Monday, January 4, 2016

A Little Firm

Have you ever read the Olivia books? The main character is a piglet who loves to dress up and has dreams of being a ballerina. She's also rotten and relatable and one of my daughter's favorites. As we read the original Olivia at bedtime, I listened to my boys screaming in the next room.

I yelled over the ruckus. "Guys, if you want to play rough, please close the door. Rosie is getting ready for bed."
"OKAY!" they yelled as they slammed it shut.
"After she brushes her teeth and moves the cat, Olivia gets dressed," I continued. Their door reopened. I looked up to see the my six year old holding my smiling four year old in a choke hold. 
"Stop! Lukie STOP!" he screamed through giggles.
"Guys, I asked you to stay in your room. Please go sit in time out until I'm done with Rosie."
They ran toward time out while my four year old pelted his brother with a paper towel roll. The giggles continued. They were obviously not in time out. "Sorry, Ro. We have to go get them," I said as I hiked her up onto my hip.

"You just added 2 minutes to your time out. Luke, you stay there. Drew, you sit in the living room." They didn't move. They stared at me as if I hadn't even said anything. I tried being more succinct. "Now." Drew scrambled to his feet and ran into the living room.
"Okay, little girl, let's finish Olivia. We settled back into her rocking chair and began reading, "Olivia has to try on everything..."
"No...Mama," She grabbed the book from me and turned the pages back to the one that read, "Sometimes Olivia has to firm.
She pointed over and over again as she said, "Mama...Firm. Mmm hmmm!"
"Sometimes Mama has to be firm?
"Mmm hmm!"
"That's true, baby. That's very true." Relaxed now that she knew I understood, she flipped back to where we left off and listened to the rest of story quietly.

Sometimes we do have to be firm, don't we? I wish I didn't. I wish that they would just do what they are told the first time without questioning me, don't you? Much less frustration. But this interaction showed me that they are watching how I handle my own frustration. My little girl sure reminded me of that.

Are you proud of how you handle the moments when you have to be "firm"? How can you ensure obediance without resorting to anger?

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