Yesterday, Santa sent each of my boys an email about their status on his list.
He told both boys that they've been good, but they can improve. He encouraged Cameron to be nice to his brother, and then he encouraged Jake to listen to his parents.
Santa is such a great guy (and motivator for positive behavior)....but I think some boys in my house have forgotten their message from Santa. Maybe I should email him and let him know what's going on.
Mornings are just hard on us. No one really WANTS to wake up (except, maybe Jacob...but only if it's on HIS terms) and then the grumpies come out.
This morning, for example, Jake woke up happily and took a bath. Baths are his FAVORITE thing in the world. Usually he flops onto his belly and says, "Mom, I fwimming! I FWIMMING!" I've yet to convince him that you can't really swim in a bathtub. Anyway, after Jake's bath, it's Cameron's turn. I called to Cameron, nicely (I promise) and told him that it was his turn. He called back, "I don't WANNA wake up, I don't WANNA go to school!"
I told him that wasn't an option, unless he was sick.
Then he stomped into the bathroom....completely grumpy and upset. He took his bath, forgetting to wash certain areas, but that's nothing new. Then once I was convinced he was done, I found him some clothes in my laundry-pile of a bedroom, and he got out of the tub.
He did not like the pants I found for him.
He did not like the shirt.
He didn't want to get dressed. He had melted down. He was done.
I was done as well. Time to truly implement the Total Transformation program. First step: (for me) calm down. Don't take his tantrum personally...treat this like it's business, because it is.
Second step: (for me.....again) what can I take from his menu, that he really LOVES to do, that I can take away from him, to get him to behave better? How long will his punishment last? What does he have to do to get it back?
"Cameron, you cannot watch TV for 10 minutes until you can talk nicely." (Yeah, that will work, VERY nicely!)
Cameron, screaming at me from his bedroom, tells me that he doesn't like that. That ten minutes is too hard, and too long.
Third step: (yet again, for me) don't take it personally....don't take it personally.....don't take it personally......
Step 3.5: make him WANT to behave well. Maybe 10 minutes is too long? No, not really, and I REALLY need him to be nice to me and Jake. We need to make him REALLY want to be good. Push up the time limit to 30 minutes.
"Cameron, since you don't like 10 minutes, now you owe me 30 minutes. Once you've been nice and kind for 30 minutes, you can watch tv. But now that you have 30 minutes, you will completely miss your favorite morning show."
More wailing comes from the bedroom.
Step four: State the consequences, the required behavior and walk away.
"Cameron, you know that you need to behave for 30 minutes. Once you do that, you can watch tv." Grab the laundry that needs washed, and go downstairs.
You know, it worked!! One peaceful half-hour later, the tv is on, the boys are happily coloring and getting along.
I am beginning to wonder if I have more pull than Santa Claus.....