Well Friday started normal - quick trip to the beach. Small collection but still a nice day...
Then Child #1 was off to the dentist for a check up.
7 cavities later, my husband and I both know he is our child. We both had similar dental outcomes when we were that age. But we are now religiously brushing at night.
The real drama came after our afternoon outing - playdate/potluck with some fellow moms. I recently joined the local babysitting co-op in an effort to minimize the stress I feel when I have commitments during the daytime. The question of "who can watch my kids" has become very stressful. So I joined this co-op and yesterdays potluck was to mingle, connect and get to know some other families in this group. Luckily I know most of them but still what follows was EPIC!
It went something like this:
Child #1 got hit by a plastic baseball on his foot. It hurt, he got mad, he threw the plastic bat as hard as he could. (Luckily no one was hurt). I state, "It is time to go. We don't throw bats. We are done". Child #1 wants a piece of the pizza that just came out of the oven. I say, no. He goes ballistic. We leave without too much violence - he saved that for the car. As we loaded up, he was begging for more pizza, threatening to stay behind, screaming directly in my ear (my ear drum still is tender). He bit me (remember he is 7 years old), he kicked and hit me with all his strength.
Through it all - I was calm, quiet voice and even had the mental capacity to quip "aren't you glad we are leaving instead of coming" to my friend who had just arrived and walking up the hill.
Child #1, cried, threatened, shouted, screamed for most of the way home.
Things did not get better at home.
I made pizza (already in the plans). And during these quiet moments in the kitchen I see Child #3 in the bathroom, scooping out the water in the toilet and sucking her fingers. Aaaaaaaaaaaa!
Dinner is a nightmare. The children and I sit down for dinner but I am unable to finish because Child #3 begins to fall apart and we quickly take a bath and do jammies. Child #2 joins us in the bath because she is scared of the anger and outbursts from Child #1. I am slowly losing it...
BTW, I will never make pizza for my family. I am over it! All these requests, "I don't like cheese", "I don't like pepperoni", "Don't put sauce on my part", "Yuck why are there little green things?"Aaaaaa- Pizza has now been removed from my cooking repertoire.
Through it all, I am still patient, trying to calm the inner me, waiting for my husband to come home. I am keeping it together. Barely.
Then the crying and whining about one little spot of cheese left on his pizza continues outside the bedroom where I am putting Child #3 to bed. I threaten him - if he doesn't take the crying to his room I will come out and kick him there (my arms are busy holding a nursing baby). He goes but the next thing I hear is,
"Don't hurt me, don't throw that! I am getting out"
Poor Child #2, who didn't get to eat pizza at the party, and who has heard these screaming and tantrums for the past hours, is now being physically threatened.
I lost it. I marched into their shared bedroom where Child #2 is trying to get dressed and see Child #1 holding a large book over his head, ready to throw it at her. I grabbed his hair and pulled him out of their room, into the kitchen, and out the back door. His tune has changed from crying, shouting and drama, to a normal voice saying, "ouch, that really hurts mom".
As I locked the door I said, "You can stay out there until your father comes home".
Fifteen minutes later, I hear a very repentant knock, I open it, Child #1, says in a normal but sorry voice, "I am sorry I was so mean. Can I come in?"
I let him in, he gets his pajamas on. I sketch/write up what happened sort of cartoon style and find I feel much better after I do so. (And feel secretly better when Child #1 reads it over my shoulder). We all play Monopoly and then husband comes home.
We discuss the highlights of the tantrum (hitting, biting, screaming, disobeying, embarrassing me in front of my friends - although the embarrassing part was minor). Father has some serious words with Child #1 and because I am the most calm (having had a chance to process it all), the three of us discuss what happened. We begin our talk with the steps for repenting:
-acknowledge the wrong that was done
-say you're sorry to the person
-ask for forgiveness from Heavenly Father
-make it right/make restitution
-never do it again
Thankfully, Child #1, knows these steps from Sunday Classes.
So here are the restitutions he will make:
1.No TV, No computer, No iphone for a week
2. No special privileges such as a much awaited concert, staying up late or play dates
3. Doing 1 hour of work for mom each day for a week.
4. Must earn 100 points by obeying the first time. Mom gives out the points and he gets 10 points for each hour of work.
So far, knock on wood, he has been much improved. He missed the concert today. He cleaned the inside and outside of the car with me. He kept his anger in check and no TV has been turned on (I hid the remotes and unplugged the set). We'll see how the rest of the week goes!
There is always room for improvement in this parenting journey!