Thursday, April 26, 2012

Doing What Doesn't Work






I know exactly what works when it comes to disciplining my children. Being down at their level, placing my hand on their tiny shoulder, looking them in the eye and using a firm, quiet voice. They love it. It makes them feel safe, they understand my words, my tone and my body language. They know what will happen if they still choose to be disobedient. A consequence will follow - whether it be time out, the removal of a toy or a sticker off the chart. It works almost every time.

When my patience is running out, I make sure I communicate that to them clearly by saying something along the lines of 'mummy is finding this very frustrating, you need to listen to my words or i'm going to have to use my cranky voice*'.


I know it works, and when i'm at my very best- I use the technique consistently. But I'm human so there are many variables. A poor nights sleep, a broken down crappy old car that needs repairing, and a house that is seldom clean for longer than thirty seconds made me irritable today.

When Lady Baby fell asleep in the car after a beautiful morning at the park, I was relieved. I then zoomed a few more laps around the block in the hope that Zeph might follow suit. He did not, instead he woke the sleeping tot a mere ten minutes into her slumber. That was all the sleep enjoyed by anyone here at The Beetle Shack today, 10 minutes. It wasn't nearly enough when spread between the 3 of us.

Naturally, I forgot to act like an adult and interacted with my children as if I were one of them (are you ever aware of doing this, it's so ridiculous). I whined and snapped when they did, thus perpetuating the vicious cycle.

It wasn't happy.

After finally getting Lady Baby to sleep,  I ordered the Young Man 'to the bath' with outstretched arm and pointed finger. Moments later I followed him in there to see a fully clothed young man, in the bath.

Completely defeated, I joined him. And there we sat together, he and I. Soaking wet amongst the bath toys slowing undoing the damage of an unpleasant afternoon. We talked about sharks, dolphins and whales with gills and when it was time to get out he tantrumed again but the cycle did not continue.








*My tender hearted Young Man hates the cranky voice. He recoils and cries almost every time he hears it- once he has composed himself and mustered the courage he responds with 'mum, don't speak like dat to me- I don't wike it when you say dat'

29 comments:

  1. Oh I hate No Sleep Days, and thank goodness my 3 year old still naps like a legend. My cranky voice comes out far too often these days (husband working far too many late nights) and both the kids hate it. One thing my daughter specialised in for far too long was waking her little brother on return to the house when he'd fallen asleep on the drive. I hated that so much. Hope all goes well for the rest of the evening x

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  2. Olive is such a little lady now! Gorgeous. xo

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  3. That bath sounds divine! It breaks my heart when olive says Are you being nice to me now, I don't like it when you use your loud voice. Heart. Broken. Bad. Mum. Kellie xx

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  4. Well done you for hopping in the bath and undoing the damage. New day tomorrow for you all - hope it is one filled with laughter and sleeps!

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  5. oh man em u just had me in stiches with zephie and the bath... ahhh sometimes all you can do is laugh. Glad it broke the cycle x

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  6. I had a shitty day too. One of those ones where you think you never get anything right, so why bother?its even worse on the days you feel like that about parenting. Your bath sounds fun... Imma try it sometime xx

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  7. i love that you got in the bath with him! classic memory right there. and on a side not your little lady is looking extra cute there.

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  8. Oh Em, I so hear you. My bad days have been way too many lately - you're right, interacting with my children like I'm one of them is ridiculous. I see my lack of control and moments of anger coming out in my children and it's breaking my heart. Thanks for the reality check - sometimes it feels like a losing battle and you just need someone to make eye contact and say, "It's worth it."
    PS: Your Zeph sounds like a cool kid.

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  9. I could kick myself ever time I forget to be civil. It's hardto always have tobe the grown-up, especially when buttons are being thumped. Love that you were in the bath - that's the kind of free-spirit I wish I was! x

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  10. oh i know that feeling-awful isn't it!? You end up giving yourself the am guilty sensation as when you were 10 and a parent said 'I am disappointed in your behaviour!"...we are only human

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  11. Oh yes. Bad days. a major piece in the puzzle of parenthood.

