Monday, June 11, 2012

House Rules: Part 1 - Them

This weekend I finally created and posted the House Rules.  The kids teacher suggested at the end of year meeting that we create simple house rules for the kids to follow over the summer to keep them in the mindset of following instructions.  I thought it was a great idea, but implementation took a bit of time.

Since summer afternoons in Houston are brutally hot, I took the kids to Target on Saturday to buy a bunch of craft supplies to keep them occupied when they can't go outside.  We got play-doh, watercolor paints, stickers, colors, glue sticks, you name it.  Our house went from a daycare to a pre-school in the matter of one hour and $200.  I also bought the poster supplies for our house rules.  Originally I tried to have the kids help me create the poster, but as that quickly became disastrous, I finished it on my own and introduced the rules Sunday morning.  Here they are: 
I promised end-of-day rewards for the child that followed the rules.  Each child went through counting and repeating the rules in order for them to sink in (we did it again this morning and I plan to make it a morning ritual).  The rules are prominently positioned in the play room along the back window where they frequently play.  

No one followed the rules.  Not only did they not follow the rules, they actively disobeyed them.  I almost lost my mind this weekend.  I have a friend who has all boy triplets the same age as the kids, and she stays at home with them during the week.  I'm nominating her for sainthood.  Seriously, I have no idea how she is surviving.  I tweet-ed on Saturday a question: Kids kicked my butt today. Is it bad I'm glad I go to work during the week????

How do you live with three two year olds?  I love them.  I am incredibly grateful that we have them.  I feel blessed that they are interesting and funny and healthy.  But two is tough.  Potty training is killing us.  The little lady finally has it down and is in full time underwear; the eldest is getting close; the baby has no interest.  We're up and down the hallways running to the bathroom and making a mess.  I can't cook in the kitchen because they can open the baby gate now and they are constantly underfoot.  With the heat of the stove and the breakable bowls and the food within arm's reach on the counter, meal prep time is a nightmare.  (Not to mention how messy actual meal time is with real utensils being mastered.) We do lots of arts and crafts in the afternoon, they love play-doh and painting, but unless there is an engaging activity occurring every second of every day we have a meltdown.  Mornings are manageable because we swim for over an hour and then play outside.  Between naptime and dinnertime though, hang on to your hat.  Toys get thrown, injuries occur, no one shares OR listens, the house looks like a tornado hit it, and mommy gets banged up too.  I even spanked the eldest once because he wouldn't stop coloring on the floor (I use time out, consistently, not spanking when there is behavior problems).  

So how do you get two year olds to fairly consistently follow the House Rules?  Can two year olds even follow rules?   When can I expect there to be an understanding of rules and consequences?  These are all the questions I'm pondering as I try to hang on to my sanity.  They are wonderfully sweet too.  They kiss and hug and pat and dance and give you pretend meals from the play kitchen and laugh hysterically and soak up everything.  I thoroughly enjoy those sweet times.  Just yesterday, little lady asked me, as I was telling her about when she was a baby and how she came home, "did I say words then?"  Isn't that funny?  She was curious if she came home talking.  The baby wanted us all to jump in the pool at the same time, but then at the end he chickened out and the other three of us went in without him and he got his feelings hurt.  The eldest was busy learning the days of the week and seasons on our kid's calendar and when I couldn't find the summer velcro sticker for the season, he replied, "I lost it.  It's under that table."  (It was, and we'll work on the concept of "lost.")  I love them with ever fiber of my being, but I think I was a better mom before they turned two.  I'm hoping I turn back into Super Mom when they turn three.  Because during year two, well, I think we're all a little off our game.  

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