My husband laughs that we use riot controlling techniques to calm them down--attempting to divide and conquer--as the sheer noise from our trio is sometimes hard to overcome. If they are excited about something, it is like a flock of squawking birds as they cover me up with their glittering eyes and chattering mouths.
I don't mind the excited chatter as much, it comes with the exuberance of this age. The part that is most frustrating for me is when they simply do not listen to important things I am trying to tell them. These independent, increasingly capable little people have mastered the art of 'tuning me out.'
In an attempt to avoid raising my voice more than necessary--and in the spirit of positive reinforcement--I decided to try a new approach. I gathered my little ducklings and explained to them that Mommy was serious about teaching them to listen. I often have instructions that are important to their safety or the smooth operation of our home. I encouraged them to start really listening, as I often had special things to tell them they would not want to miss.
Later, I asked the children repeatedly to do something (put on shoes maybe...or load up in the car) and no one was listening. In the same exact voice and volume I said, "Anyone who is listening to Mommy gets candy. Come with me right now."
Only one child followed. I filled her hands with candy and suddenly I had the boys' undivided attention. When they asked for candy, I explained that only the one who was listening got the treat...and they howled. And stomped. And protested. "That's not fair! I wanted that!"
I had not intended a spiritual lesson, but I got one loud and clear. How often do I miss out on blessings--not because they are being cruelly withheld, but because I am not paying attention?
More on this thought later...