Thursday, April 16, 2009

If I Would Just Take The Advice I Give My 11 Year Old

Working back into school this week after two weeks bumming and traveling has been a challenge. It allowed for some building issues with our oldest to bubble to the top and explode. I've gone on my knees, Rick and I have talked a lot, and I've employed my creative solution finding juices to search out some practical wisdom.
Here is kinda what was happening:
In the hour or so rush of getting ready for school, Princess realizes that she has left both of her school wearable shoes in the car....THAT DADDY TOOK TO WORK! Now, my mind goes by default to what in the world can I improvise with, but hers goes right to the very fact that the world, is indeed, ending. I try to stay calm and encourage creativity and finding something that will work even just for the day. I suggest some slippers that she has said are too tight. "Well, why don't you go try them on and see if it may just work for one day." She returns saying that they are too small and flop off her heal in the back. "If they were too tight, they would not flop off your heals dear". Still, she is in misery but decides it will have to do.
The problem however is that in the midst of this event, she returns to her room and snips off at her sister about something, and is repeatably disrespectful to me through small responses to the simplest things such as time reminders or "don't-forget-to" 's. She is mad, emotional, frustrated and all together not happy that her world has been turned on it's side. In the mean time, I am trying to stay calm in the midst of her crankiness to me and others but not ignore that it's an issue either.
(This was also the morning, if you follow my facebook you know, that I went to spray Superkid's hair with water in order to brush out his bedhead, only to discover Emma had put shampoo in the bottle and he had to be rinsed head hanging over the kitchen sink before taking off for school)
This beautiful morning was topped off by her injuring herself on the door handle of the car. She just emotionally fell apart. By now, I was feeling sorry for her despite the crankiness I'd received. I hate when she has to go off to school like that.
Ironically I came home to see her tennis shoes in the laundry room. Oh, well.
The next morning was better but when she could not find her homework the whole cycle was gearing up again and she started snipping at me and her sister again. My goodness, I thought, I cannot co through this over and over again.
So, I prayed a lot on Tuesday and thought about what to do.
It occurred to me that her problem was a 50/50 scenario. Half of the problem was the circumstance and the other was her choice of how to react to that circumstance. So, we sat down and told her later, if we can eliminate the first problem, it should ease up the second one. Beyond that, she needed to make sure better choices regarding her speech and attitude with her family and to focus more on bringing glory to God with her treatment of others. Those things that were becoming a problem needed to be done the night before. Shoes? Check..set out. Homework?'s in the binder. What to wear? Check...folded and set out. As well as anything else needed the next day out of the norm. On top of this we added a 30 min wake up earlier time and told her we would try that and see if it helped her. She moves VERY, and I do mean VERY, slow in the morning. Lilo on the other hand is dressed in 10 minutes, packed in five and following me around the rest of the morning with her backpack on asking if she can go out in the carport and skate. If I could just find a medium!!!!
Her chores are also required in the morning so we had to allow room for those too. Her sister unloads the dishes, and she puts them away. She is to feed and water the cats and make her bed. It does not sound like much but there has not been time to get it done.
We tried this and it's working very well.
Then it occurred to me that I need to take my own advice. How many times I don't plan ahead or do the consistent things I should in a day and because of my lack of organization and planning, things go insane and I'm cranky to the kids or Rick. I do the same thing I tell her not to do. I take it out on them when it's really my not doing what I should.
So, I ask myself, what circumstances are keeping me from harmony in my life? I've started to find some.
Wake up enough to be cheerful before the kids wake up.
Clean the kitchen the night before entirely so that breakfast and lunches come together better.
Prep lunches the night before if possible.
Go to sleep at a sensible time.
Stay home and don't run around browsing or wasting time because a peaceful home needs keeping up on.
On that note, keep up so you don't have to catch up.
Think of dinner at about 10 am or earlier. Prep it all day to avoid the time crunch when the kids are home and tired and hungry and demanding.
Plan it so daddy can walk in to us at the table, set nicely, waiting for him.
Don't eat too much so that I'm too sluggish for my tasks, especially in the evening. (or you could call it, eat FOR energy, not against it)
Those are just some on the top of my head right now.

Sometimes answers are just more simple than we think. It's all the magic of forethought.


tricia said...

I know I have the same problem I get so cranky when I don't plan ahead. That is one reason I have started to say no to a lot of activities that we could do. I find we all do better when we stay home and I give the kids time to do chores and I have time to do my chores.

Stephanie said...

Oh, I like that... "Keep up so that you don't have to catch up."

Joy said...

It' amazing what a little bit of planning can do. But sometimes those mornings just happen.