Our days have gone a little more smoothly this week, there has been peace in the house for many minutes in a row, and I am finding that Reuben is generally pretty lovely, but we get some seriously difficult moments in between. And I, too, swim regularly in my own issues, grief, and grief-fueled, child-triggered anger. It's quite a mix.
This morning everyone under the age of 5 in my house refused to get dressed and I struggled to know how to manage it. Managing them the evening before was like wading through concrete, and my tank was too empty to start over again this morning. I took a bit of a break in my room and, unusually, was left alone for a few moments. Despite feeling foul, I'm pleased to report that I did have a bit of a creative idea that would hopefully get Reuben ready for the day. I'd love to tell you that I bounced out of my room full of enthusiasm, but you know I really find in these moments half the battle is changing my attitude and digging up the energy from somewhere in the depths. What was it I said to you the other day? I can't describe how hard it is to make something good happen in the midst of bad. It was many minutes before my feet hit the floor and I went to find Reuben. "Reuben" I said, "I need to give you some information." These nifty words were recommended to a friend of mine who passed them on to me - they have a way of catching your child's attention.
Indeed. He raced over. I decided the other day we need to get back to using the clock, as he used to be very interested in it but I've let it fade out. "Come and have a look at the clock. I'm going to draw a picture of it on this paper. I'll draw where the hand is that shows you the time now, and I'll also draw where that hand will be when we have to be ready and waiting by the front door to go out." We blu-tacked my picture to a spot near the real clock.
Oh my goodness! Magic! Hypnotism! Total brilliance. He lapped it up like
There was half an hour between clock drawing and leaving the house, and he did regular checks of the clock in that time. Even halfway through getting dressed in another room. Each time he checked, he chose to draw in where the hand was up to, which was a great idea and kept him even more engaged.
Somewhere in there Esther got dressed, with some clothing chosen by me and some by her, and Reuben ensured they were at the door on time. HOORAH! They hopped in the car and sadly I was the one making us late - they sat happily while I flung the washing on the line, and I came back to the car to discover Reuben had strapped Esther in to her car seat, because she asked ("Meuben, help"). Wow.
I guess writing about this shows what a big deal this is for me. Perhaps it happens in your house all the time. I don't know. I have said to others more than once, the biggest challenge for me is finding the energy to get creative. I know being creative like this is what works for children, and the old me thought I would be good at it, but oh I'm tired and drained and it's so hard to think like that! I tell you about it here in the hope that it may be a useful idea for one or two of you when things are getting too hard to manage. And I would love to hear from you about any techniques you use to help get your small children out of the house on time. I'm not trying to trick you in to making comments. I really could do with your help on this one and hope you will take a moment.
Oh, and if anyone has any clever ideas on how to keep track of where their water bottles are so I don't search every morning, that would be helpful too. Put them in the same place every time we get home, I suppose. Easy. Ha!
I will say one more thing. This was a wonderful spark in the middle of another rough day. This evening was another round of wading through concrete. I know I have to take the good moments and hope they will get me through the tough ones. It's quite a roller coaster. I need to hold on tight and not lose my grip.
|Reuben brought flowers in from the garden for me this afternoon.|
|Esther trying to put Reuben's pyjamas on him last night. It's quite a job honey,I don't mind if you want to just save the energy for your own kids.|