So I don’t know about other families but at our household from about 6:30-7:20am the house is in full alert, kind of like NASA right before the rocket launch…the only problem is that this rocket launch includes 1 semi-non-morning-person Mami and 5 grumpy kids. Not the recipe for a perfect shuttle launch.
Needless to say the morning are not our most gracious moments…
Difficulty: Our oldest’s goal in life in the morning is to be the first one ready so he can put the cereal bowls & spoons on the table. This was all going well until our middle son realized that if he makes his bed quickly & gets ready faster that our oldest, he gets to put the cereal on the table…HUGE FIGHT! I walked out of the girl’s room to find my oldest weeping against the wall because little bro beat him to the breakfast bowls. And once my oldest is unhappy he makes his new goal to derail everyone around him…
*Solution: we validate the feelings, we talk about the importance of everyone helping in our family, we talk about the importance of being happy that people want to help, we talk about taking turns or sharing the breakfast responsibility (one sets out the spoons, one the bowls), we talk about not getting mad/sad/out for revenge. But guess what sometimes we still have this exact problem in the morning.
Difficulty: Our oldest daughter moves v.e.r.y.s.l.o.w. every morning. She make her bed the slowest, gets dressed the slowest, picks out her shoes the slowest, puts her lunch in her backpack the slowest and if you say anything to her about her behavior she freezes, or bursts into tears…and moves even s.l.o.w.e.r.
*Solution: again we validate feelings, we set out clothes, shoes, socks…everything the night before, we even practice making our bed so it’s easier in the mornings, we get our backpack ready for our lunch. But sometimes we still have s.l.o.w. morning problems.
Difficulty: Darth is 2.
*Solution: we go potty in the big potty first thing when we wake up, this usually saves Mami from having to change 2 diapers before we leave the house. She gets a very small amount of cereal & milk in her bowl in the morning so
if when there is a spill there is less to clean up (don’t worry she gets a snack after we drop the kiddies off at school). While Mami is brushing her teeth I give her a lot of warning before we actually wash her face, for a long time I didn’t & we would have screaming fits every morning (big lesson learned). She gets to pick out her coat in the morning, that is her 1 “all by myself job”. But in all of this she is still 2.
Difficulty: Our youngest son is in prime little brother form. I can’t make my bed, do it for me. I can’t put on my shirt, do it for me. I can’t put on my socks, do it for me. I can’t pick up my pajamas & take them to the dirty clothes, do it for me. I can’t take my dirty dishes to the sink, do it for me.
*Solution: this was one of my hardest lessons to learn (& I still screw it up all of the time). We celebrate when he does things by himself, high-fives are given out, a big deal is made. We talk about him being a big boy but it’s okay when he really does need help but first he must try all by himself. For example he can pull his cover straight & put his pillows & stuffed animals where they go but if he has tried & can’t fold his blanket he can ask a brother or Mami for help. For a long time I just yelled, “faster, you did it yesterday why not today, if Darth can do it why can’t you, I guess if you can’t put your shirt on you won’t be wearing one today”…I know lots of bad Mami moments. Things are better but again he is still a little brother.
There are a lot of morning we leave the house & at least one person is on tense terms with another person (even Mami) in the car. I am always so thankful for the car ride to school it gives the kids a time to be still & not rushed. I can do the simple task of playing a favorite song, asking them their favorite part about school, or our newest game is to quiz everybody in the car. The importance of the quiz is to ask questions that you know they will be successful, this is not a test your knowledge kind of quiz or a see how much smarter you are quiz: this is a feel encouraged & know that you are good at something quiz…
For our 1st grader, math problems are usually a win (but the have to be funny ones): “If you had a dog with 3 tails & another dog with 1 tail, how many tails would you have all together?
For our Kindergartners, we ususally do sound recognition: “What sould does ‘ta’ make?”
For our 4yr old, we stick to color questions or repeating questions: “Repeat Bombero, now what color is a bombero’s truck?’
For our 2yr old, we just practice simple instructiones: “Darth, can you put your hands up & show me 10 fingers?”
Again this is not a ‘how smart are you quiz’ this is a be successful quiz. This is a time where we celebrate good attitudes, being happy for each other, and most importantly listen while our siblings get a chance to be the star & not only think about ourselves. But sometimes we still have bad mornings.
Sometimes I have to take what I like to call the walk of shame. The you are in the line to drop off your children & the principal asks why are only 2 of your children getting out of the car for school when the 3rd one is clearly sitting in their carseat with a sullen expression on their face. That’s when I explain that they are going to have an alone talk with Mom before I send them into their teachers with a mad/sad attitude for a 7hr school day.
We then pull into the parking lot & have a talk. Once again feelings are validated, a plan is worked out, bridges are rebuilt. I am blessed to say that I have never once dropped off any of my kids without reconciling our relationship. But then it happens, there is not enough time to get in the car drop off lane & I am forced to walk my child into the building…in my sweatpants, crazy hair, no make-up, tennis shoes (usually with no socks). Thankfully when I walk into the building I am now holding the hand of one of my beautiful children & I pray that people only look at them & not their slobby mami.
Just trying to keep it real tonight.
At the dinnermesa,