What a week we've had!
My grandmother stayed with us for the past 8 weeks and she went home this past weekend. I'm sure this is contributing to the boys' mood the past couple days. And mine. And our dog's (she brought her small dog with us, our dog's sister, and they love playing with each other). We all miss Granny!
Despite missing Granny, the boys are driving me nuts. We've had so much whining and fighting and arguing. They've started arguing with each other-- all three of them-- like in movies:
Um, imagine listening to that for twenty minutes straight. Every half hour. For three days. I feel like as soon as I split up a fight, another one is starting, or the boy I just sent away wanders over to pick a fight with a different brother.
Today I stood in line for coffee with the two toddlers. By the time I got up to the register, both of the toddlers were hanging on my ankles whining non-stop.
I tried being upbeat with them, "Momma, doesn't know what that means! Use your words!"
To which I would get this response:
The young woman in line behind me tried commiserating with me, "Oh, man, this line really is taking forever, isn't it?"
But I wasn't in the mood. She was holding an iPhone and a recently purchased book. She was waiting to get her coffee so she could hole up in a corner of the book store and read for the next 8 hours. I was waiting in line to get a drink so that I could make it through storytime without losing my marbles. (I briefly considered asking her if she would like to switch places with me for the next, oh, forty minutes or so...)
Our five-year old is picking fights with the toddlers. Our toddlers are picking fights with our five-year old. The toddlers are picking fights with each other. All three boys are picking fights with me. And then I'm picking fights with my husband.
Why can't we all just get along?
Last night my husband and I had a good talk while we made dinner. We sent all the boys to the playroom, repeatedly. Then two of them to time out. Then all of them to sit on their bed until dinner was ready. (Apparently no one wore their listening ears yesterday.) My husband and I discussed with each other what was working and what wasn't working around the house. We discussed what needs our five-year old had that weren't being met. We discussed the needs of both our two-year olds. We discussed our own needs and how we each would like the day to go. We came up with a new discipline plan that we both could agree on.
Then we called the boys out for dinner-- only two of them actually ate. Then we took a family walk after dinner, where our five-year old kept riding his bike way too far ahead of us, one of our toddlers refused to use his legs and screamed at the top of his lungs half the way back home, and the other toddler walked painfully slow behind all of us. When we finally (finally, finally, finally) got back home, my husband got the boys ready for bed while I splashed water on my face before we put the boys down for an early bedtime. Best of all, my husband and I spent the rest of the evening laughing and making jokes while we put a decent dent in our Halloween candy and watched DVR'd shows in peace. :)
Sometimes that's what you need, a restart, an acknowledgment that things are going in the wrong direction. Sometimes routines and schedules that have worked in the past suddenly stop working and it starts rubbing everybody the wrong way. Right now we are at that awkward point of figuring out what needs to change. My husband took our five-year old bowling this afternoon while I took our toddlers to storytime. When we told our five-year old what his plans were today, he immediately perked up and became Mr. Helpful around the house, cheerily greeting us when we got home from storytime, "Can I help you unload the van, Momma? Daddy and I have lunch ready for you!" We are still working out the kinks, but we are moving in the right direction.
And I would like to add a huge THANK YOU to my husband who always keeps me laughing.