Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bringin Back the Fun!

Can I just say I love Kevin Leman? I do. Love him. He has brought humor into disciplining my children, and for that I love the man. So, here is an update on the reality discipline at my house. The second morning, I go in to wake up the boys (which Dr. Leman would say they should just use an alarm clock, but I figure we've only got 4 days of school left, so we'll start that next year!) and when I wake them up, Levi gets right up, as usual, and Sam moves his arm. I see this as a promising sign.

I go back to finish getting ready since I am trying to get us all out of the house by 7:45 so the little kids and & I can then run to Walmart before I have to go to a meeting at church. By about 7:35, I have gotten the 2 little kids and myself ready, and Lily-Grace & Sam are in the boy's room, and Sam is still in bed, playing happily with his sister. He calls out to me, "Hey, Mom! I'm still in bed!" Like he's saying, "Hello! Shouldn't you be hurrying me up right about now?"
To which I reply, "Bummer, Sam! It looks like you're going to have to walk again!"
At which point he moans, "Nooo! Please don't leave me!" and kicks it into a gear the likes of which I've never seen him move in before.

We ended up leaving later than normal since Steve was at church already, and I was trying to get us all out the door, so he didn't get left. I have to say I was a little disappointed that he didn't hop right out of bed that morning, but I figured he is just a gambler, and was thinking yesterday was a fluke.

I am happy to report that the 3rd day (today) he got up immediately, got dressed and was ready to go by 7:35! And, even more impressive was that Levi wasn't going to school since he had a doctor's appointment that morning and was still in bed! Usually, this would be cause for whining and complaining about why he was going to school when Levi was not. I then said, "It must feel really good to be ready with time to spare and have time to play with Joey this morning!" He agreed and we gave each other knucks, and I silently congratulated myself for my fine use of encouragement vs. praise!

So, through all this, Levi hadn't been the recipient of the reality discipline and was having a darn fine time watching his brother and sister getting all the attention. But his time was coming, and this is where I have thoroughly enjoyed myself! Is that bad? To enjoy disciplining your children? But his reaction is just priceless, and I never have to get mad or raise my voice! It's awesome.
So, I won't go through the whole, long story, but the first time he got the discipline he didn't get a cookie because he was begging for it and bothering me. He didn't get a cookie. A cookie. You would have thought I sentenced him to solitary confinement and bread and water for 6 weeks so great was his reaction. At one point he was sitting at the kitchen table, fists clenched in anger, growling at me till he was red in the face, and I had to laugh. Seriously, though, don't you just love it when you punish your children and they care? When you know you've found something that matters to them? I never dreamed it would be a cookie, though they were darn good cookies.

Tonight, about 30 minutes before bedtime I asked them to please pause Spongebob and straighten up the living room. He immediately began complaining that he hadn't made the mess, and I was pointing out to him that he had made the mess (which I really shouldn't do - it's an act of cooperation to fight! I wasn't actually fighting, but still!) and I don't remember exactly what he had said, but I just didn't like his haughty tone. So I calmly told him that when he finished cleaning the living room that he could go on to bed. He was flabbergasted and in total disbelief. He went and took his shower, and when he came out, I hugged him, and told him I wasn't mad at him, but I didn't like his tone when he talked to me, and he could go to bed now, and I even told him he could read if he would like to. There was no reading. There was more growling and crying and negotiating. Was there anything he could do to get out? A spanking? Clean the whole house? Y'all, this was awesome! Asking for a spanking? Too good to be true! And all this without once raising my voice or becoming overly annoyed. I can't wait to see what they do tomorrow!

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