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a day (or two) or relative calm

Saturday, July 10, 2010

To say we've had a challenging summer would be a bit of an understatement. 
All four kids have been pushing boundaries the last few months, and quite frankly, we just about need a dry erase board to keep up with all of the groundings, punishments and extra chores.
There's not one child who is standing out in the defiance. Each one of them have pushed equally as hard...and in fact, probably feed off of each other to a certain extent. 
But Maddie has been especially concerning. She's back to hoarding food...she stole all of Nick's candy from the July 4th parade - eating every last piece (I'm surprised she didn't get sick). She's taking juice packets up to her room and hiding the evidence in places that we don't find for weeks...and she's crawling up on the countertops to reach the top shelf of the cabinets to look for cookies...sometimes successfully.
That is most definitely not all of her behaviors. She has become  defiant with the sitter and her father...not with me yet, but I tend to be the 'heavy' in the house. She is back to using her 'fake smile' to try to charm people into getting what she wants...and the other day the kids said she walked up to some strangers in the alley (all four were out of the yard - without permission from the sitter)...and started talking to them. The other three kids kept telling her to stop, but she just ignored them.
I can't say its all the babysitter's fault. She has actually probably been the best one we've had in quite awhile. She lays down the law...but all four kids keep trying to find a way around it. I'm sure all four of them provide quite a challenge for a teenager...and while there are some things I would like to her to do differently, I know she really is trying to do her best. Its just when she turns her back for a second, the kids take full advantage.
Last Wednesday was the last straw. When I walked in the door the sitter informed me of a whole host of infractions...from every. last. one. of them.
The kids have been experiencing 'solitary confinement' the last couple of days.
They get up in the morning...eat breakfast, get dressed, clean their rooms, then grab a book and sit on their bed...all. day. long. No entertainment of any sort - except that book. No talking. No radio. No phone. Nothing. From the time I left at 8 a.m. until I came home at 6 p.m....their life was their room. We figure, if we can't trust them to obey the babysitter while we're gone, then they most certainly can't be allowed to get up off their bed, now can they? 
Bathroom breaks and lunch times were their only reprieve.
It was a good old-fashioned grounding.
The first day the kids weren't too upset about it...well, all except for Alek who had been through this type of thing before. Poor little things...they had no clue what was coming. The sitter said shortly after noon, they tried started getting up and running around upstairs thinking they were being quiet enough that she couldn't hear them.
Thank goodness for 150 year old houses and their creaky floors! :)
They did better on day two. 
And I think the babysitter really enjoyed the break. And why wouldn't she? She got paid the same amount just to sit and read a book while the kids laid on their beds. I wish I had it that easy.
This is just one of the plethora of reasons I am coming home.
All of the kids behaviors need improvement, but Maddie's is especially concerned. We are seeing a huge amount of regression. Orphanage behaviors we thought were behind us...and legitimately were while we were in Grab-Your-Lasso, are rearing their ugly heads again. 
I know its a process...that there are steps forward and steps back in her attachment. Right now we're heading backwards. I'm just thrilled that in three weeks, I'll be able to be here to stand behind her as she takes those steps back...and help propel her forward again.

5 salty messages:

Diana July 11, 2010 at 12:48 PM  

Summer is tough! I hate it. I can't wait for school to start again. My kids so do not do well with lack of structure and predictable routine. They do feed off each other, too.

Hang in there and keep working at it. Hopefully things will start to improve once you are home full time.

Kevin and Pam July 12, 2010 at 8:06 PM  

Enjoyed your honesty! I feel your pain. We seem to have similar behaviors with my misfits along with their misfit parents! LOL! We don't have any excuses b/c I am home with them. Sometimes that is a good thing and other days maybe not. I wish I had Tuesdays off too!

Bethany July 12, 2010 at 11:41 PM  

We've had our share of issues this summer, too. And our summer only started a couple of weeks ago. So, to nip one of them in the bud, our Family Home Evening topic was "Wants v. Needs." Physical needs and spiritual needs. AND, how even our needs don't usually need to be met RIGHT THIS SECOND. :) We'll see how well it sticks.

Good luck with your four. I bet that grounding will at least give them pause the next time they try something. :) I like it. I might just have to steal it.

Anonymous,  July 13, 2010 at 5:49 AM  

My first thought when reading about Maddie's behaviors is that it could have something to do with the transition from school/structure to summer vacay/not so much structure. Heck, I know at the end of the home school year it usually takes me a few weeks to adjust and figure out what my life is all about with that lack of schedule. A little solitary in the bedroom with a book (or without -- depends on which child I'm dealing with)tends to be rather effective around here, so hopefully it will do the trick for your kiddos!

SG July 14, 2010 at 12:23 AM  

Funny how a kids punishment would be a parents joy...I know kids hate. really hate it. But...can you imagine being allowed to get up, do a few chores, and then lay in bed and read all day just, taking lunch and potty breaks? HEAVEN!!! For a day or two anyway!

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