Our recent weather pattern has provided me with a whole extra week of Christmas break with my kids. This has led me to have a variety of different feelings…. Some high, and the rest…..NOT that high.
I love my children dearly, but they are making me crazy! To give them a little credit though, having to spend greater than 21 days with ANYONE in an enclosed space, would leave me feeling more than a little annoyed! Truthfully, they themselves are not annoying me, nearly as badly as having to deal with their annoyances amongst one another. They will NOT stop fighting!
I attempted to entertain them, by playing outside for the last two days. We all got some pent up energy out, by making snow forts and sledding all day. We saw the light of day, and we got to spread out…. It was precisely what we needed. I thought I had done my good motherly duty, and was feeling anxious for them to go back to school today. After sledding last night however, I learned that there would be no school again…..the 5th snow day this week!
If I hadn't been in such shock, tears would have physically been running down my cheeks. My poor aging body could not endure a third day in that snow. I didn't want to pick up another shovel or climb another hill. I was tired, and my body was sore. I also was certain I could not endure another day in this house, listening to them fight over a glove, or a charger, or who gets the last piece of bread.
So, I told them that if we all work together to tidy the house, that I would be happy to take them to lunch, at an all you can eat buffet, and then take them to the movie. It seemed like a deal for all of us! There was a catch though. There could be absolutely NO fighting for the entire day!………HA! Clearly Im a pretty big dreamer….either because of high hopes or simple psychosis!
When they were younger, prior to the adoption, and even for awhile thereafter, we dealt with alot of behavior problems. We didnt know what we were doing, and one of our children was able to control our household, by simply misbehaving. Any plans that we would make as a family, would inevitably fall through, because of the implemented punishment. The other kids would suffer, because we couldn't go anywhere. Eventually, we smartened up and figured out how we could work both angles.
Surprisingly, It only took a handful of times before we noticed the behavior change. Apparently, it isnt as appealing as it seems, to pack a sack lunch to go to dinner with your family……. Especially when it is spirit night for school at a nearby restaurant, where all of your friends will ALSO likely be. Every time we had a behavior problem at school that day, or prior to going to dinner, we would have that child make their own dinner to take, and the rest of us would carry on with our original plans. Aside from a quick burst of guilt that would go as quickly as it came, I felt like a ton a bricks had been lifted off of my chest. I even had a tiny bit of satisfaction, by watching their heads go down as the waitress tried to take their order.
Like I said, I only had to do this a handful of times, before they realized my seriousness…..and actually, it has been a good couple of years since its happened. Unfortunately today, desperate times called for desperate measures. Oh……I warned them before it happened!…… “If I hear one single fight before leaving, that person may make a peanut butter sandwich and watch the rest of us load up at the buffet”. They all nodded their understanding, but apparently they forgot that I ALWAYS follow through!
They started by fighting over who was picking up a coat….I then sent a warning call….”peanut butter sandwich”!
Then one punch was thrown to the stomach by one, followed by a kick in the head to reciprocate, which directly resulted in two sack lunches at the buffet, and 6-7 handfuls of their own tears…. THIS mama had had it! The only problem was that we were out of bread, which means they had to take a thermos! One chose speghettios, and the other ate refried beans.
I had never followed through with this at a buffet before, and I admit it was a little more difficult to deal with. The hardest part of this punishment to begin with, is dealing with the mean stares from the waitress and other patrons. The kids looked so pathetic in the corner, with their heads down and their cheeks red, while trying to put thier refried beans into the cup of their thermos. If it was another persons kid, I might feel the same way. However, IT WASNT…..and I WAS feeding my children, I simply wasnt going to reward their undesired behavior, with my own money! It was painful for them to watch their other two siblings come back, after their fourth trip to the buffet, with ice cream and macaroni and cheese, but wasn't that the point?
The waitress couldnt make eye contact with them and called this punishment TORTURE! I admit, I was a little uncomfortable, but we made it through, and they are still alive with full bellies, and hopefully a good life lesson.
I would love to make a sign for them to each put above their doors, with my own quote….
“If I dont behave appropriately today, I aint gonna get to eat at the buffet”