The kids finally went back to school.
Last week after a particularly frustrating referee episode (you know what I mean--where the Mom has to put on the stripes) I picked up my well-worn copy of Love and Logic for Toddlers and was reminded of a few tricks that I had yet to try. I resolved to do better.
So, Mark was gone every night this week for work, scouts, basketball game with Boston, tickets from friend Aaron to a comedy show, etc., and the days have been dragging along for me as temporary single parent. Friday night I was trying to give Leslie her piano lesson and Boston was whining about something or other. Something in me snapped. The light came on, and I knew now was the time to pull out my new Mama weapon, The Energy Drain. For those of you who are not familiar with the Love and Logic tactics, keep reading, you are about to be amused. (I also threw in a healthy dose of melodrama--probably not necessary, but way more fun.)
I stop the music, stand up, and put my hand to my forehead. In a sad, sad voice I say, "Oh Boston. When you whine, it just drains ALL the ENERGY right out of me. You are gonna need to fill me back up. How do you think you could put some more energy back in Mom?"
Boston: I dunno.
Me: I think you can pick up those DVDs that Macy scattered all over.
Me: Oh no, there goes some MORE energy. Now you can pick up the DVDs AND those three balls.
Boston thinks for a second. Wails some more.
Me: Oh no, I'm getting lower and lower. You are really going to have to fill me up good. How 'bout the DVDs, those 3 balls, and your dinosaurs.
Boston thinks this is funny and fake wails to see what will happen.
Me: Yep, still more energy is draining. Now you need to pick up the DVDs, the balls, the dinosaurs, and the Little People mess (which was quite large).
Leslie is catching on quick and tries to coach Boston to keep his mouth shut.
Boston is in denial, thinking that Mom would never make him do all those jobs just for a little whining, and starts to wail again. I decide to cut off this little game of chicken quickly.
Me: How about we'll have prayers, then I will I go upstairs and get Macy ready for bed so you can have a chance to fill my energy back up? By the way, right now, I don't think I'm going to have enough energy to be able to read you a bed time story tonight. That will be really sad.
Then we have family prayers and I take Macy upstairs to bed. Boston sobs through the prayer and I ignore him.
I was almost done reading Macy her bedtime story when we were rudely interrupted by two excited little boys, who barged into her bedroom, talking at the same time.
Boys: Mom, Mom! Come see! We have a surprise for you!
Me: Ooh. That sounds good. Have you two brushed your teeth yet?
Boys shake their heads no.
Me: Hmm. I already told you guys to do that. Telling kids to do things more than once drains my energy.
Boys: (Looking at each other in shock, laughing, and pulling each other out of the room, slamming the door, racing down the hall) AAAHHHHGGGHH!
I finish Macy's story with a smile. Pretty soon Cooper ventures back in.
Me: Have you brushed your teeth yet?
Cooper smiles and exhales minty freshness for me. I tell him I'm almost done and that he can wait for me in the hall. A few minutes later he propels me down the stairs and tells me to close my eyes. Boston is waiting there, and proudly shows me the spotless basement. Not only did he (with a little help from his kindly brother Cooper) clean up all the suggested messes, they cleaned up everything else, too.
I stretch up big and tall and flex my newly restored muscles.
Me: Wow! That filled me up to the tip top with energy! I bet I even have enough energy for TWO bedtime stories!
Cooper and Boston look at each other like it's Christmas morning and race for the shelf.
I told Mark all about it that night, and I happen to know that his energy drained out a little bit while I was at the temple the next morning, but Boston was quick to fill him back up.
I wonder if the Energy Drain works on almost-eleven year olds? I thought about it when I reminded her to practice the next day. She cut me off quick. "Mom...uh....we never finished my lesson!"
Macy made us laugh last night. She generally wants to be done eating before she has eaten "enough", so our family trick to get her to take more bites is to quiz her about stories and cartoons and princesses...things like that. If she takes a bite she gets a question. Someone asked her about a show she likes, "Jake and the Neverland Pirates." She treated us to an impromptu concert of the Theme Song to that show, made extra cute by her little singing hands that dance all over the air like butterflies. We were mimicking her a little bit and Leslie challenged her to try singing it again without using her hands (Mark and I are silently protesting...we love the hands...don't mess with a beautiful thing!!) Anyway, Macy sat on her hands and sang it again. Mark told her he liked it better with the hands.
After a few minutes more of eating, Macy got a bright idea to please her Dad. "I know Dad, I can sing it with my eyes closed!" And she did. SO talented!!
This morning when I was getting her dressed for church, she was asking if I was going to let her wear her bloomers today. I said no, she didn't need them. She informed me, "I'm going to call them "blackmers". Cause they're BLACK, not BLUE!"