Friday, March 12, 2010

Life with Children

Never a dull moment when it comes to my life. My kids have a bag full of "surprises" hidden somewhere, I'm certain of it.

Last night I had a battle of wills with one of my boys. He decided that instead of dinner, he wanted hot cocoa. With marshmallows. I nicely told him he could have some IF he ate his dinner. You would have thought I had sentenced him to torture and death. He started screaming at the dinner table. His twin brother started singing "cry baby, cry baby, suck your thumb" which only prompted louder screams. His sister told him to stop crying, they wanted to eat in peace.

I kept trying to reason with him but have you ever tried to reason with a 3 yr old? Achieving world peace is a lot easier. Finally I told him he could go and cry in his room because the rest of us were trying to have a nice dinner. Off he went, screaming as loudly as he could. 20 minutes later, he came out of his room and told me he was going to eat his dinner. No more crying, no mention of the hot cocoa. He ate half of it (which was more than I expected him to eat), and a few minutes later "reminded me" I had promised he could have hot cocoa if he ate. I made good on that promise and all 3 of them got a cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows.

Back in my day, my parents would have made me sit at the dinner table until I ate everything on my plate and I probably wouldn't have gotten any hot cocoa. I vividly remember the battles I had with my parents over eating my vegetables. I sat many times for over an hour at the table, alone, because I refused to eat what was on my plate.

Considering how stubborn I was (or am, depending who you ask), I know better than to use that tactic with my own kids. I'm afraid they would end up sleeping at the dinner table and the plate of food would look exactly the same as when I put it on the table.

I know they are asserting their independence and trying to see how far it really goes. I guess you could say having newborn twins desensitize me to their cries. I can tune them out and they are figuring out tears do not work with me. But I'm only human, and from time to time, it gets to me and I lose my patience.

I'm not a model of parenthood, I'm just doing what I can to keep my sanity. Having three kids definitely makes things a little more challenging. Had I had only one kid, I may have given in and hot cocoa and crackers would have been dinner. But with 3, what's good for one is good for all of them, at least most of the time. The other two are watching and they will remember how you let that one get away with whatever it was. It could be something as insignificant as sitting at a different chair at dinner time, they will remember it and use it later on to get their way.

Since the owner manuals that suppose to come with these kids was lost in the mail, I'll just continue to use the "trial and error" method and hope my kids won't have to spend too much money in therapy because I refuse to let them have hot cocoa for dinner.

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