Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Why It Will Be a Long Time Before I Can Give Up Ice Cream

A certain child, we'll call him....Stubborn (and I feel like I should say that it is FINNALY NOT Ian this time), completely flips out about a writing assignment. (The assignment could not be any more simple or straightforward.) He screams, throws things, declares he will never do said assignment. Somehow does not understand why writing is a necessary skill for him to learn, despite having it explained to him NUMEROUS TIMES. Refuses to even TRY to do the assignment, even though I am sitting next to him, willing to help.
Piano lessons begin. Children cycle through until everyone has had a lesson.
Stubborn has another shrieking fit when he is told that he may not have the Special Lunch he loves so much, which he can earn by finishing his schoolwork in a timely manner, because he did not finish his schoolwork in a timely manner. He does not see the connection between his earlier fit and his lack of time to finish schoolwork.
Quiet Time. Children are supposed to be resting, working on schoolwork, or playing quietly.
While I read out loud, children are supposed to be getting their snacks and working on their afternoon chores. Baby interrupts at least 5 times and says, "Stoooooop reading, Moooooooooom!"
Folding laundry in the miserably hot house, forgot to turn the setting down on the thermostat, turn the setting down and cringe at the thought of the next electric bill. Stubborn asks me questions about what will be expected of him tomorrow and purposely nit-picks my answers to try to escape his consequences.
Retreat to Baby's new room, where Baby dumped out 6 puzzles during Quiet Time. Put puzzles back together while Baby "helps".
On my way to put away some laundry, wonder why Baby is being so quiet. At this very moment, Marie finds me to tell me that Baby has fallen asleep in his chair. Wake the Very Grumpy Baby.
While I check schoolwork, children are supposed to be finishing chores and playing outside. Certain children are dragging their chores out as long as humanly possible. Baby hangs on my arm and whines, "Stoooooooop checking schoolwork, Mooooooom!" He also requests various things and screams at me when he doesn't like my response; Time Out for Baby. When I finally get him distracted and busy somewhere else, the dog bounds up to me excitedly, with a toy in his mouth, wanting me to play. Stubborn informs me: he made a promise to himself that morning that he would only be doing Math schoolwork today, and it's very important to keep our promises! I inform Stubborn: at our house, people who do not work, get to have oatmeal, fruits, and vegetables until their work is done, and he may stay on his chair until his schoolwork is finished or until it is bedtime, whichever comes first. The resulting fit finds Stubborn on Food Privileges on the chart.
Husband arrives home! I retreat to my bedroom with a bowl of medicinal Fruit Loops while Stubborn is loudly voicing his displeasure about his dinner choices!
I emerge to find Husband sitting at the table with Stubborn, trying to calmly encourage him to get his work done.
Stubborn heads to bed, without eating dinner, because he did not like his choices of oatmeal, fruits, or vegetables.
I am supposed to roust the children out of their rooms, but I just cannot face dealing with Stubborn again. Check email/Twitter instead.
Stubborn refuses to eat breakfast because he doesn't like his choices, complains bitterly about being hungry, refuses to do his morning chores.
Baby has screaming fit over the injustice of waking up in the morning when he comes out of his bedroom, climbs in my lap, looks at me with those big eyes and says, "I need another blue Popsicle to lick" and I tell him that he may not have a Popsicle for breakfast; Baby sits on the Time Out rug. I do Stubborn's chores and the resulting move-down on the chart puts Stubborn off the chart. Stubborn has another loud screaming fit, and angrily tears up one of his assignments. Stubborn is now 20 off the chart.
Two other children disappear into the backyard, hoping that I won't notice they're gone and mention their schoolwork.
Stubborn is threatening to run away. I tell him that we would miss him, and we would certainly hope that nothing bad happened to him while he was gone.
Stubborn decides to do some of his schoolwork.
Baby screams at me again when I give him an answer he doesn't like; Time Out rug for Baby! Baby screams, "I DON'T WANT TO SIT ON THE RUG!" and kicks the rug. This reminds me that the Time Out rug is in bad shape, so I bring out the new pink, heart-shaped rug I got at I K E A. Baby changes his screams to "I DON'T WANT TO SIT ON THE NEW RUG!" After 45 minutes of this screaming and refusing to sit on the rug, I get out the spray bottle. Baby sits on the rug while screaming, "MOOOOOOOOM! DON'T SQUIRT ME!"
Baby has finally stopped screaming for 2 minutes in a row, so his timer beeps and he can get off the rug. Stubborn decides he'll eat some watermelon for lunch.
Despite being reminded of his lunch choices, Stubborn defiantly fixes something not on his list. I remind him of the facts, and he calmly tells me that he doesn't care about the consequences, he's going to do what he wants. Stubborn is now 50 off the chart. Stubborn nonchalantly wanders around the house while I tell him to return to his chair.
Stubborn continues to refuse to obey, screams and complains about the injustice of being forced to do things he doesn't like, blames me for making him do those things instead of changing the world so that those things aren't necessary anymore, continues to ask WHYYYYYYYY?! By the end of this fit, Stubborn has broken the previous record, long held by Ian, of 50, and is 82 off the chart. Ian tells me that he is not enjoying Stubborn's fit, and I remind him that this is not the first time I've been through this experience, and that he used to throw things at me when he was mad. Ian quietly, sincerely says, "I'm sorry I used to act like that, Mom", and I experience a faint glimmer of hope that I might be doing something right after all.
Stubborn and I rest on my bed for Quiet Time.
I read to the older kids while Baby is, thankfully, sleeping. Everyone, except Stubborn, gets their snack, Ian gets his chores done, Marie ignores her chores, Stubborn starts working on his schoolwork.
Ian brings the mail in. I notice a package addressed to "Rachel CDP LastName", and I tear up a little over the thoughtfulness of that.
While I begin checking schoolwork, Marie, who still hasn't done her chores, disappears outside with one of her brothers; I believe their plan has something to do with dirt and water, but, at this point, I don't really care. I start checking Stubborn's schoolwork; he is polite and courteous. He listens to my questions and responds appropriately. He inquires about the number of spaces he needs to move up to get back on the chart; I tell him that I'm not going to reveal that number because it would only distract him from making progress to work himself back up.
Husband comes home! I finish checking Stubborn's work and retreat to my room. I open my CDP to discover a delightful book called Modern Minds: An Anthology of Ideas. I look through the contents and decide to read a piece by Shirley Jackson called, "The Third Baby's the Easiest". I had a well-needed laugh, and decided that this author reminds me a lot of Swistle, and I should look up her book, Life Among the Savages at my first opportunity.
7:00pm Despite being completely drained, I head to the store because we are out of milk, and ice cream is DESPERATELY needed.
And this, my friends, is why I will be unable to stop eating ice cream for MANY YEARS.


