As a mom, you spend each day trying to maintain some semblance of order in the home -- to keep that rhythm going. You're basically the rock and you've got to stick to your guns or things could fall apart real quick. Making sure the teeth are brushed, flossed, & rinsed, that toys are picked up, providing semi-nutritious meals & snacks, monitoring the amount of shampoo used at bath-time, keeping the baby from splashing in the toilet, enforcing quiet time while limiting the number of times you use treats as bribery, . . . There's a balance somewhere in there. Having guidelines & expectations while not turning into a Nazi mom. But sometimes (in my case today), when you've been running the show on your own for too many days, you just have to relax and break a few rules.
Broken Rule #1: Don't over-indulge the children with "things".
This morning, before the boys' 9am swim lessons, Conner handed me his transformers and asked me to change it into the truck. He also asked me to do this yesterday. I had sat at the dinner table with the instructions layed out before me and the transformer in hand and could not figure it out. This particular set has stumped both Scott and I in the past (the label reading "for ages 5+" was way off the target) -- and realize that Scott grew up with many Transformer action figures of his own. So this morning I told Conner -- "you know, what? These Transformers are too hard for me to do. How about we go to the store and get a new one." But the deal included tossing the ones he currently owns -- he was fine with it. So we found a fighter-jet Transformer -- it's smaller, it is all just one piece, Conner can change it around all on his own, everyone is happy. This is a total break from the norm for me -- I never buy toys for my kids outside of their birthdays, Christmas, and Easter. I could tell that they knew this was a big deal from the squeals and jumping up and down and the unsolicited thank-yous that I received.
Broken Rule #2: Provide semi-nutritous meals and snacks
I was not in the mood for cooking dinner or fighting the kids at the dinner table or cleaning up. Then I started thinking, hmm. . . I haven't had one of the Burgerville blackberry milkshakes yet. From there it was decided. "Boys, we're having milkshakes and french fries for dinner tonight!" I'm sure they couldn't believe their ears when I said this. Can you imagine what must have been going through the minds of a 3 and 5 year old?! It's like, the best day ever! chocolate and vanilla milkshakes for the boys and 2 large fries to share.
Broken Rule #3: Remind the boys to be nice to their baby sister.
Before we left for our junk-dinner, I did have half a mind to give Anna some real food -- a waffle and a banana. I put everything on her plate, all cut up into bite-size pieces and asked Conner to be my helper and put food on her tray as she needed it. I was going to be cleaning/picking up around the kitchen & family room -- all within eyesight. Soon, Payton decided to be helpful too by throwing pieces of waffle at her. It was all landing on her tray, and he did it slowly, just one at a time. So I figured he's not hurting anything. Here's Anna, arms up waiting to receive the throw -- Payton is off camera to the left.
Katherine Hepburn said -- "If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun."
I would have to agree that there was a little more fun added to our day. But also a little more chaos. I guess it's up to you to decide which category waffle-throwing or Conner's discovery that Payton secretly switched their milkshakes would fall into.
another note: As we were pulling out of the Burgerville parking lot Payton said, "mom, can I have a snack?" Now do you see what I'm dealing with here? =)