Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Wake up sleepy heads!

Every school morning, #1 and #2 get up first and get on the bus. Then I have 20 minutes before #3 and #4 need to wake up. The last two are not easy to wake up....unless it is Saturday morning, but that's another story. I've tried going in their rooms and waking them up nicely, speaking softly, turning on their light, speaking loudly outside or inside their room, taking the covers off, singing....you get the picture. They fight me tooth and nail. They whine, ignore me, pull the covers over their heads, whatever they can do to get another wink or two of sleep.
But today I tried a different approach.
I walked into their room, turned off their fan (we use it for white noise) and sat down in their quiet room and began to play with their toys. I took a bucket of little army men and lego men and began playing with them--taking them apart, putting them back together, etc. After one minute, #3 sat up and looked at me and said, "What are you doing?" :)  Then he sat down beside me and told me about each and every lego guy. During this, #4 sits up in bed and looks at us to find out what's going on and who is playing with toys!
He comes on down from his top bunk and tells me about one or two of the guys also. After a minute or so, I asked them to get dressed and brush their teeth, and then we went downstairs for breakfast. It was such a calm beginning to the day!
~~I might try this technique again tomorrow, but with different toys. We'll see if it works 2 days in a row!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Hair is not a moral issue

When my kids were little, and I was still idealistic, one of our neighbors had teenagers. I was shocked that she had let her sons wear their hair so crazy--colors, length, etc. (Keep in mind that we are military, and were living on an Army base where kids' hair is usually kept to military standards. :)
She said some wise words that have stuck with me over the years--Hair is not a moral issue....the heart is.

Wow. She and I went on to have a discussion about how to discover if the hairstyle (color, length, etc) is being influenced by a heart issue (rebellion, specifically) or just a normal teenage desire to try new things, fit in, etc.

I have "pondered these words in my heart" for several years. And beginning last year (7th grade), I finally had a chance to put feet to those words. #1 decided he wanted to grow his hair out. Some would say it was to be like Justin Bieber....no. It's not about being like J.B., but it is about fitting in, being noticed, wanting to look different than you did in elementary school.
Those wise words were so helpful to hubs and I as we waited patiently and supported #1 with haircuts that were "trims", just to adjust the shape and finetune the evolving style. I was so proud of my husband for being willing to stick this one out.
Last week, #1 made the middle school soccer team. When he saw the final list online, he first went to facebook and posted it...but THEN he came into the kitchen and annouced that he wanted to get a haircut...a real haircut. He said the hair gets in his way when he is trying to play soccer. When hubs got home, I relayed the message as calmly as I could, while inside I was grinning from ear to ear that our child had just made a huge decision all on his own. :)
We took him to get his haircut and hubs and I stood there watching as all 6 or 7 inches of hair fell to the floor. I was so proud. Proud of him making the team. Proud of him making the decision on his own to get a haircut. Proud of his dad for not needling his decision or telling him "I told you so". Proud that #1 is open enough with us to feel like he can change his mind and try new things without us berating him or belittling him. Just plain proud.
So...here's the before:

And here's the after:


Spit happens

My husband spits sometimes. It grosses me out, but he does it outside. When my boys do it inside or on one another, that is a totally different story.
Last year, I found out that 2 of my boys (#1 and #3) had spit on each other, while being hateful to each other. I was livid. So I made them sit on both sides of the trash can and spit for 10 minutes.

A month or so later, #3 spit again. This time he had to spit at the can for 20 minutes.
I really thought we had fixed the problem...until last week.
We brought along a neighbor's kid to church with us on Wednesday night. In the van on the way home, I heard the kid say that #3 had spit on him. Oh, no he didn't! Yep, he did.
So after a profuse apology to the kid, and I dropped him off at his house, we went home. #3 sat and spit, and spit, and spit.... until I had enough. (no photo taken this time, I was too mad!) We moved from there to another form of discipline, since it was discovered that he lied about the reason for the spitting....
I am not naive enough to think we've solved this problem, but I sure am hoping that it doesn't happen again for a long time. Until then....spit happens.