Thanks to all my mom friends who commented and offered suggestions - and empathy - for the sibling wars being waged at our house. Thanks also to my cousin Kim who works with Head Start kids and offered some suggestions via facebook. I am thankful that so many of us are having the same experience, especially all of you that I admire for your creativity, calm demeanor, and great attitudes. It helps me not feel like the battles are all my lack of parenting skill - because you clearly have skills, and your kids are battling too.
What I mostly get is that there are no quick and easy answers here. After writing yesterday's post, I tried really hard to make things better today, and incorporated some of the suggestions offered. Here are my thoughts:
- I paid attention as much as I could. I am prone to wander away with my thoughts (or just mealtime preparations), and ignored children seem to fight more to get my attention (I feel dumb for mentioning this).
- We moved our bodies in (somewhat) constructive ways. Blue had a rec center class today, and we also spent a good deal of time racing around the house. When I thought we might descend into chaos, we took a walk, even though it was hot, threatening thunderstorms, and I had other things to do.
- I tried to get a few quality minutes in with each kid so that they felt like I was paying attention. For Pink, this was during Blue's class, and for Blue, during Pink's nap. I didn't do any special projects today or any significant meal prep so that freed up some time.
- I tried really hard not to raise my voice. I'm kind of a loud person, so my "inside voice" is already at increased decibels, and I tend to shout up the stairs rather than walk up and talk to whoever's attention I'm looking for.
- I checked out the site from Vanderbilt University recommended by Kim. Certainly a lot of good information there about how to help little ones build pro-social behaviors.
Thanks to everyone for offering support and similar stories. I believe we are all trying our very hardest to raise our kids to be happy, healthy, functioning members of society, and I appreciate all the moms who offer a listening (blogging?) ear when I become the unhappy, unhealthy, totally non-functioning person who can't get her kids to behave.
This, too, shall pass - and one day, they'll have kids of their own, and we can snicker...