We've had quite a bit of rain here lately. For kids who like to be outside and have had the pleasure of good weather since about March, that meant several days in a row of mostly indoor play. I don't know about you, but in our house, that almost always leads to discontent and fighting.
My boys reached a point yesterday where I had to make a decision about whether or not to take a stand against what I deemed was beyond my grey area (expected acting out due to circumstances) of tolerable bad behavior. So shortly after they got into the bathtub, the fighting began again. They were both so tired already that they had barely even touched their supper. Braeden just kept asking to eat later and go rest for a while. Sorry my friend, we don't nap at 5:30 around here. So I pushed them to stay at the table which was mostly for my own sense of control because neither of them ate anything more than they had at the beginning of the meal. Eventually, when Maggie was done and ready for the bath, the boys moved to the bathroom for bath time too. As soon as I walked away to get Maggie in her pajamas, I heard the same old sound of arguing and fighting. No longer willing to give them any leeway, I took both of them out of the tub, got them in their jammies and into bed. It was 6:10. I expected a much bigger resistance, but both boys crawled into bed, cried in protest for a few minutes and were asleep by 6:21. Apparently they had had enough of yesterday as well. Might as well go to sleep and try again in the morning.
It was very funny to hear them talking to each other when they woke up this morning.
B: Did you go to sleep and stay in your bed all night?
B: I did too. Mom came to check us though, to make sure we were okay. She said she would.
I think I made an impression. And even though they knew that they had pushed me past my limits and gotten themselves into some pretty hot water, they were still able to rest assured that they could trust me to check on them to make sure they were okay. That makes my heart happy and is a reminder that none of these lessons are for not. I hope my kids know that I do what I do because I love them and I'm trying to teach them to be kind, loving children who will grow up to be kind, loving and responsible adults. They know when they have crossed the line and are usually careful to stay within the boundaries, even if they are pushing them a little. But still, days like that make me question my parenting. Am I giving them too much room? Do they understand that what they are doing to each other is hurtful? Or is that just how it is with brothers? I try to maintain a sense of routine and a clear set of rules in our house. If you don't meet the expectations, there are consequences, as was clear last night. My job is to care for their well-being, make sure they are, and feel, safe, and that they always know, every minute of every day how much I love them.
I am hopeful for a brighter forecast or I'm just going to start letting them play outside in the rain. On the upside though, I had a night of peace and quiet that never happens in our house. Roman and I were able to watch a 3 hour movie and still be done by 10:30. That never happens! It's too soon to tell if last night will have any effect on future behavior because Braeden has been at school and a play date today so they haven't had a chance to be together except for before school. But I am optimistic that they might think twice before they start at it this afternoon. If not, well then I guess it's another early night in bed.