A table for six with two high chairs please.
“Mom, can I have a milkshake?”
Sure. Order the Jr. Shake. (I realize afterward it would have been wiser to order one regular shake and split it between the two of them.)
A couple of burgers and sandwiches are ordered. Twins are given goldfish to appease them until their meals arrive.
Ok, girls. We brought you here for a FAMILY MEETING.
Their heads snap to attention and their eyes get big.
We’ve never done this before. This must be serious.
We need to talk about the way you have been behaving toward us and each other. We are a family. A family that needs to show each other respect.
We can’t have you yelling at each other. Or talking back to us. The eye rolling, feet stomping, door slamming, hitting, biting, all of that… it stops NOW.
You are already grounded for two weeks. You’ve lost privileges. That is non negotiable. It’s done.
Here’s the thing.
WE. DON’T. LIKE. IT. EITHER!
We don’t like it when you are grounded. We don’t like to have to ground you. But we can’t have you acting like the rules don’t matter. You have responsibilities around the house. You have responsibilities with your school work. And you have responsibilities as our children and as sisters. You can’t go around treating everyone around you like garbage.
If things continue the way they are, we won’t be taking you to soccer and drama and girl scouts.
You might even have to change schools.
Their eyes get even bigger and their lips start to move in protest.
So let’s talk about how you’re going to change things so you can continue to do the fun things. So you don’t keep getting grounded. Let’s set the standards. What are you going to change?
I have no idea if it’s going to work. But I had the crazy idea of Family Meeting to take place at a neutral location of Denny’s. Where we could command attention. Where there would be no talking back, yelling, or stomping off to their bedrooms. I think we might continue having them down the line.
The last few days have been better. Not perfect, of course. But the standards are set.
Heaven help us raising these girls. We’re just doing the best we can.
Sometimes I get the feeling that I’m doing it wrong.
All my life, I knew I wanted to be a mother. And don’t misunderstand, I love it. But, you know how people always say that it gets better once you get past whatever stage they’re in? Teething, Not sleeping through the night, potty training, terrible twos, and on and on. The next stage is always hard too!
I ask my mom, What the hell? These kids!
And she laughs. Because she knows!
The talking back, yelling, slamming doors. Oh, and my favorite, “FINE!” stomping off in the other direction.
Not me, them. (Ok, maybe me. Once.)
I’m just trying to do what I think is best here and sometimes, I just don’t know. It’s all so frustrating! Why can’t they just do what they’re supposed to?
Because, they’re kids, Lex. I tell myself.
They’re trying to push limits. They don’t naturally just do what they’re supposed to, they do what they feel like doing.
They get distracted.
They make mistakes.
They get emotional.
They test their limits.
They’re little humans, not robots.
But man, I wish they had a reset button sometimes.
I think we all could use a reset button, actually. Mine would instantly place me in a warm bubbling jacuzzi tub with a glass of wine in my hand.
It’s a dance. A death defying balancing act between indulgence and discipline. Many times, I feel like we teeter too close to the edge. And back to school time is always a huge adjustment.
I’m their mom. I want to do things for them. I want to take care of them. It’s my job to nurture them.
At the same time, I AM their mom. It’s my job to raise them so that they learn to take care of themselves. And become responsible for themselves. And that means they need to have consequences for not doing their part.
Lately, it’s been especially tricky.
“I hate you!” “It’s not fair!” “I should just live somewhere else!” “Leave me alone!” “It’s MY life!” “But, MOM!” “It’s not my fault!” “I didn’t do it!”
The glares. The silent treatments. The crossed arms and stomping feet. The new one, the chest out aggressive motion as though she’s going to punch.
The lectures. The groundings. The extra chores. The taking of privileges.
Where’s the damn reset button?
Seven is the age of Kidhood. Where the traces of little girl are fading. The baby teeth smile is a thing of the past. And the time has come where she wants to do and say things that are classified as Big Kid.
She sings along to songs on the radio, the lyrics flying out of her mouth that she hs no connection to their actual meaning.
Turn it back, Dad, that’s my song!
“And all the other boys,
Try to chase me,
But here’s my number,
So call me, maybe?”
She talks about boys at school in terms of which one is her crush and which one has a crush on her.
She picks out what she wants to wear and tells me that she won’t wear that one dress because it’s too babyish.
She says, oh I’ll do my makeup in the car, as she rushes out the door holding her lipgloss.
She selects her meal and places the order with the waiter herself with a big proud smile.
She still says her R’s like W’s but she’s trying hard to fix that. And though I know she needs to speak correctly, I’m going to miss the days when she would say Best Day Evuh!
She’s the middle kid and is trying so hard to be grown like her big sister but still wants to be babied like the twins.
Today, for her birthday we had a Mommy – Gabi day. I took her to the mall to Build-A-Bear and then to lunch at BJ’s.
At dinner, my family came over and we had pizza and cake. Just as she wanted.
Before bed, she said she had the best day and her favorite part was the time she spent with me.
I’m so proud and amazed by my Gabi. My spunky kid.
We are still going to have a party with her friends in a few weeks. But today was just about her.
She wore the hugest smile and I was so glad I took the day off of work to spend with her.
Lately I haven’t been sleeping well. I go to bed later and later. And am getting fewer hours of sleep than is healthy.
I have to get up by 6 at the latest and because of my night owl ways, I push it to the last possible snooze.
Sara is turning into a night owl too. It’s almost 11 and she just now closed her eyes.
This can’t go on or it will more seriously affect me.
It’s been a good 3 years since I’ve had good sleep on a consistent basis.
It doesn’t help that we are in need of a new mattress. Just as time had flown by and I’ve suddenly got a middle school daughter, I’ve got a tween mattress too.
My sleep sucks as well as my hips and back suffering from this tired bed.
Seriously, I need to fix this sleep situation. I can’t be a zombie during the day, I need to function at work. Caffeine might help me get my job done, but not so much at night.
It’s a horrible cycle.
I need to make a change.
But right now I’m taking this sleepy girl to her crib in hopes that I sleep the whole night through. She still wakes up crying from her crib in the middle of the night about half the time. But that’s better than me waking up with a kick to my head.
Plus I need to cuddle with my honey now and then.