After spending two hours on school planning Saturday afternoon/evening and only getting things lined up for Steven (I hadn’t touched the girls’ stuff!), I decided that this just wasn’t going to cut it anymore. I knew I had to just take a week and figure his stuff all out. Doug suggested I go ahead and take this week.
So, Monday morning I waited until the kids were done with their chores and school time had rolled around (because I’m mean like that). Then I called all three kids to me and announced a week off school. I don’t think they believed me at first! Of course, further proving my meanness, I then laid down the ground rules.
- No whining or fighting. Period. At the first sound of either one there would be an immediate 30 minute separation period. No explanations allowed. Mean, mean, mean. If whining returned after that separation, there would be a longer separation – an entire morning or afternoon. And, if there was still whining after that, Steven’s favorite toys would be taken away and the girls would be assigned three hours of math and creative writing. Yep, I’m cruel!
- All toys would be cleaned up twice a day – before lunch and before supper. No leaving things out. No leaving creations together. No build-up of insanity through this whole week to cause major work to be done over the weekend. Nope. Twice a day. Period.
That was it. Two simple ground rules. And it has worked! I have been amazed! But, maybe simply giving them my expectations – and the consequences of not meeting them – in advance was what they needed. It’s been a great week!
Olivia started the week by coming in and saying she was feeling agitated and tired. It has been a consistent theme this particular week of the month for the past four months, I think. Ah, the joys of parenting girls! But, I have nailed down when to expect it (although I haven’t clued her into that secret yet), and I have shared with her tricks for dealing with it. So, when she shared how she was feeling, I reminded her that she just might need to walk away from her siblings when the agitation started to build up. She’s done that quite well, spending most of Monday and Tuesday by herself reading – and doing it quite contentedly, I might add! By yesterday she was ready to happily join in with her siblings and play beautifully.
Angela and Steven have had a blast this week! They have played Legos, Legos, and more Legos. I love those things! There’s just no limit to the creativity that can be employed with them, and they can fit easily into whatever the theme of the week happens to be. This week it has been Star Wars. The kids have never seen the movies, but they are familiar with the characters and the storyline. They found a Star Wars book in the library last weekend, so they have been reading it together. Here Angela is reading it to Steven while he builds star ships with Duplos (they have alternated between Duplos and “little Legos”).
Oh, and Angela has spent the entire week in that dress-up skirt. It’s her long ballerina skirt that twirls beautifully when she spins. A long-sleeve top and a pair of slippers have completed the outfit. She has only come out of it when we’ve left the house.
This morning as I get my work started (blogging is work, right?), I hear all three of them playing quite happily in the back. They sure do love playing together – especially if I threaten them with dire consequences for not playing well together!