Keeping the dream alive

October 12, 2010 at 6:44 am 4 comments

I have a dream.

My dream is to have an entire day – okay, let’s start a little less lofty, like maybe an entire hour – where I don’t have to nag, plead, cajole, demand, or otherwise impose my will upon my children.

I spend entire days trying to convince a three-year-old and a seventeen-month-old to do things they don’t want to do, to behave in ways they don’t want to behave, to become civilized little people instead of unkempt, unruly, undisciplined hooligans.

It’s exhausting, doing all of that.  Consider our daily (sort of) routine:

AM

  • Breakfast.  Tell Ashley that throwing waffles on the floor is not in her best interests.  Remind Alissa that goldfishes are not, in fact, a breakfast food.
  • Getting dressed.  Get Ashley’s jammies and nighttime diaper off, only to have her take off running the moment she’s naked.  Chase her down and proceed with planned clothing.  Go to my happy place during Alissa’s tantrum when I tell her she can’t wear a Cinderella costume to the grocery store.  Or a summer sundress.  Acquiesce to a princess tiara with suitable fall play clothing.
  • Brushing teeth. Pull out Lecture #231 – “Little Girls Who Don’t Brush Their Teeth Eventually End Up with No Teeth” – for Alissa.  This is repeat performance #?  I’ve lost count.
  • Getting ready to go.  Tell Alissa she needs to put on her shoes.  Put shoes on Ashley.  Look over to Alissa, only to find she is contemplating the meaning of life in the velcro of her shoe.  This must be what she’s doing, because she’s staring at it as if it is speaking to her in some way.  Nudge her along.  Look over to Ashley only to see her taking her shoes back off.  Sigh heavily.
  • Getting ready to go, part 2.  Head out the door to the car, only to smell something emanating from Ashley’s pants just as I get them both buckled in.  Unbuckle, return to house, rediaper.  Repeat the shoe-putting-on with Ashley.  Again.
  • Grocery store.  Endure Ashley’s screaming from produce clear over to frozen section, all because I won’t give her a yogurt to hold.  Which reminds me, my happy place really needs some decorations or something.

NOON-ISH

  • More clothes.  While playing outside, Ashley has managed to sit in a puddle.  Undress her, only to have her take off running the moment she’s naked.  Chase her down and proceed with planned clothing.  Can I get credit for marathon training or something with all this kid chasing I’m doing?
  • Lunch.  Tell Ashley that throwing cheese and grapes on the floor is not in her best interests.  Remind Alissa that she is not having cake for lunch, no matter how much she asks for it.
  • Preschool.  Yay!!  It’s time for preschool!  Give Alissa a heads-up at least five minutes prior to leaving time so she has plenty of time to put her shoes on.  Realize that she works better under pressure when five minutes later she is still a one-shoe-on kind of girl.

AFTERNOON

  • THE GOLDEN HOUR.  Alissa’s at preschool.  Ashley is sleeping.  The silence is beautiful.  And way too brief.

PM

  • Outside time.  Tell the girls I will take them to the park, if they will give me five minutes to check my email.  Translated in kid-speak, this means I will take them to the park immediately, don’t pass go, don’t collect $200.  Since they are mad at me, they take it out on each other by wrestling over a toy.  High-pitched screaming ensues.  (It was theirs.  Not mine.  I think.)
  • At the park.  Sternly remind Alissa that sand is for pouring in the bucket, not on Ashley’s head.  Listen to pleading, crying, and gnashing of teeth when we have to leave the park early because it is starting to rain.
  • Dinner.  Tell Ashley that throwing ham on the floor is not in her best interests.
  • Baths.  Fortunately, getting the girls into the bath is the easy part.  Getting them out, however, is not so simple.  Negotiate “one more minute” with Alissa at least three times.
  • Bed.  Negotiate Alissa’s demand for five stories down to three.  Pull out Lecture #231.A – “Little Girls Who Don’t Brush Their Teeth Eventually End Up With No Teeth and I’m Tired and I’m Not Happy and BRUSH ALREADY, WOULD YA?”

Maybe it’s not possible to manage the chaos.  Maybe it’s only possible to manage my reaction to it.  Maybe I’m expecting too much from them – for them to do what I ask them to do, when I ask them to do it, the first time I ask them to do it.

Or maybe, I’ll just keep trying again tomorrow.  Maybe one of these days it will stick.  And I’ll have an hour – no, maybe a whole day – when I don’t have to nag, plead, cajole, demand, or otherwise impose my will upon my children.

Here’s to keeping the dream alive.

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Entry filed under: Life in general.

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Vicki Ejibe  |  October 12, 2010 at 6:56 am

    I know that I will be first in line to buy any program that you come up with to beat this behavior. Oh and by the way, it doesn’t end any time soon the lectures just change. (except maybe #231) I still pull that one out sometimes!

    Reply
  • 2. janet  |  October 12, 2010 at 8:56 am

    I think that was MY story, only insert two BOYS instead of girls! Sounds familiar anyway.

    Reply
  • 3. Caela  |  October 13, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    I am 9 yrs into parenthood and I still nag, cajole, plead, and make demands of my children everyday. Some days are easier than others.

    Reply
  • 4. Tandie Miller  |  October 18, 2010 at 8:08 am

    Yeah 14 yrs later and I still have one that looks at me like I am a rack of yard tools at Sears Good Luck with it you’ll be a millionaire if you ever figure this one out.

    Reply

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