Tuesday, January 6, 2009

ice day take two and my misbehaving kids

Don't forget to keep the recipes coming in!

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School's called off again for freezing rain/ice again today. Ugh.
I wish it would just snow already. At least that looks pretty and the kids can play.
Just ice is just such a nuisance...
I had big plans for the day. None of which included being stuck inside with my five year old here and not being able to leave the house this morning.

Since I haven't done much mommy blogging lately, about the kids anyway, and since I'm stuck here staring at their faces all day, I guess I'll take some time to get started on the "updates" I've been meaning to do for weeks now...
Or just vent about their antics lately.

Somewhere along the way, Sawyer's picked up the word dangit. And suddenly started saying it all the time. With feeling. I know it's not a 'bad word' per say, but it sure doesn't sound all that nice coming out of a three year old's mouth constantly. Especially because it's muttered under his breath a lot and he's not the easiest kid to understand on a regular basis and much of the time it really does sound awfully close to the other not so nice word. So I've been trying to nip that in the bud. For awhile there he was saying "oh, Pickles!" and I liked that. That was amusing. Apparently it didn't pack enough of a punch for him though.

I've talked to Sawyer multiple times about saying dangit, letting him know that it's not a very nice word, it doesn't really make anyone feel very good when he says it, it's not helping him feel less frustrated, and it just basically makes him sound ugly. I've offered other ideas of things to say (bummer, oh man, oh pickles!... love that one!) but in the moment he still goes back to dangit. I finally said I've talked about it enough and I just flat out don't want to hear that word anymore. I told him that he'd have to go be by himself if he was going to talk like that, where no one else has to hear if he chooses ugly words. He told me very nicely he won't say it anymore.

And then the next time he was bummed or got frustrated? He popped out a Bangit!.
And then ever so sweetly turned to me...
"See mom, I didn't say dangit. I say Bangit. Bangit okay? Bangit Bangit Bangit!"
He thinks he's so clever. The thing is, I could totally tell that it wasn't an innocent, 'hey, this isn't technically mommy's "bad word" ' discovery... it was completely a 'haha mom, I found a way around your stupid rules, now what are you going to do about it?'!

Now I realize I should probably treat it the same as the original offending word, explaining that it's the thought and the tone of it that I'm trying to redirect... but I just decided to ignore it. If he says dangit, he still gets reminded and/or sent away, but when he purposely says Bangit, just to get around it and see if he gets a reaction from me, I act like I don't hear a thing. And it's pretty funny because I can tell he's actually disappointed when I don't react to it. haha!

Savannah's currently in about the worst trouble of her life this week.
This kid has always had issues with marking things up... not only has she since the age of two been obsessed with drawing and writing on every paper surface she can get her hands on, often that has spilled over to drawing/writing on walls, tables, furniture, etc. I've always been puzzled by it because Savannah is most definitely the "smart" one. I'm not talking about her pen and paper abilities... I'm talking about the well behaved, knows better, always follows the rules kind of kid. Except apparently when it comes to leaving her mark.

We went through many trials of her writing on walls and furniture. And I'm not referring to a toddler who is learning consequences. This is when she was four and five years old and most definitely knew better. She's been grounded from pens, pencils, crayons, whatever, for weeks at a time. And let me tell you, I thought every time that would turn her around because it just kills her to not be able to write or draw. She's lost without it.
But every few weeks still, I'll find a smiley face somewhere, or her initials, and let me tell you it gets really old.

Apparently she's finally gotten the fact that she can't use a pen or pencil to deface our home.
...She's now moved on to carving.

A few weeks ago we found a capital letter M etched into the newel post (the big post at the bottom of the stair rail) at the foot of the stairs in our entryway. Yes, carved in. Yes, it's pretty much the first thing you see when you walk in our front door. Nice.
Here, I'll show you a picture. Ignore the other poc marks. For now.





























Ooooh, was daddy mad about that one. She didn't get much of a punishment, just a very firm talking to. I was thinking she probably didn't quite grasp the severity, the permanance of what she did. Ryan railed her up and down about taking care of our house and just like drawing on things this was hurting our house, only worse. That she was never ever to do anything like that again.

I didn't think she'd try it again. But look what I found this weekend...























Dozens and dozens of poc marks on every side of the tops of both of the newels posts she sat and made with a pole from one of Sawyer's golf flags.
These I was actually dreading Ryan seeing.















