Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Testing 1, 2, 3...

Several months ago, I touched on the topic of discipline. At the time, I was trying to figure out how to keep our babies off the coffee table ... before I finally decided that the coffee table had to go, because there was no way they were ever going to stop climbing on it.

I experimented with eliminating the word "no" from our vocabulary, but quickly realized that was crazy. "No 'no'?"

I tried spanking, and then recognized that the children quickly forgot what they were corrected for and unless I wanted to be constantly swatting my kids, I needed to come up with something else.

I dabbled with time out, but was dismayed that the kids appeared to enjoy time out more often than not. Whenever I put one in the corner, the other two would go and stand there with the one who I was trying to discipline.

Since I can't knowingly ignore negative behavior, I'm always on alert whenever the children are playing together. Even when I'm down on the floor playing with them, I have to keep my eyes scanning what everyone is up to. It is no exaggeration that I say "Be gentle! Let's try sharing!" more than 300 times a day.

There was once a day - that if our children were being mischievous, all I needed to do was redirect them to something else and they'd play happily. Unfortunately for me, those days didn't last and are now long gone.

These days, when our children have their mind(s) made up about something ... they will not stop until they get it. Or, until I snap, give them a swat and stick them in their crib devoid of toys or blankets. I love them with all my heart ... but they are persistent little buggers.

A partial list of the hot ticket items that they will not give up and which are driving me absolutely insane, include: pulling every single diaper wipe out of the warmer and scattering them across the floor (this really annoys me because the tidy cube of wipes that are automatically fed, is now a pile of wet towels); splashing their little hands in anything that contains water (toilet, dog bowl, puddles) resulting in their clothes getting soaking wet (this usually ONLY happens moments before we are about to walk out the door to something we are already 45 minutes late for); taking off every shred of clothing - including their diapers; climbing on top of the table and/or counters; chewing on electric cords that I thought I had strategically hid behind the couch; and last but not least, fiddling with our electronic equipment and reprogramming my cell phone.

I know that they know when they aren't suppose to do something. They will look at me ... and then very cautiously, do whatever it is that I don't want them to do. Let's say I see them in the act of climbing on the table ... I'll say "We don't climb on furniture ... sit on your bum!" and they will instantly drop to their bottom and give me a coy smile. If I turn my back for a moment ... they'll do it again. And again, and again.

And then usually, the other two will join in - and in no time flat, I'm running around like a loon telling my children "SIT ON YOUR BUM! SIT ON YOUR BUM!! SIT ON YOUR BUM!!!"

The girls are the ringleaders. Not so much the boy. William will follow suit to whatever his sisters are doing. Just this morning, moments after I had finished cleaning (of course), they got a hold of Charlie's ground coffee and decorated the playroom with black dust while I was preparing lunch, less than 10 feet away. I knew something was up when our house started to smell like Starbucks and the kids weren't making much noise. When I turned around and looked at them, they stared at me with coffee dust COVERING THEIR BODIES and with huge eyes they shrugged their little shoulders and said "oh oh."

They're testing me, I know it. They're seeing just how far they can push. But I'm starting to suspect all they want is to see my head burst in to flames again.


  1. What?!? No pictures of the coffee covered bodies?

    I hear ya. It's the same over here. Anytime it's quiet, you know something is going down. And I'm so familiar with the wipes all over the floor. Man I hate that!

  2. I really am disappointed that there are no coffee pictures either. I can smell the grounds from here though.

    Quiet is NEVER good. It always means trouble. Time-out works with us still...sort of. It at least gives them a minute to whine and most of the time they forget what they were fighting over to begin with. I'm STILL surprised that they stay seated no matter how hard they are crying!!! I've probably just jinxed myself now.

  3. Have you watched the Nanny? Well, this is the Noni speaking and when there is quiet with toddlers, you know there is something going up to mess up your home. I could tell when I was upstairs if my little ones opened the refrigerator. You get this sixth sense. I would suggest that it is time to put away the warm wipes---one less thing for them to get into. Put it in the bathroom! You have to be persistant about no climbing on the table--sit there and every time they do it--tell them No Danger! Perhaps I will be out with the "Blood" Spatula that I am accused of using.
    I'm off to see the other 15 Grands.

  4. Oh dear.....I have no advice at all. Especially seeing as how I'm still trying to get my William to stop slapping people in the face....ugh.....Maybe do away with the diaper warmer? It might be punishment enough to get cold wipes on your bum!

  5. I guess it's a good thing you have that Dyson!!

    Tracy B

  6. Jenna-
    Thanks for the popsicle idea! We will try it out tonight!

  7. Well NOni has spoken. I will leave it at that. LOL