Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Family Meeting: And why I am not sure it worked.

As much as I think I am completely different from all these crazy boys I share a life and home with, there is one quality that all four of us have in common, we all have big fat mouths.    

 The answer to the age old question about what happens when an attorney and a radio DJ fall in love and make babies is that two people who both talk and argue for a living make two other people who are mouth monsters.  I do not mean literally, I mean that the stuff that they say and argue about is unreal.   It is horrifying, sometimes mean, and often impressive. 

     My boys are nine and four.  They are good, smart, hilarious, imaginative, talented, and have a ton of other amazing qualities, so please do not get me wrong, I am not raising monsters, well some days that is debatable, but that is a whole other blog post.    In fact, most of the time that they get in trouble it is for their sass mouths.    My oldest has turned into a little attorney and pretty much just argues or negotiates his way through my patience.  He also thinks he is our co-parent for the youngest so that is fun.

The four year old has issues with just plain saying mean words.  His go-to bad words are, "stupid" and variations of "poop" and "butt".   If you are really lucky you may even get a "stupid poopy butt."  I have heard a smattering of the really bad words but his old standbys, his signature words, are the ones listed above.

Here are some of the tactics we have taken to try to get the verbal assignations in line.

1. Time outs---- Ummmm that is a joke.  The oldest will accept punishment with drama and negotiation.  The youngest will wage an all-out war on the room, house, and your soul.

2. Washing the mouth out with soap-- The oldest told me to shut up a total of one time.   We were at my Mom's house and I calmly (huge victory for me) walked over to the sink, poured the soap in my hand.  

 I said you have two choices:

 1. Lick this soap off my hand or

2. Lose your XBOX for a month. 

 I had no idea what was going to happen, I was busy concealing my rage and quietly being proud of myself for not losing my mind on him.    He ate the soap and then proceeded to lose his mind.    The youngest pretty much hates it, and cries and runs away but it has not been enough to make him stop calling people poop head.

3.  Hot Sauce. -- The same effectiveness as the soap, plus I just think they kind of like it because Dad does.

4.  Taking away stuff-- this tactic is usually the most effective.  The problem is that the oldest is not allowed to play with electronics during the week already so that leaves little that he actually cares about to take away during the week.    The youngest…. It just makes him go into a spiral of four year old obscenities and hysterics that rage on until he is decides he is nice again.

5. The Spank—my hubby and I are not huge fans of corporal punishment.  We have had discussions, I read books, and before we became parents we decided  it was just not our way of dealing with discipline.  We never spanked our oldest, I even crafted a super cute time out chair.   

 Then we had our youngest.   He was a good baby. A beautiful perfect boy.  A sweet guy. My snuggler and lover.  Once he turned into a toddler, he changed.  We secretly call him Sybil.  He will go bat shit crazy and then flip the switch and give you sweaty tear soaked kisses, telling you he is sorry and "woves" you. I am not proud to say that both my hubby and I have spanked him.    I am also not proud to say that I cried in my pillow after and pretty sure he was more pissed than hurt, thus it did not work.

A couple of weeks ago the boys were just out of control.  Every conversation was either was an argument or a negotiation.  These boys were mouth terrorists.   I was already at my wits end when my oldest, who is usually more the negotiator/arguer was just straight rude and disrespectful in front of my sister in law and best friend after his football game.  Also keep in mind, at this point I had given up my entire Sunday and had to run the stupid clock at his game, which I had no idea how to do because I only fake liking sports for him, also it was hot out and I had on jeans.   At any rate, I was super embarrassed and hurt.  

The hubby and I had a conversation and we had the family meeting.     The TV was off.  Two kitchen chairs were pulled out and put in the middle of the room.   We sat the boys down and I started.  I was fabulous.   I gave the best closing argument of my life.   They were attentive and respectful.  The youngest even raised his hand several times to make various points of his own.  Hubby talked and made his points.

The short version is that we are done.  Things will change or life will be harder.  If we take away a train it is forever.  An IPad is not gone for a week it is forever!!!  FOREVER!!!!    It was going great.  I was feeling heard and vindicated and maybe even a little bit respected.  In my head I was secretly applauding us for being great parents.   I was thinking that our kids are going to be awesome, no more verbal assignations, bath time is going to happen without a meltdown, and homework will be done without many lengthy discussions.  We were all calmly discussing the situation and having a real family meeting.   I mean we were really making some progress here, everyone was on board.  

AND THEN….. Just as the hubby was making another clearly amazing well thought out point, the youngest screams…..

“ALL RIGHT, WE GET IT, THIS IS DONE NOW” with his little sticky four year old paws punctuating each point like an old Italian mobster.   The oldest eyes looked like saucers, I was stunned, he totally snippered our family meeting. It came out of nowhere.

 Let’s just say, the calm discussion was over and I once again said to myself for the 15 millionth time.       Good thing these two freaks are cute.  

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