Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What ever it takes

Our family suffers from all or nothing disease. Feast or famine. Yes or no. Good or bad. Best friend or enemy. It is a little to polarizing and quite frankly it gives me whip lash and makes me dizzy because of how quickly the pendulum swings from side to side.

I'll give you an example. Yesterday we are on a lovely family walk. Max is scooting on his scooter and Ben is burning the pavement on his "motorcycle" big wheel. Mike and I are holding hands while our newest addition, Woody, trots along in between us. The all American family portrait walking along the golf course before dinner. The boys know the rules. They can go 2 houses ahead, but then they have to stop. They can wait or they can turn around and come back, but NO MORE THAN 2 HOUSES AHEAD. We are at the end of our lovely walk, which has gone wonderfully, when an over zealous Benjamin sees our house, loses his mind and hauls a$$ to the "finish" line - which is more than 2 houses ahead. Oh, and by the way - this part of our journey is on the street, because we are no longer on the golf course and our neighborhood has no sidewalks. Daddy hands me the leash and tears off after him because between the street noise and the big wheel and the "roar of the crowd" in Ben's head - he doesn't hear our constant yells to stop. Daddy catches him and takes away his privileges for the night which leads to a complete meltdown. Can you imagine? Going from the elated emotions of winning the Big Wheel 5000 Race to the crushing blow of no dessert or TV after dinner? AWFUL!!!
It was a mess - a complete mess. I could see Daddy's point of view because he was upset and worried and Ben didn't listen. I could see Ben's side - he honestly didn't hear us, he was carried away, and he knew he had done wrong when he turned around and saw how far away we were.

There was no middle ground.

SO I decided to find one. I talked to Mike and offered the "Stop Light" feature to our family. Back at the kids previous day care, they used a green light, yellow light, red light program for discipline that straightened my kids up better than a steel rod. Every night, when I would pick them up, I would go to see where they were on the "light" to see how the rest of the night would go. I knew immediately where they were because they were either pulling me to the room to show me "green" or dragging me out of the center to make sure I DIDN'T see "red".

So we ALL agreed to abide by the new traffic rules in our house. They were so excited. We barely made it into the house and they had their crayons out and were drawing stop lights and coloring in circles. I decided to make it a craft project and I got out the paper plates. Daddy suggested making magnets out of some of their cars to represent both of them and where they were on our stop light.

I am pleased to announce both boys have happily and dutifully remained on green ever since....

... we will see.... what ever it takes!!

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