Thursday, October 25, 2007

It's a Wild Ride

First of all, many thanks for the great tips. They could not have come at a better time and I know others enjoyed reading your words of wisdom for ideas for their family.

NO ONE napped yesterday afternoon. After almost an hour of room time (not starting until almost 3pm) I gave up and decided when the sitter arrived we would all go run a few errands.

I desperately needed to go to Sears to get the battery replaced in my Yukon. The mall has a terrific indoor play area, so I thought we'd get a change of scenery and wear them out. Of course, the 10 minute drive put both boys to sleep at 4:45pm!

I had to get the battery replaced because it has been dying a slow death for over a week. I have been petrified it was going to finally die completely one rainy afternoon when I had a carful of groceries and hungry, tired children. So, as we pulled into the repair bay and the mechanic informed me it was going to be about 45 minutes, there was no choice but to wake everyone up and try to get them excited about the indoor playground.

The plan was for the children to enjoy playing under the watchful eye of the sitter while I stepped into the Gap quickly to grab a pair of leggings. Of course, K needed to go potty as soon as I had stepped into the Gap. I had no sooner started tapping my toes to the overhead music as I exhaled pent up stress when I heard little boy voices. "We don't need to go potty. We want to come wiff you."

This is a quick errand. How painful can this be? There are only two of them. Unfortunately, the leggings were right next to a huge rack of belts. The boys immediately started running through the belts shouting, "Look! It's like a car wash!" As belts fell all around them and I attempted to get the scene back under control, I realized I am now that woman that I once looked at and thought pridefully, "that will never happen when I have children.'" I knelt down on their level, held their hands and tried with my firmest, most serious Mommy voice (in hushed tones of course) to caution the boys that they could not run or squeal or otherwise ransack the store. As soon as I released their hands they were off...back into the belt rack! It didn't help that the teenager working in the store thought it was hilarious.

As I called them back out of the rack, P gleefully reached both arms up and latched on to the sweater I was holding. Before I knew what had happened, he had lifted up his feet and was swinging with his whole body from this unpurchased sweater, shouting "Woo Hoo!" Three year old boys are Wild Indians.

I decided my attempt to 'quickly purchase leggings' was not worth this and aborted my mission. We walked quickly out of the store, with their little hands touching EVERYTHING along the way like moths to a flame. A mannequin and a glass topped display were almost casualties.

As we entered the main hall I told them they needed to sit in Time Out until they could calm down. The closest spot to sit happened to be massage chairs. As I stepped back and surveyed the scene I couldn't help but giggle at my tiny boys sitting in those large, black fake leather massage chairs...pouting.

They were released to play. The sitter returned with K. Order was restored. The battery was repaired. I even managed to sneak back into the Gap ALONE and get the leggings.

We had our couples small group, then I had a Pastor Search Committee meeting and a 9pm trip to the grocery store. When I returned home and sat down to read your comments they gave me hope for this afternoon...and a giggle as I imagined freshly bathed children running laps around the house as classical music played.

I will try to have realistic expectations of my 3 year olds. I will look for the humor and embrace this chapter of life. I think that, in and of itself, will go a long way toward a happier mood in our family.


Courtney said...

You have to admit, the "carwash" was funny...what neat and creative little minds they have! I am glad though that it wasn't mine and sorry that they were yours! I, too, remember that time when I said, "I will never allow my child to do ___" and boy have those comments come back to haunt me...all of them! Hang in there and let us know how the classical music for bathed triplets go?! :)

HW said...

I have always said I was a much better parent before I actually had children.
And yeah, the carwash thing? As annoying as it was, it WAS very clever....

Renee said...

Soo precious Jen! Isn't it soo tough to be in the moment - but when looking back it brings such precious memories that 20 plus years from now we will probably want to relive.

Sweet blessings!

P.S. As it now stands, I am currently dreading a trip to the Children's Place with 3 in tow - and AT LEAST one of mine will DEFINITELY be in a stroller! ;-)

Cathy said...

When my girls were 2 and 3 I started a new rule that they were required to sit when I was making a transaction. It did not make sense that I should haul a double stroller into the post office or to pick up a pizza. I also decided that they were old enough to sit in the car without toys. I was tired of spending the 15 minutes in the car while driving to the mall reaching and feeling around behind me to constantly pick up dropped toys. Toys were reserved for a 2+ hour trip. I also have a no kid music rule in my car (because it would make me drive off a cliff) but I do make sure I have good, fun music (Beatles, B52s, etc.).

I sat them down on the couch, told them the new rules, and then ventured out.

