My boys keep growing smarter and more deliberate every single day. With each new thumbs up for learning a new letter of the alphabet or counting past thirteen; they equally develop new testing techniques. Testing me. And with each new test, I’m having to study up new discipline. Or so I thought.
If the boys didn’t start listening or stop hitting over night after I tried out a new system, I’d give it up and look for a new one. I wanted something to work immediately. Or maybe after a full 48 hours of repeated redirection, time-outs and tears of frustration, I vowed to find the next best thing. The one that worked.
Last week, a great friend of mine was in town for the weekend. We were finally able to get our boys together for the very first time. Right away, her 2 1/2-year-old was showing my boys around his train tracks, race track and puzzles galore. It was too adorable to see our offspring co-existing.
While we sat around chatting for a couple of hours, intermittently chasing one boy this way and another boy that way. Or corralling them all into one spot with some peanut butter crackers. I told her about how hard I was trying to get Luke to listen lately…ever since our move. I expressed that I just couldn’t get a handle on it.
She was giving me advice on things she had learned about the subject. I saw Luke opening the door to their back deck and had to interrupt her to grab him. “Luke, you are not allowed to open doors without permission. Shut it, please.” Kind, but firm. Just like they taught me. I went back to my conversation with Jody. “Where was I? I just need him to listen. That’s it.” I looked up to see Luke standing at the door. Thinking. Pondering if he should open the door. And he walked away. “Did you see that,” Jody whispered excitedly. “He’s listening!”
“Oh my gosh, you’re right!” I said. I think if she hadn’t been there to say that out loud, I would’ve been just stressed out watching him nervously thinking that by going towards the door – that meant he wasn’t listening. But HE WAS listening! He was, indeed, following the directions I have him. DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR WITHOUT PERMISSION.
The next day, Jody and I got our kiddos together for a fun outing at the fountains. About five minutes after having to coach Luke not to climb this brick wall (clearly, we decided, the designer of this fun park didn’t consider a 4′ wall to be a hazard to the little ones), Jody pointed out once again that my son was faithfully following orders. “You need a personal cheerleader to point out when what you’re doing is working!” she said. “That’s it!” I responded. “That’s exactly right. How many nights have I dreamed and hoped and prayed that I had the Supernanny following me around telling me if I was doing something right or wrong so that I would be ensured my boys will be raised to be confident, disciplined, hard-working yet fun men.”
Ah, maybe it would be nice to have a personal live-in cheerleader to boast my confidence in the child-rearing business. Then again, maybe by being more conscious of when the kids are listening and learning and responding; I could be my own cheerleader! Go, mommy, go!
Thank you Jody for such great advice! I wish we had more time to spend together, but the time we did get was so fun!