Sixteen: Number of months since we started Parenting on Track.
Twelve: Number of months since I last posted here.
Four: number of months we did the homeschool routine last spring. Do not recommend.
Three: number of heavenly months the kids and I lived at the ShoreClub last summer....my first and last summer not working spending all summer with them. Definitely recommend.
Eight: number of months each kid has been in school so far this year - and each one loving his or her wonderful placement
Six: number of months I have been at my new job, and loving it. Number of months my husband and I have reversed roles since my new job, with him ending his work day at 3:00 to be with the kids after school, schlep to sports and make dinner. Definitely recommend.
One Hundred and Fourteen: number of months until my youngest child graduates from high school. Number of months I have left to train my children to leave the house and contribute to society. Cannot wait.
This post is about the Six.
SixThe past six months have been nothing short of amazing. I attribute the harmony and ease in our house to the shift in attitudes and behaviors that have occurred in us as a result of a new awareness and attending to the importance of training our young and the importance of caring for ourselves.
Morning Routine Before School/Work:
- Husband: leaves super early to get started on work.
- Waking kids up, making breakfast, cleaning, hollering, walking around the house very very quickly, complaining, hollering, rushing, printing things for others, going through backpacks, making lunches, finding children's shoes, finding children's socks, putting socks and shoes on children, finding children's coats,
- Exercising, Showering, Dressing, Drinking Coffee, Eating Breakfast, Putting on Makeup, Doing my Hair.
- Please notice that the items in my list of Today's Morning Routine did not appear in the routine of yesteryear. Yes, it is true: I did not do any of these things before going to work in the past. I swear. I did what I could in the car on the way there and I showered at night.
- moving slow, not moving
- wake up to alarms, get dressed, get cereal, clear table, make lunch, pack snack, shoes and socks, BRUSH HAIR (even Piper!!), brush teeth, play with the cat, get out the door in time for the bus.
Get this: Several times per week I actually leave the house before they do. They look at the clock and make it to the bus stop every time.
One episode last fall helped us along in this department. I said I would be driving them to school (which I was doing regularly at the time) at the normal time, but that I would be leaving at 8:00 whether or not they were in the car and that if they weren't in the car they would need to walk to school. I said it one time and one time only. Sure enough at 8:00 they weren't in the car and I actually left. I actually left. I drove out of the neighborhood and hovered nearby for 20 minutes. Then, I drove to the entrance of school (1/2 mile from our house) and from my vantage point I could see them entering the building. They were FINE.
Are things perfect around here? Certainly not. Do we have a long way to go still? Absolutely. Is Piper's hair actually brushed? Not even close. (She still has a daily rat nest in the back that accumulates in density between hair-washes which can sometimes extend past 7 days. I still have to pray for the strength to not care what other mothers think.)
Take nagging & reminding for example. We still do it occasionally. Especially "clear you plate." Our new cat will drink the milk dregs from abandoned cereal bowls and then later vomit on the carpet. I have threatened that whomever leaves out a cereal bowl will be responsible for cleaning the vomit. But that means I would have to leave the vomit there all day until the child came home from school and I am just not willing to do that, not yet. I wonder how many vomits I will clean before I am willing?
I also make lunches occasionally in rescue-mode when a child ran out of time.
I make breakfast occasionally (and always on weekends) in children-must-have-protein-mode because they will always choose the path of least resistance (ie pour a bowl of cereal). The prospect of preparing eggs and bacon is just out of the question for them. Besides I like eggs and bacon so why not make five times as much and feed everyone?
Sometimes I dictate that a shower must be taken or nails must be cut. I forgot the "as soon as" trick and go into authoritarian mode. Authoritarian mode is much more effective when used sparingly. Since I rarely lapse, when I do laspe, it is amazing how quickly they respond! .... tempting .... but not sustainable.
Sometimes before pulling out of the garage, when I know someone has forgotten something important, I will look at that someone in the eye and ask if he or she has everything he or she needs. For this they are usually eternally grateful and love me, love me, love me. I love to see the entitlement replaced with gratitude.
But I never, ever carry their backpack.
They are slowly, very slowly, getting acclimated to more work and less lying around. They are more willing to clean up a big mess together, as a team, and have fun while doing it. (Hint: teach them how to blast their favorite song while they work.) A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down!
And me? I am very much enjoying life and enjoying my children. I am much better at slowing down my busy-ness and listening to them when they want to talk or show my their drawing. I feel better physically since I have more time to take care of myself. And, believe you me, I look much better in the morning with make up on and my hair done!