Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bringing Down the Hammer

Sometimes I think they've got the right idea in Catholic schools...
 As you might have noticed, I updated my reading list to include the Nanny 911 guidebook on how not to be a big pussy with your kids and make them behave without beating them senseless.  It's a great book -- full of very practical advice and information and tips and techniques that really work.

Not that I'm really a big pussy with my kids, but lately I've been so exhausted and feeling besieged by life that I've ignored irritating behavior because if I didn't ignore it, I would scream and then everyone would feel bad and cry, and the crying would give me a headache.  So Zeke has gotten away with going to bed later than he should and has demanded chocolate milk at every turn and I've given it to him because it was easier than not giving it to him, and he's just generally been acting kind of obnoxious.

Except when he's not.

That's the problem with 3-year-olds.  When they're on their game, they are seriously the cutest, sweetest, most charming people on the planet.  But when they're not, you want to throw them out the window and not look back.

There isn't much middle ground, unfortunately.

The past few days, Zeke has gotten less than stellar progress reports from school.  Not listening, not taking part in group activities, complaining of being tired, and generally acting like a little jerk.

And while I'm willing to endure a certain amount of bad behavior, I sure as hell don't want to be known around the daycare as the asshole parent who refuses to discipline her child, so last night I got out my trusty guidebook and then got to work. 

We now have a big chart on the refrigerator listing the house rules.  They are simple but broad -- listen and obey, use nice words, sleep in your own bed, no hitting/throwing, things like that.  We had a family meeting at which I explained the rules and the consequences for failing to follow them.

Zeke was informed that he would get no chocolate milk unless he came home today with a good report from the teachers.  He wasn't happy about it, but he dealt. 

And we had a good night.  Everyone sat nicely and ate dinner at the table.  We read books and then everyone went to sleep and stayed in their own beds.  "Please" and "thank you" rang throughout the house. 

We'll see how long it lasts.


  1. I 1000% relate. To the being too tired to discipline. To the kid turning into a little shit at times but then being so sweet and good you can't stand it. On Sunday my former boss came over for lunch and brought Walt a present-a cute towel with a frog hood. Since it wasn't a toy, Walt opened it and then dropped it on the floor and ran away saying, "NO!" Total. Shit. I've been lax with thank-you notes until that point. The kid is writing one for every gift he gets from now on.

  2. Ugh.

    It's so hard to figure out where to draw the line. On one hand, you don't want to spend all of your time, and all of your interactions with your kid, nagging and bossing and laying out the rules. On the other, you don't want to raise an asshole.

    But I do feel strongly that so much of it is the age, and that both Zeke and Walt will get to a point soon when the sweet-lovey-wonderfulness far, far outweights the crappy incidents. Fingers crossed.