Monday, September 05, 2005

First things first, the color of this gladiolus is not it's true color. It's actually more of a very light blueish purpley color.

Now on to more important subject matter.

When we left Massachusetts to come meet Hero in Maryland (a year ago), my kids were out of control. OUT OF CONTROL. It probably was due mostly to the fact that I was emotionally out of control. I was constantly stressed due to living like a 'single' mom, having no family support, and moving out of apartments into hotels and my car every time Hero's pay got screwed up.

At the time, Sky was two and a half and Moon was one and a half. They were always on the go, had no discipline, and just as destructive as the next pair of siblings their age. I did not like telling them "no" because they didn't get to have the normal life that kids their age had--a steady place to live, a daddy to kiss before bed every night, family that stayed consistently in the picture, or a normally functioning mom. I felt bad about all of those things and compensated by letting them pretty much have control of those few things they were able to, like the ability to shred the newspaper, empty the drawers, and color on the table. I knew it wasn't the best way to go, but I was doing the best that I could at that time.

Grandma used to tell me "If you let them do whatever they want, they're going to wear you down to the ground before you ever know what happened." I always responded with a nasty comeback like "If my kids aren't dressed, fed, bathed, or diapered then you can comment, until then I don't want to hear it."

She was right, they did wear me down. I would stay up for hours cleaning after they had fallen asleep just for the house to be in good enough condition to wake up to. I made a promise to myself and the girls that it was all going to change once we were together again. I kept that promise.

At first, it was hard for the girls to adjust to rules. The first rule I made was NO MORE CUPS TO BED! Sure it was only water anyway, but the sippy cups needed to go. They cried the first night for a while, and I would come in every ten minutes or so and say "I know you don't like it, but this is the way it is going to be." After about half an hour, I got them both up and they had some water at the table. Then, back to bed where they fell asleep. It sounds easy in type, but I guarantee you it was not. It was so hard for me to think that my girls were upset.

After the first rule was established with success, I kept at it. The tearing things up went away, the emptying drawers went away, the over all lack of listening skills went away, and my fear went away. I could handle this. My kids could handle this. It was good.

When we visited Massachusetts, it gave my kids the chance to show off their new skills, and they did. They were very well behaved (minus Moon's understandable sleeping thing). I didn't even think of what different children they had turned into until I got this phone call:

Grandma: When are you coming back up? We miss you already.

Me: Soon if we can find the time.

Grandma: The girls have changed so much I can hardly believe it!

Me: Yeah, Moon's hair is finally starting to get long.

Grandma: No, I mean they've changed. They are like different children. They didn't get into anything and they did everything you told them to! And they were so polite! I can't believe how much they've changed! You've really come along way and you're doing a wonderful job with them.

I was shocked.

Shocked and proud.

I did this.


I mean the girls had their part, but it was my consistency that led them there. It made me feel good to have someone notice. Not notice like a stranger would, but notice as someone who has seen us all at our worst. I was so happy that we planned a trip to the zoo, where I went with very minimal anxiety.

Blogger Heidi had this to say:

gorgeous flower pic, magnolia! I'm proud of you for getting the girls back on track. You absolutely should feel great about how they are doing now vs. before. That's great of your grandma to mention it to you. It means alot when someone acknowledges your hard work. Good for you, hon! Keep up the great work.

10:24 AM EDT 

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