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?
Moving on … but you can come with me.
2 days ago