It was getting late and the three younger boys were already in the tub. Next step is pjs, brush teeth and bed.
I get a little tense at this time of the evening because I really look forward to bed time.
Bed time = me time.
And I need that. I need them to go to bed so I can have an hour or two without them, for my sanity.
My oldest son, Kai, still needed to get in the shower, but he didn’t want to. I was getting really frustrated about it.
He finally got into the bathroom and came running out dramatically saying he could not shower because of a cut on his arm.
Eye roll. Deep sigh.
Are you kidding me?
So I continued to tell him that he needed to get in the shower anyway, he was dirty, he needed to get clean, etc., etc. I even stated that I did not believe this is about his cut, but he was just saying that to get out of having a shower.
Did I mention bed time can be intense for me?
At that point I stopped paying a lot of attention to him because the other three in the tub were getting out, getting pjs on etc.
The next time I noticed my oldest son it was because I heard him in the closet crying.
As I opened the door and saw his distressed face and tears, I felt my heart soften. I coaxed him out and asked if he wanted to talk about it.
After the way I just treated him, of course he didn’t. He turned his head away.
I realized what was happening and asked gently for eye contact because I needed to tell him something really important. He turned to look at me.
“Kai, I realize that when you were talking about your problem taking a shower I told you I didn’t believe you. I am sorry for that. That was disrespectful. I really want to hear from you how you’re feeling about taking a shower. This time I will really listen. Would you give me another chance?”
He nodded his head and began to tell me how the water really hurt his cut and he just couldn’t shower. It wasn’t going to be possible. And this time I really did listen. And consider. He looked so tired, too.
I responded that we had something to do in the morning – meeting up with his cousin – and everyone needed to be clean. Could we find a solution that worked for both of us?
The solution we came to is that Kai would shower as soon as he woke up – before doing anything else and without being asked and get dressed and ready for the day on his own. We both felt good about this compromise.
The other consequence is that he could not climb in my bed and snuggle up for story time because he was dirty.
I teased him, “don’t touch my bed!” and pretended to be repulsed by his stink. He laughed.
Sweet Kai, I could tell after this conversation he felt so much connection with me - more than I have experienced lately with him.
He stayed in my room listening to stories as I read to the younger ones. He got his pillow and blanket and made himself a little bed on the floor right next to my bed. I let him sleep there the whole night.
When I woke up in the morning, Kai was bright and shining, freshly scrubbed and showered and ready for the day!
A solution was reached through listening, caring, connecting and compromising. And we both felt good about it.
*and honestly, haven’t you ever had a night where you decided to shower in the morning instead of the evening? Good grief.*
Have you ever compromised with your children before? Do you feel good about it? Apprehensive? What do you think of this technique?
“What’s going on?” I asked him.
He had been sitting on the couch playing with my ipod touch that I received for Christmas from my brother-in-laws. It is my prized possession.
I just love being able to post on instagram, listen to music, play candy crush and all the other silly but fun things I do on it.
He slowly and hesitantly reached inside the couch and pulled out my ipod, the glass cover cracked and smashed.
I felt hot tears come into my eyes. I was really upset.
“How did this happen?!” I asked frantically.
“I didn’t mean to. It was an accident!!” Jude was frantic as well.
I knew he was lying, I knew there was no way it could have broken like this on the couch on a carpeted floor. I just didn’t know what could have happened.
That’s when I noticed the rock in his hand.
We had stopped at a yard sale earlier that day and I had let the boys pick out some fools gold and crystals for a few cents.
Jude looked at the rock too and told me that he accidently dropped the rock on the ipod, that’s how it had cracked.
That still didn’t make sense to me. I couldn’t understand how dropping that rock could have ended up with the ipod completely smashed.
That’s when I looked into his little face and pulled him close.
“Jude, you mean so much more to me than this ipod. Yes, I love this ipod, but you are so much more important and I love YOU so much more. What’s most important to me right now is you telling me the truth. Because it’s not good for your heart to tell a lie. You won’t feel good inside if you do that.”
