Wednesday, September 29, 2010

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Eating bonbons and watching Oprah

Today is my birthday. We have a running joke at the Monster House that this is the day I will sit on my Ben and Jerry appreciating butt, eat bonbons and watch Oprah. Since my birthday is now plastered all over facebook, there is no point in trying to pretend it doesn't exist anymore.

Now. You know and I know that in reality what I will be doing is the same thing I do every day. Kids to school, twinnies fed, changed 400 times, played with, laundry washed ( if it's a good day I will tackle the Matterhorn of clean laundry and fold, iron, and hang it. The fam will have a stroke!), and all that jazz. If it is an EXTREMELY good day, I might even get to take a shower!

My gift to myself is the discussion on facebook that I've been promoting~  taking a time out from the kids. So.. that's what I'll write about a little bit. As much as I love the monsters, and heaven knows they are my reason for living, they out number me. They figured out this fact years ago, and have learned how to present a united front whenever I ask them to do something they are opposed to... such as their daily chores. I have the most stubborn group of children in the free world. Though it's most likely hereditary on the mother's side, I choose to ignore that possibility. They do not care that there will be consequences for not doing chores. Losing privileges does not faze them. Being grounded is "so last year".

Corporal punishment in our home is extremely rare. Most often, they receive help sessions.  Because the misbehaving little monsters I speak of are 10,12, 14, and 16, time outs are inadequate and ineffective.  I was ready to yank out my own hair trying to figure out how to make an impression on the little darlings a few years ago. I was in the home of a friend for some reason I've since forgotten, and one of her children was  misbehaving badly. She looked at the child not unkindly and quietly said two words. "Help session." The child looked like they had just been told to line up for execution by guillotine. And then the most amazing thing I have ever seen happened. The child calmly and quietly walked to the middle of the room and stood there. That's it! No back talk, no whining or crying or begging for mercy.

A help session, you see, is when a child stands in the middle of a room or doorway where there is nothing to lean on. No one is allowed to talk to the child on the help session. The child is not allowed to speak. They may not dance or run in place. They just have to stand there. A help session lasts one minute for each year of life. Help sessions at the Monster House are different only because my children have not yet learned (after 4 years?!?!?) not to whine and cry and ask when it's going to be over.... offenses which result in an extra minute for each complaint. They typically run 20-30 minutes.... each. I just don't get it. If they would just be quiet, life as they know it would be SO much easier!

Following help sessions, I earn my user name. I am frazzled. I am ready for Calgon to take me away. I am begging Ed McMahon to come and tell me I won so I can hire a medically trained babysitter and take off to Vegas for the weekend. 

THIS is why parents need time outs upon occasion. It's not that every day life isn't stressful. It is. But most of us can muddle through. It's when fun little extras happen.. like my #5 monster telling his kindergarten teacher she was an idiot yesterday, or when he got mad today,peed on the nursery TV and killed it.  This was catastrophic because Logan has to have the moving lights, music and sounds to sleep. It's going to be a fun night.

When the older monsters were very young, say, in the 2-8 year old span, I used to stand in the middle of the living room and scream into a pillow when things got rough. The mini monsterlettes thought that was great fun. They were forever saying " Tow a fit, momma, tow a fit!" I stopped doing that when one of them tried to smother me in my sleep because they wanted to see my face turn red again.

I began using the bathroom as my space. I'd lock the door and just sit on the side of the tub for a few minutes until I could remember my native language... minus all the four letter words. Then the monsterlettes learned to pick the lock.

That's about the time I learned that the only time I was ever going to have to myself is between the hours of 3am and 6am. It remains true. Little monsterlettes wake up and need a fresh diaper or a sippy refill or a potty break or a snuggle after a nightmare until about 3. Then... it's quiet and pleasant and blissfully free of " SHE'S BOTHERING ME!" and "Well, HE started it!" and " Mother, make this....infant... behave!" This last from the 16 year old monster referring to her one and only sister, who is ten.

Parents NEED time outs. It's not a bad thing. It's not an admission of weakness. Think of it as more of an.... effort to preserve your offspring's continuation of life. Yeah.... that's it! ;)

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to create time for your own time outs, come up with ideas/places for your time outs, implement them....and if you're REALLY ambitious, come to the discussion on the blog's facebook


Sarah said...

Oh gosh, that gave me a good laugh. It's obvious you love your chaos, thank goodness. :D I hope you do get some Mommy Me Time, preferably in an hour that wouldn't be better spent snoozing. Happy bday!

Caryn said...

Thank you for the birthday greeting! I'm so glad you enjoyed the blog today. I will be getting some Mommy Me time later tonight when the Daddy gets home. I know this because I threatened him with "very bad things" if it doesn't happen! ;)

Caeseria said...

And happy birthday a day late!!!!

"Tow a fit, momma!" This sends me into hysterical giggles.
A few weeks ago, my three-year-old son, after a prolonged and difficult day, "corrected his attitude" (there's a phrase he's been hearing a lot lately) during dinner, which had started unpleasantly but ended on a very good note. I told him that since he had corrected his attitude so nicely, he could have a cookie for dessert. He then said, "And you cowwected YOU attitude, Mommy!"
Death stare. Several deep breaths. He still got his cookie. He did have a point, my attitude had been lousy as well (because of his, in my defense, because of his! LOL), and it wasn't said with any snark whatsoever, he felt he was paying me a genuine and encouraging compliment... as only a three-year-old can.

Caryn said...

I love it! and thank YOU .. for the birthday greeting AND the giggle.

Tam said...

Okay this is months late, but I gotta ask, did you get yourself a cookie Caesaria?!

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