Wednesday, March 11, 2015

When Your Good Kids are [Really] Bad

Before I was a mom, I used to think to myself, "If I do X, Y, and Z, my kids will turn out obedient, and happy, and perfect... all the time."

And then I HAD kids, and I realized that no matter how much of X, Y, and Z I did, my kids still did things that were completely unexpected. Shocking, really.

One child dumped my contacts (including one or two unopened packages), and made a stack on their bed. And then squeezed out my tube of foundation and smeared it all over their bedspread. And then painted their finger and toe nails with black liquid eyeliner.

Two of my kids found a couple bottles of nail polish, and dumped--and smeared--them on our bedroom carpet. Good thing our carpet already needed replaced, because I wasn't able to BUDGE those stains.

One of my kids--consistently, for days in a row, would dig their hands into their diaper, pull out their poop, and then smear (yes, my kids are into smearing) it on themselves and their crib.

One child pulled out their hair--forming a nasty bald spot on the side of their head.

Uh-huh, and possibly the most shocking of all... while I was on the phone, one of my kids found a knife and sliced open their sheets and pillow cases.

Was I expecting ANY of that? From my kids?! Um, I should think not.

Some of these incidents were scary, and most of them were downright frustrating. I felt like a failure as a mom, as if everything I tried, every last bit of time I'd spent teaching them, had been a waste.

Hopefully, slowly, I'm learning some lessons through it all, though.

Such as...

Picking out what are the MAIN things I want to focus on with my kids' behavior, and letting other not-so-bad things slide--at least temporarily. (For me, that'd be letting my child suck their fingers in church--a behavior I really dislike, if the main thing I'm working on is having them sit quietly.)

Finding the humor in situations, instead of just. getting. frustrated.

What I said to Matt earlier today: "All three kids fell asleep! Jemima ripped out a page of her book and tore it into tiny pieces and threw it on the carpet beside her bed, BEFORE she fell asleep... but it's all good!"

I'm learning that losing my temper, and saying things like, "I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU JUST DID THAT!" don't help the situation. At. All. End of story.

Little kids need tons and tons of snuggles, and encouragement, and praise, and bed-time stories and songs, and love, and eating popcorn together during movies, and the list could go on and on. Every time I mention a certain behavior of my child's to my mom, she typically asks if I'm spending enough TIME with that child. Showing them that I really love them.

The other afternoon, the kids were screaming and generally being crazy, and I took them outside and we ran around our driveway, and pretended that our driveway was a map, and every crack was a road... We played that game for a while, and suddenly... there was peace again.

So I guess this isn't rocket science. But just a reminder to SMILE at your kids, reassure them, and snuggle them during thunder storms.

Of course there will be lots of time for teaching and correcting, too, but sometimes... I just need to be reminded of all that other good stuff.

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