birthday, pool party..." I watched her walk down the front stoop, still crying, my poor So.

As soon as I closed the door, the guilt set in, and the second guessing hit me like , like, like, that damn Blackberry alarm every morning.

Was I being too hard on her?

Was this at all about my exhausted, moody, pregnant - morning induced lack of patience?

Was I really teaching her any valuable lessons?

Was I more abrupt because it was bad timing, due to carpool lady giving me the stink eye?

It is so hard to know when we should let things go and when we should "pick the fight". I do want to teach my children life's lessons. These are the lessons that will ultimately have her being respectful of other people's time and frankly, other people's belongings. She is only six, but then again, if I do not start young - I will be growing some monsters. (And I already told Ate there are no monsters in this house.)

I think the reason it is so hard to know if we are making the right decisions when it comes to discipline and teaching life's lessons, is because there is rarely any instant gratification. It can take months, sometimes years until we realize that all our hard work that many times comes with immeasurable guilt has actually proven successful, when we see our children behaving in ways that make us proud.

My guilt did not last long. I received a text message from my friend who drove carpool, that So stopped crying just after she got into the car.

I do not have all the answers, but I do know this...


3 have shown Orah a little love:

Heidi @ Tayterjaq's Rebels said...

Good for you for sticking to your guns. I am usually rather harsh with the kids in situations like that but then end up feeling guilty afterwards and wondering if I did the right thing. It's good to know that parents who are so much nicer than me do these things too. Thanks!

Susie said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog today and leaving such sweet comments! I hope to see you back there soon:-)

Anonymous said...

You did the right thing by So, for sure!! Not sure if I would have been able to do that, I would have given her the book, especially if carpool was a honkin! However, if the book was a library book, maybe not....
Ate is so cute, even if he does wake u up at the crack o dawn. Seems like he has u wrapped around his little finger, and after meeting him , I can see why!
-Miss S.