Oh, these girls. They make us laugh, endlessly. Brittany put it perfectly the other day: Having a toddler is like having your own personal comedian. We are fortunate enough to have two and a half. It’s not all fun and games, but I thought I’d take a minute to give you a glimpse into our romantic comedy of life.
We’ve had a bit of trouble at daycare the past month or two. The twins have asserted themselves and decided to take a stand against naptime. These girls do not like to sleep. We strategized with the teacher and administrator… nothing was working. Pep talks and prayer on the way to school every morning… reminding them that even if you don’t go to sleep you need to stay on your cot quietly so all your friends can sleep. “Yes Ma’am”. Great, we’re in agreement.
Their teacher sends a note home every day letting me know if we succeeded or failed. Try again tomorrow. But one day… the teacher told me that Little Miss Prissy said
“My mom didn’t pray for me to take a nap, so I don’t have to.” – fail
And another day, after I had highlighted the importance of staying on the cot – you don’t have to sleep but you have to stay quiet, and you’ll get a treat. So, how did that translate?
“My mom said I don’t have to sleep and I still get candy!” – fail again
After about 3 weeks we knew we weren’t getting anywhere. Our strategy had to change. We met again and discussed the possibility of splitting them up. Yep, I said it. We will not be overcome by a pair of 3 year olds. Divide and conquer. We’re seeing small victories.
We are really trying to help the girls learn to regulate their emotions, make good choices, listen and obey, etc. These can be very challenging for kids coming from hard places, so there’s a whole training on how to manage some of this. But something we do is reward positive behavior and good choices and at all costs seek to avoid shaming bad choices or behavior. Honey, this can be hard. Our culture shames. So part of our strategy is that when we pick the girls up, we assess how they did that day, and on good days we go do something fun – like the park, playground, icecream, etc.
One particular day, things did not go so well. When we walked in to daycare it looked as though the teachers had been in a battle. I recognize that look… I look that way every Sunday night. We get the girls loaded in the mom-tank and start heading home.
“Are we going to the park?” – twin
“No ma’am” – dad
“Girls, when you listen and obey, we get to do fun things.” – dad
“And when we don’t obey, we have to eat at home!” – twin
Ha! Yes, that is how they see life. If they obey, we get to have fun. If they don’t obey, punishment looks like eating whatever mom was able to cook today. We are all punished!
And that little baby girl… she’s not too far behind the twins. Every morning when we have successfully gotten dressed, teeth brushed and hair fixed, we reward with a jelly bean or marshmallow. “who wants a treat?!” Screams of “ME!” come running through the house. It didn’t take baby girl long to figure this out. Now, as soon as her teeth are brushed she steps down from the stool and starts running through the house screaming “ME!” – even when we aren’t ready. She thinks “ME!” means treats and she throws it out there all the time. Sweet girl. This morning, she saw the marshmallow that Sissy had placed on the table, reached just far enough to sneak it off and ate it… then said ME! Yes child, you stole your sister’s treat but are cute enough to get away with it. Well played.
And of course, later this morning the twins’ teacher pulled me aside to tell me that yesterday when Prissy got really mad at her she said “My mom will cut you!”
I was stunned in a moment of shock, funniness, embarrassment and laughter not knowing exactly what the appropriate reaction should be but realizing that laughing probably was not it. I am not a violent person, maybe a little sarcastic, but not really violent. I apologized to the teacher and asked her to tell Prissy that is not how we handle things if she says it again. Dear Lord. What are we doing?!?
On one hand I’m glad she has the confidence that mom is going to get the job done. On the other hand, I’m a little concerned with how she thinks I’ll take care of things. At the same time I can’t let her know that it was really funny. And I can’t help but question if I have ever said that in front of her. I’m just gonna believe it came from Dora. I’m pretty sure I heard Dora the Explorer say that one time.
“Mom! Sissy hit me!”- Prissy (Sissy is crying loudly in the other room)
“She did? Then why is she the one crying?” – Me
“Well, I punched her in the face.” – Prissy
I guess that makes sense. Everybody goes into safety break so mommy can take a moment to laugh, again.
Life is exhausting. Some days I can’t even see straight. But we laugh, a lot. If you’re ever interested in participating in some of our madness, just stop by, we’re happy to share. Although, you can’t get the full experience unless you have them for about 2-3 hours and we aren’t around. Let me know when you’re ready 😉