We needed to go to the post office and the pharmacy. The no toys rules went suprising well, we all sang, talked, or they looked out the window. In the post office I had them sit on the floor next to my feet while I made my transaction. They thought it as funny but they stayed put (but I was also a stickler when I used the stroller and they were never allowed to climb out when we were in a store / shop so they know what I say is what I mean. Happily we were off to the pharmac across the street. They sat in the chairs as instructed, I was thrilled. Then it came time to leave. Then my 3 year old decided she didn't like the new rules anymore. She refused to leave and started screaming (that lovely arms being ripped off, horror movie screaming). I ended up dragging / carrying her out. Fun stuff. BUT, that was it. The new rules continued to be enforced and they would sit down on there own when with me for a quick transaction. Of course you have to keep ages and surroundings in mind and I would always make sure I stated my expectations before entering a building, but is was w.o.n.d.e.r.f.u.l. when it worked.

Kids are kids but they also need to know the world is not their playground. There is a time and a place and expected behavior. I would make sure we had fun and ran around whenever that was an option, we always did the play areas, used the fun car grocery carts (which was SO much better than pushing 2 carts), rode the 25 cent rides outside of a store, etc. BUT, when I says sit and wait, they then need to sit and wait. The fun stuff was not used as a reward or a bribe and I do not reward them, aside from high fives and lots of praise, for expected behavior. I do my best to include them and let them help but I also let them know at times, they need to wait and be patient while mom does boring stuff (lol).

Katy said...

oh how cute your kids sound! i know it has to be tiring...but they just sound so sweet!
I LOVED your last lil paragraph abbout having realistic expectations for them and embracing this time with them! You will be so glad you did once they step on that bus to go to Kgarten. I saw my oldest leave for her first day of school this year...and almost couldn't believe my first BABY...was NOT a baby anymore...ya know? Have a great rest of your week :)

Cathy said...

I thought of another evening tip for the witching hour, oatmeal. My girls LOVED to scoop oatmeal flakes. As you can imagine this is quite messy, but we don't have any pets (I don't want to take care of anything else that poops) and it is rather easy to clean up. I would give them a bowl, measuring cups, and a carton of oatmeal flakes and they would be entertained while I made dinner. After they were done I would dump the flakes back in the container and use them another day (and obviously not use them for cooking).

And the one tip that keeps coming back to mind is sleep. Sleep, sleep, sleep. I try to relate their behavior to how I feel when I am sleep deprived. Everything, for me, is magnified. Something that would make me a little irked makes me cry. Something that would make me laugh makes me collapse into an uncontrollable fit of hysterics. Imagine those same feelings trapped in the body of a 3 year old? When I go to bed just an hour earlier (easier said than done since I am a night owl) I feel SO much better then next day. Even now that my oldest is 9, sleep is still critical. I see a huge different in her attitude, her reactions, and her personality when she is well rested. It doesn't seem to affect my younger one as much but it is still just as important.

I tried to do all of my running around before nap time. I did my best to avoid them falling asleep in the car because for some reason 10 minutes in the car equals 2 hours in bed. Too bad that doesn't work for us, can you image all of us mom dashing out to the car for a 10 minute nap?

Thanks for letting me relive those fun but oh so exhausting years.

wendymom said...

Thanks for checking on my today, friend. I laughed when I read the part about the massage chairs, I have always wondered if people really pay a dollar to sit in those things, but am happy to know they make great time out chairs as well. Too funny. I love it. Thanks for your prayers too.
luv you girl

Beth/Mom2TwoVikings said...

Aw, hon. You must be peeking into out lives again as well. LOL That's what ALL. THIS. WEEK. has been like here. One lunacy after another. I keep saying to myself...will this matter in 20 years...will this matter in twenty years...will this matter in twenty years! *wink*

Jenny said...

I tell ya, realistic expectations are the hardest! I struggle with that every day! BUt what else can you do when you have such brilliant children - ou know they KNOW better :-)

joan said...

That brought back memories of taking all three of mine to the mall and one running away and hiding under a clothes rack. He thought it was funny. But I do like your little guys imagination -car wash-LOL

Borbe Bunch said...

Been there, done that...and alone time in GAP is a dream come true :)
Thanks for telling us about your outing...and I have come to conclude that there is NO "fast" errand when our kiddos are in tow!!
Wouldn't change it for the world though....
You are doing a great job!

Kim said...

Your blog truly blesses my heart, and each time I see pictures of your 3 precious heart smiles.

Praying that God will continue to give you HIS strength...and wisdom, as you raise those precious children.

flippflop said...

Such a cute funny story about the car wash! Too cute.

Sometimes even when trips look and seem isn't.

Hope you get the leggings soon.