What do you do for punishment for something like this? It's not like she can pay for it... (I can't even afford to replace these). Grounding her doesn't seem like a logical consequence, although I seriously considered it as we discovered this as she was on her way out the door to spend the night at her friend's house.
In the end we talked (again!) about taking care of our home and I had Savannah sit down and help me come up with ways she can help 'take care' to make us feel better about the damage she did to our home. We came up with a list of household chores she has to do this week; she has to clean up the playroom -all herself- every night this week before bed, she has to wash the front windows and the back door, she has to hand mop the hardwoods in the entryway, and she has to wipe down the stair rails/balisters/molding and sweep the carpet on the stairs. She's definitely not happy about these extra jobs (especially the whole playroom responsibilty), but she's surprising complained very little, knowing she deserves it.

What would you have done?

Oh, and any tips for teaching a kindergartner how to tie shoes??

10 comments:

heresthediehl said...

I don't really have any suggestions other than what you've already done...

I just thought I'd share this so you don't feel so alone!

I think Luke and Savannah are a lot alike: rules-followers, responsible, love of drawing/writing/creating. On our Chicago trip in Nov, Luke took a pencil and drew a few lines on the DVD screen. No idea why. He's also twice in 6 months' time taken a scissors and snipped a piece of his clothes (once I blogged about it; the second time I was too mad to!). He was grounded from scissors for 2 weeks, and now has to use them only under my supervision.

I'll be interested in responses from other people with discipline suggestions. It's so frustrating because I KNOW he knows better.

Ashmash said...

I think you handled the banister thing really well - teaching her that taking good care of the house is very important will only do her good. If you decide to fix this by sanding down and re-staining the wood, I would definitely have her help with that project if it were my daughter (at least the sanding). So she knows how extensive the damage really was.

Maybe involve her in future renovation/fix-it projects so she knows what hard work it is to take care of a home, and she will respect what's been done.

I actually remember carving in the wood at home when I was a kid. I remember my dad being FURIOUS because he had spent almost a year removing paint and refinishing ALL the woodwork in the house. funny though, I don't remember what my punishment was!

Whew - sorry for the long comment. Good luck!

Erin said...

I have a few suggestions.
First, I believe the punishment should always fit the crime, so kudos to you for doing the best you can to make that happen.

Second, perhaps it's reinforcing what you're trying to undo, but have you thought about giving her one wall that is all hers? My sister had this problem for years, as well. She wrote on everything. In fact, she'd crawl behind the couch to make tiny little marks on the wall. It was like she couldn't help it almost. So my mom finally took one wall of her room and designated it for her to do whatever she wanted. At the time it was wallpaper but now they've got chalkboard paint and washable paint and all sorts of things like that. You could also just paint it a solid color and plan on buying good primer (I use Zinser123) when you're ready to paint over it. It seemed to work for Annie to know that this was her space - her art - her wall. She even delighted in her friends getting to write on her wall when they came over. Just make sure it looks different from all the other walls. Not plain white or anything like that so that other kiddos don't get confused.

If you go this route, let her know that this is her wall to decorate. That the rest of the walls are the family's walls and we keep them the way they are now, etc., but here she has free reign over what it looks like. She's a creative girl and she's looking for an outlet. It just might solve your problem.

Whatever you do, good luck with it!

hotomom said...

Wow Heather that's a toughie. L loves to draw on paper ALL THE TIME. She used to draw on her table and her kitchen set with pen and it doesn't always come out but carving is another thing. I think you handled it well. You are her parent and knows what's best to do. Possibly could it be sanded down and restained? If you did that I would make her help. I don't know. I usually call my mom and ask her :) she always tells me what she thinks. Want her number?! Just kidding :)

anne said...

I have no advice for you, but I just have to say oh my gosh. And yikes...thinking about all that's still to come on the road of parenthood. Carving on wood in the house? I would have completely lost my cool on that one. It sounds like you came up with some good consequences though. Keep us updated! (oh, just a quick thought I had. What if you gave Savannah an old piece of wood or something that could be her carving station?)

kimca01 said...

LOL I had to laugh as it reminded me of the time my sister carved MY NAME into the kitchen table and I'm STILL getting hell from it, even though my sister totally admits to doing it! I have recipes for you- will get them together.

Zoe said...

lmao. i'm so glad i am not alone.

Nicole said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gina said...

I think you handled it really well and I think involving her in a project to fix it up would make a lot of sense too. When I was a kid I carved my brother's name into the deck which resulted in my brother getting in trouble and then me after the truth came out(with none of the clever and more teachable punishments that you chose for Savannah). Good luck and I hope your home doesn't get too many more defacements =).

Anonymous said...

I think that I would not have let her go spend the night at her friend's house. I know it sounds mean but you already talked to her about it once, then when she does it again she just gets another talking too. I do not think that there is anything wrong with grounding her. She is old enough. She is a great little girl and she is just testing you. Good Luck.

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