Miss Lady and Danya, our two oldest girls, have both been under a lot of pressure lately to walk a fine line. We expect them to show leadership and responsibility lately without crossing over into trying to be the parent to the younger kids. It's been hard on both of them, especially when they feel like we hold them accountable for things that happen when they are "in charge" in a room out of my sight, but don't give them the authority to discipline their siblings.
Instead, we require them to tell the offender to stop what they are doing, and if they don't, then to come quickly to tell me what's happening. If I can just call that child to my room and deal with the problem verbally, there's usually not too much of a melt down for either kid, but when it's a situation that needs the actual physical presence of an adult, I usually have to send someone quick to wake up Daniel and have him rush to the scene of the crime. Poor, Daniel, he's not getting nearly enough sleep lately. There's no way I could effectively deal with all the issues that come up daily without him here.
Kevin and Brother seem to be taking the most advantage of my being temporarily disabled. It seems like the moment I let them out of their room, off time out, they are in trouble again. Kevin grins as he heads back to his room and I suspect that this all seems like a big game to him. When I tell him to stick his nose in the corner he goes, but then he constantly calls out to me, "Mommy, I'll be good now. Can I come out?" And no threat of punishment for talking or time added makes him stop. Now Brother is starting to copy Kevin, except that while he's on time out sitting on his bed he yells every 30 seconds, "Ma? Ott?", which is the closest he can come to asking me if he can come out yet.
The list of offenses for the boys seems to be never ending and the same ones committed daily. Kevin throws things at the other kids or hits them with things. They strip all the sheets, blankets, and pillows from their beds and pile them in the middle of the floor. They jump on the couch, slide down the stairs, barge into the girls' rooms while they're changing, draw on the walls and furniture, steal food, hide wet pull-ups in their rooms, scream at the top of their lungs, open the front door for fun, stuff toys down the floor vents, and destroy anything they can get their hands on. Today Kevin branched out a bit by ejecting Daniel's Star Wars Lego game from the Playstation 2 and breaking it into jagged shards then hiding the pieces in the couch. Yesterday he broke the monotony of the same old routine by secretly removing his pull-up and putting on a pair of Brother's underwear and then pooping in them. Tonight he stripped naked and hollered from his room for people to come see his "winky".
He's currently two years old. My hope is that he'll outgrow most of this behavior. My fear is that he'll simply get older and more diabolically clever at inventing new ways to misbehave and that Brother will continue to be his willing accomplice.
**This post is for my good friend, Glenda, who rightly pointed out that by failing to talk about my children's misdeeds and bad days enough, my blog might be giving the false impression that my children are perfect. Hopefully this helps show that they are very much normal children.