    So glad you jumped in - waving the white flag is sometimes all that is needed;)

    xx

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  12. Tomorrow is a new day, with new hope and promise! Shrug off today and let it be, being a Mommy isn't always easy! x

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  13. We all lose our tempers with our kids sometimes but we don't all get in the bath with our clothes on! You're a very special Mum and your kids are really lucky. Thanks for reminding me to lighten up! Rachel x

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  14. 10 minutes!? Hats off to you for even surviving the day.
    You are such an awesome mum to have jumped in as well. Seriously, I don't think I would've even thought of that!
    Big hug to you Em.
    Ronnie xo
    p.s. Honestly, I think I behave like one of the kids every other day. What does that say about me?

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  15. This made me smile, you know. You are a good mumma, and it shines through even in what you think are your "worst" days. What a wonderful story :) xx

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  16. I am doing what doesn't work on a minutely basis over here. Thanks for the remminder that sometimes you just have to break the funk with something as remote as jumping in the bath fully clothed. Your small man will no doubt remember that forever!

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  17. I'm cranky mum most days... I'm just so bloody tired at the moment. Its not their fault. Humpf... gonna take a bath with my clothes on. And dream I am a whale x

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  18. Hahaha! I totally hear you and feel you here lady.

    Your day is similar to my harder days. And yes, us grown ups have our own temper tantrums.

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  19. If you cant beat em, join em Em! The stuff of family folklore, i suspect your son won't forget it in a hurry. Just goes to show a great day can be salvaged from a horrible day at any stage, love it x

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  20. Hi Em, this post made smile and wince - 10 minutes sleep ouch! No one except other mothers of small children can possibly begin to understand how golden the time is during the day when children nap. Taking a bath was a very good comeback.

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  21. in my experience, kindness is a mother's most powerful weapon.
    (i'm useless at figuring how to use it when i don't FEEEEEL like it though....because it's just so much easier to act like a kid! ha)
    keep rockin it lady
    X

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  22. Had one of those days this week, except the boys couldn't even manage 10 minutes sleep. I think I behaved worse than them by the end of the day, and nop I didn't get in the bath with them. I'll try and think of that next time....! If I can see past my fury....

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  23. Thank you SO much for this post! A) nice to feel I'm not the only one, ESP. this week, in which both Eleanor and I have behaved like toddlers (difference is, she actually IS one), and B) because it's a nice reminder that there is a different way around bad behavior... Today we went on a special family outing, kept it calm and peaceful and lovely, and there were NO tantrums! Win!

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  24. Being a Mum can be exhausting. Sometimes I have a "kiddie fit" and it just escalates. I love how you washed it away. Precious.

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  25. Oh i'll gloss right over the challenge of wits, personalities & defiance, with 'my daughter has that same sweet blue & white Country Dress & it always looks like perfection on her', love Posie

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  26. I hear you. This post was a good reminder to keep my cool with my daughter, yelling begets more yelling!

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  27. We all have these days. Deep breaths x

    ...And a bath fully clothed. Of course.

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  28. Oh Em, you're such a beautiful Mama. 10 minutes nap time is just horrible. I can totally see how you felt ripped off... how everyone felt ripped off. I use my cranky voice way too often of late and I really hate it. It's not the kind of Mama I want to be. Underneath all the craziness, I do have two very loving, sensitive little boys... but it's just so easy for them to be, well... boys! A great post hun xo

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  29. A 10 minute nap is never a good thing, for anyone! They somehow wake up crankier than when they went to sleep.
    I have lately been losing my temper a lot in the chaos of a half painted house and not being able to move without tripping over things.
    Thanks for the reminder to stop and take a breath and get rid of my cranky voice.
    Hope today was a lovely big nap day for you.

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Thanks so much for your words of encouragement, advice and solidarity.

xo em