Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Selective Hearing


What is it that makes my children repeatedly ignore me? Every day it's the same thing. Every day I nag and pester their tailfeathers out of bed, and the nagging begins. Nobody wants to get dressed, nobody wants to eat breakfast, nobody wants to be bothered with combing hair and brushing teeth. Nobody believes me that the bus is coming any minute and to get outside until the child appointed sentry duty that morning (stationed on the front porch) starts screaming "The bus is coming!" in disbelief.

When they get off the bus, nobody wants to change out of uniforms into playclothes.

I give Precious Daughter a half hour to forty-five mintues of downtime before the homework battle begins, and that battle is still being clawed out three-and-a-half hours later despite breaking for dinner, the better portion of which I spent asking Mighty B. to please not bang his sliverware against the dishes, to stop spinning his plate, and to use his fork to eat his mashed potatoes.

During the homework battles, Mighty B. has been told for the umpteenth time to not jump on Daddy's chair, to stop playing with the fan, and to leave his sister alone while she's whining and resisting her homework.

Finally, homework is done, and it's time for bathing. I ask, "Who will be first in the shower tonight?" Now they hear me loud and clear, and each is emphatically shouting the other's name repeatedly and claiming they went first the night before. Still, it's a battle to get anyone's butt moving in the general direction of the bathroom. After repeated requests for the now-naked kid to put his/her clothes in the hamper, I'm ready to start pulling my fingernails off with my teeth.

It's days like these that make me pray for bedtime, and that prayer makes me feel awful, like I'm wishing my children away from me.

The shower washes off the last of their resistance, and they're soapy-clean smelling and in PJs. If all that arguing didn't take us too far past bedtime, we'll read. When they're tucked in they're as sweet as sugar, and I wonder why they couldn't be so easygoing earlier.

My guess is their argumentative tanks are merely empty, because they're fully replenished by morning.

And, y'know, I'm not this horrid, militant mama. I don't jolt my kids out of bed with alarm clocks and shouts. I try to wake them gently, kissing their necks and talking softly and gently nudging them to wakefulness. It's when they blatantly resist getting out already that I start to hound them, usually by tickling them, turning on the light, or summoning the dog's wet nose.

I understand that they need a little freedom. I understand that Mighty B. has energy to burn and The Oracle's chair is bouncy. But, Lordy, why must I make the same request a dozen times, and why are they all shocked and sad when punished for not listening to me?


Anonymous said...

Stacy says:

Oh, it's not just you. And if I get to three, the rumble is on. I get the"You don't have to tell me, you already told me" and then that answer is, "Why didn't you do it the first time then? If I say it another time, you are loosing a privliage"...and this is followed by crying. Last night daughter cried for 20 minutes because I would not let her play a game I told her not to bug me about. I told her I wasn't sure, and to leave me alone. I swear she asked every 15minutes. Then stopped asking, and decided to just talk about it. I told her that's the same thing and to leave me alone. In the end, she didn't get to play because she wouldn't leave it alone. It's hard work. I felt like a crappy parent. Why couldn't I just let her play the freaking game? Well, 1) It's the Sims 2 and it's a matureish game. 2) the slave like desire to play it she has for it scares me 3)It's MY game and it's a PRIVLIAGE to play it, not a RIGHT, which she's been thinking is her due. I wish for bed time LOTS of nights. You are in interesting company...so don't worry about it. :)

Anonymous said...

For a while I was repeating myself so much I felt like I was living in another dimension. After I say it twice and am ignored I say, (in a normal speaking voice) "Do you want ice cream?". Of course this causes an immediate reponse then they get in trouble for not responding the first time and I have thier attention for what I want. I only used it a few times because of course they catch on but I save it now for when I really need their attention. They complain but too bad they should have answered me the first time. E