Kenner said...

Oh man, my first instinct is to laugh, which makes me feel AWFUL, but in all honesty . . . I think the only other option is to FREAK OUT over what will likely be my own future, and I don't like that choice ;) So I choose to laugh, but I hope you don't take it personally! ;)

Also, I think this is something that should be shared with teenagers who think, "Oh, I'll just have a baby and it'll be so cute and it'll be nice to have someone who loves me and who I can dress up and take places to play!" REALITY CHECK! ;)

And good luck, and hugs, and I wish you many years of delicious ice cream ;)

liz said...

My immediate thought on Stubborn was "Growth Spurt?"

'Cause although I've only got the one, he is a menace to my joyful attitude the two days before he grows three inches at once.

Annika said...

Shirley Jackson is my VERY FAVORITE AUTHOR and you will LOVE Life Among The Savages. Try not to be surprised when you discover that in addition to hilarious family stories she also wrote gothic horror that will KEEP YOU UP AT NIGHT.

shin ae said...

I actually teared up when I read the part about Ian apologizing to you. It just made me so happy for you. Of course, the rest of it: Oh. Oh dear.

Anyway, BLESS YOU.

PinkieBling said...

HOLY WHAT. Ice cream is beyond justified. What do you DO when you can no longer bodily force them to stay put, etc.? ARGH.

Ian's apology was my favorite part of this post.

I hope easier days are immediately ahead!

d e v a n said...

Oh man! I had to laugh at the name of that book, the one about the 3rd child. All of my friends with 3 or more have all agreed that our 3rd is the most work. haha
We even refer to it as The Third Child Syndrome.

Mrs. Irritation said...

Wow, your boys have some kind of staying power, don't they? You poor love.

"I'm sorry I used to act like that, Mom" is what makes it all worth it, though, isn't it? Hold on to those tiny moments. Well, those and a lot more ice cream.

twisterfish said...

Ohhh, that comment from Ian is priceless!
And yes, I can see the need for ice cream. You should buy that in bulk.

Cayt said...

Hey, Ian's doing really great! Sorry that Stubborn is being so difficult.

Sam said...

I am thrilled to find a fellow mom who vanishes for a bit when dad gets home on those tough days. Poof! Into the bedroom I go, until I no longer feel like stabbing myself or others. (Or when I hear the savages taking over and I rescue my husband.) (Sometimes I don't hear it because sound machine plus ear plugs plus willful ignoring work very well.)