Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Like the Christmas That Never Was

It's funny to me how things work out sometimes.  My 4 and 5 year old boys share a room.  The older one used to beat the crap out of his brother to get what he wanted.  We're talking black eyes without warning.  He was frustrated that when he would talk nice to his little brother his brother never answered back.  Nevermind that the poor kid couldn't really speak yet.  Now, the older one is sharing wonderfully, but more often than not, the younger one smacks him with something as soon as he gets bothered.  With all my teachings of kindness, really, he did it to himself.  The older one taught him how to be. Now, it is my job to un-teach it and it is taking a good long time.

Their relationship has resulted in what is essentially the removing of Christmas.  Between items they have either lost, broken, or weaponized, their Christmas gifts have just about been eliminated.

Example: GatorGolf:  Innocent enough game, comes with two plastic golf clubs.  Which have been used to beat each other with.  They have been removed. (reserved for a later date when both have been behaving and for limited use while highly supervised.  Works great as a treat)

Leapster games:  Educational and allows me some peace, great for long drives.  They have either been lost, broken, or accidentally on purpose flushed down the toilet.

They are blowin' through them fast.  I have half a mind to make them cornhusk dolls and call that Christmas.

I'm about to pull one of my "cleaning" sessions in their room.  Now, I call it "cleaning", but what I really mean is that I will go through all their junkie little craps that they seem to collect en masse and make them choose what to throw away.  This is reserved as an end of my wits tactic that serves a dual role as keeping the mess under control, and teaching the consequences for bad behavior.  Okay, maybe it serves a third purpose.  See, they are more than capable of cleaning their room with minimal supervision.  I'm in charge of the clothes, though they help put the laundry up.  They are in charge of the toys and trash.  When they decide to pretend to clean their room on a regular basis, I will usually sit with them and play director while they do the work.  When, after weeks of trying, I've had enough of them lying about their room and hiding things in their closet or under their bed, and I'm tired of piling it up in the middle of their room so they can really put it away, that is when I go all psycho on them (with plenty of warning).  Then once, maybe twice a year at my convenience, I will dump all of their toys and stuff in the middle of the room.  We will organize everything completely, and they must decide what to throw out.  They get through it with a lot of "I'm sorry" and tears, which breaks my heart.  However, for the next few months all I have to say is, "Do you want me to go in there an clean it for you?" 

Now, I'm really not a tyrant.  Enough is enough.  I'm not one to clean and vacuum their room every single day.  It's just not who I am, and when I've tried in the past I've been miserable.  So now I just don't try.  I do expect them to keep their room tidy enough, and they love to vacuum.  I never would have thought that one day I would use the privilege of vacuuming as a reward.  It's insane to me. 

I think I must now buy gifts with a frame of mind that includes, "can they smack each other with this?"   Unfortunately, the answer will always be "yes" so now I have to rethink the question.

Is blowing through Christmas inside of three months a record?  It is for me.

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