I then went on to tell him a little story. One I still feel shame and embarrassment over, even today as an adult.
I was maybe 10 or 11, much too old to do what I did, but I was curious, or bored, I’m not sure.
It was an afternoon and my sister and I were home alone while my mom ran some errands. I was sitting at my desk where the light bulb to my desk lamp had burned out.
I took the light bulb out and lightly tapped it on my desk. Nothing happened. I tapped a little harder. Still nothing.
Hmmm, that’s interesting, I remember thinking. I tapped a little harder still until finally the light bulb smashed all over. I honestly did not think that would happen!
I felt scared, shocked and embarrassed. I remember running upstairs and calling my grandmother. She came over and cleaned up the mess.
When my mom got home she was bewildered and confused. She was not happy that I had called my grandma and couldn’t understand how it had happened. I just lied.
Of course. What else would I say? The truth? That I just smashed a light bulb on purpose all over my desk? Of course not. It somehow happened by accident.
That lie still smolders today. I didn’t want my son to carry a lie like that with him.
After I shared that story with him he told me the truth. It was a very similar story. He just tapped the rock against the ipod to see what would happen. Then a little harder and a little harder until it smashed.
I hugged him tight and we both shed a few tears. He was so sorry. Then he began to offer suggestions – let’s take it to the store, maybe it can get fixed, let’s put a plastic cover on it, that will fix it. He was anxious and eager to repair his mistake.
There was no need for further consequences or punishment at that point. The message he needs to know deep down is that I value him and his honesty and that our relationship is still intact.
I could punish, I could shame him, I could make sure he “learned his lesson.” But really? What purpose will that serve either him or I? We reached a point of connection and understanding that no punishment or “consequence” could produce.
There is one natural consequence, though. Now that it’s broken, no one can play with it. It still works, but it’s too fragile now for children to use. Now that’s just a fact of life.
So I’m curious. Do you agree? Disagree? What would you do?
Just a fun, simple idea to do with the kids. Collect some rocks with your kids on your next walk. I picked out smooth stones, but the boys picked some more textured ones. Half the fun of this is collecting rocks, so take your time and enjoy it!
Wash them off and then paint them! I didn’t have a lot of paint on hand – on some of them I even used a little case of cheap watercolors. Whatever you have on hand – just have fun with it!
After the paint dried we added some embellishments with Sharpie markers and also gel pens – just to a select few.
The options are really endless!
Does that happen to you? Go to the bathroom and have a revelation.
Happens all the time to me. I get little flashes of inspiration in the stranges times and places. Shower is always a good one.
So I had the thought, “This is never going to happen.” Along with an overriding feeling of despair.
This thought is related to my current situation – living as a family of six all in one room.
It’s starting to drive me nuts.
I haven’t had a real home since we packed up and left our rental the end of October 2012. It’s getting to me. I’m losing hope.
And so I had the thought – this is never going to happen.
Or – in other words – this situation I’m in is never going to change. It’s just going to go on and on indefinitely. Until I go absolutely insane and pull all of my hair out.
And then it hit me.
How many times in my life have I had that exact same thought?
Literally. The exact. same. thought.
I began to remember – all at once – instance after instance of times I have felt the exact same way – that whatever it is I was hoping for would never happen.
Find a husband, Get my masters degree, Move to Costa Rica, Have a home, Start a ministry for at-risk children, Own land, ummm… I could go on and on and on and on.
It’s like I just don’t learn. I am so hard headed.
What will it take for me to understand?
It WILL happen. We will build and we will move onto this land. And I will not live in this one-bedroom garage forever.
Do you ever get like that?
Do you have those thoughts, too?
That whatever it is, fill-in-the-blank with your hearts desire, will just never happen?
I’ve got to believe that it’s just not true.
That actually, it’s right around the corner. And you just gotta hang on a little bit longer.
And the time might come in the future when you will look back and laugh at yourself, oh you of little faith!