Tuesday, February 26, 2013

There's Somebody Watching

My incredible husband made a huge dinner for my birthday celebration.  He spent two weeks planning and made all of my favorite things.  He had asked if I just wanted our family or if I would like to have all the extended family, too.  I thought about it and imagined our little boys all playing together while the adults shared stories over glasses of wine.  Yes, I wanted everyone there for my birthday.

Then they arrived.  As my husband was carrying a dish to the table he felt a crash on his head.  He looked up to see my 3 year old nephew dropping a waterfall of change out of a piggybank from the loft down to the level below.  And that was only the beginning.  My oldest son refused to share any of his new birthday toys with his cousins and this resulted in whines from all sides.  "He won't let me play with his toys!" my nephews exclaimed. (Plug your nose and say this out loud.  That's about how they sounded.) "Don't let him touch my new toys!" my guy would scream.  We did our best to manage the chaos but that's what it was, chaos.  We don't have a yard or else I would have shipped them outside.  We just had to take it.

After we fought to talk over the cacophony of little boy voices and shrieks, we started cleaning up the dishes. The two oldest (4 and 5) started spinning and doing ring around the rosie.  At the end, they would yank each other down to the floor and yell, "DOWN!!" at which point one would yell at the other for hurting him.  Then my little Drew (18 months) decided to join the fun.  I saw him toddle over there and started watching the interaction just in case I needed to intervene.  Sure enough, when they said, "Down," they both yanked him on the floor and my oldest body slammed his brother.
"Do. Not. Jump. On. The Baby...Ever," I said firmly as I pulled my toddler out of the pile up.  "He's smaller than you.  I don't ever want to see that again."

"Well Mommy," my oldest said without missing a beat, "It's just that we don't always realize that you are watching what we are doing."

I did my best to stifle my giggles because, after all, I was supposed to be chastising him.  But the honesty of his statement was so pure.  How many things do we, as adults do because we don't think anyone is watching?  We have to have strong core values that discern right from wrong.  We are faced with decisions constantly that test our true belief in those values.  My son knew he was wrong to do that to his brother but he wanted to try it anyway.  He wanted to see if he could get away with it.  But we never really can, can we?  Someone is always watching, even if that someone is God.

How do you help your children to make good decisions when "no one is watching"?

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