Thursday, September 6, 2007

Musings on Parenting

As today is the first day of school:

( I realize we are probably the last school district in the country to start school), I thought I'd celebrate with some wise offerings on parenting. These are random thoughts that I thought I could blog about, but they aren't important enough to have their own post. So sit back and prepare to be enlightened.
1. The 90% rule.

This a reaction to some of Paige's posts in the last week, in which kids were double-buckled and, hypothetically, left napping momentarily while picking up kids from school. She and I had an email exchange, where I shared this rule (orginally The 80% Rule, but later ammended as I thought it out). Want to hear?
I think that if 90 % of the time, you are safety-conscious (kids properly buckled, properly kept in the house screaming while his older siblings play on the safest cul-de-sac in the world, properly watched while bathing), germ-aware (emphasizing hand-washing often, not allowing them to stick heads in the toilet, making them spit gum out that they found on the concrete in front of Target), appropriately parenting (not yelling at them on their first day of school even though you told them last night to find their footwear, reading scriptures most nights even when your 4-year-old reacts to the Nephites' lack of contention following the visit of the Savior with the phrase "that's scawy", not allowing more than an hour of media time a day), and focused on healthy eating, (having a fruit or vegetable available at every meal, limiting juice to once a day, making them eat what you fix so they learn to like what's in front of them

then ...

the other 10% of the time, it's called Real Life. I think it's hard to have a full life if you can't ever go to McDonald's because it's teeming with germs, if you can't ever have a 3 year old without a booster to make the pre-school carpool easier, if you never allow 2 hours of videos so everyone (including Mom) can have a quiet nap, if you never allow them to eat 15 marshmallows in 10 minutes at the neighborhood campout because you don't want to deal with his screaming ...Life gets too hard. I realize that we all have our "things" and that's fine, and some of you would never do the above things...but that's why I made up my 90% Rule. I allow imperfection and safety lapses, because I want to be free to experience family life as I feel it should be lived...double-buckling and all.

2) Discipline when it punishes you.

I could probably end right there and you would all know exactly what I'm talking about. Emma and Gabe broke a rule about coming in when I call (consequence: no playing outside the rest of the day) at the end of the day and then LIED about it (and got caught). The punishment, I not-so-calmly pronounced: 2 full days inside. As the words left my mouth, I realized what I had done. I was punishing me. I felt like it was an natural consequence (if you can't be trusted to come in when I call, then you can't go out at all and if you lie about something, it's WORSE than the original crime) but I WAS GOING TO DIE with kids in my face for two entire days. I started calling around, asking friends if they were sick or getting their hair done, so I could "watch the kids for them" --translation: ease the misery in our house, through pretending a service project. I began making up outings (library, Seth needed to go to the park) so we could get out. All in all, I think it was effective. But how bad does it suck when being a good parent disciplines you?!

3) The Not Listening Chair

Also known as the toilet. I got this from my mom. She claims she changed it to "The Thinking Chair" to be more positive, but that was after my time. We call it the Not Listening Chair around here. It's where they go when they do bad stuff. 1 minute per year, of course...and I never forget to set the timer and they never yell "Can I get off?" 25 times and I'm always really calm when I send them there. I love it because it's everywhere, in every home, it's really boring, and uncomfortable and the only trouble they can get into is un-rolling the toilet paper roll. Downside: It's really echo-y when they're screaming bloody murder. Seth sends himself there:

I'll hear yelling and then I'll locate the source. It's Seth, following the example set for him by older siblings, "I ge off?!" Even though I've never actually sent him there. I tell him he can get off, but he won't until I have him apologize (like I do with older kids, thank you, Super Nanny) so I have to make something up: "Tell Mom sorry for being really cute." "Sah-we, mom." "Okay, you can get off." I'm worried it's losing it's effectiveness for him.

So there you go...being the wordy woman that I am, those turned out to all be long enough for their own posts. Sorry. I'd love to hear your feedback about how you'd never adopt a 90% rule, wimp out of a punishment by making up service projects or force your baby to say sorry for nothing. Maybe you can teach ME a thing or two!


Anne Lee said...

Sounds like you're a good mom to me! In answer to your question on Heather's blog: No, grandma doesn't post funny comments. In fact, she's not funny at all. I'd dare say she's scary! (This is my Grandma I'm talking about, not my mom, btw!)

Me & My BOYS said...

I'm voting your blog the #1 best blog. I have many reasons.
1. You post often... keeps me on my toes.
2. It's both you and Ryan... gives variety.
3. You get lots of comments
4. You really, really enjoy blogging.
5. You are honest about the joys of parenting.
6. You give me great ideas of books I should read.
7. You and Ryan and your kids are sooo funny.
8. I miss you in our neighborhood.
9. You make me feel like our family is just another normal family.
10. You are just plain awesome.

..... some comments for Ryan. There are worse things Jessica could be doing than blogging.
I try to keep up on my blog, but it will never replace my love for scrapbooking. Blogging is much cheaper than scrapbooking, so you can thank Jessica for that. And what makes you think you can do any projects around the house WITH the kids help. That's the hard thing about projects. They all require the dad. But that means that the mom has to be with the kids more (and we already get enough time with the kids). Okay, I'll shut up now!!!

zeeny said...

I love the idea of the "thinking chair" I just put my two year old in the corner and then have to stand there and re-put her there when she gets up every five seconds! Do you shut the door on them? I might have to!

rubberbandgirl said...

Thanks for the good dose of honesty and for giving us all a smile.

Paige said...

If I could be as good a mom as you 90% of the time I'd be translated. Perhaps you could take a bike away and STILL send them outside? that's kinda natural consequences. Or tell them they can't climb their favorite tree outside, but still have to go out there? Locking my children outside on our safe cul-de-sac gives me true joy. And Seth might be the cutest thing ever.

Off topic, and I know you are the #1 blog, but has me & my boys read my blog? Just wondering. I'd like to perhaps win something in the top ten because I'm obsessed. Don't you hate it when you have nothing to write about that day and then you sit at the computer and type hilarious vomit on the page? I'm wondering when I'm going to run out of stuff to blog about. Like I'll run out of stuff to talk about. Ha!

Ryan said...

I have to concede the scrapbooking point. As Carrie knows all too well, I will stop at nothing to keep my wife hobbyless.

Ilene said...

Hilarious. Now if I can only get up to that 90-10 ratio.

Forrest and Abbie said...

Does the "not listening chair" hurt potty training efforts?

Thanks for the post. I've been thinking about this a lot. Consistency is key. I love Super Nanny.


You know I love both of you...but now I love you even more since I can see how so similar we are in our parenting!

Ryan-this is why blogging brings families together! (OK, extended families, but that's still good!)

Here are my musings...although I am trying not to ramble on comments, I am so breaking Abbie's rule #5:

1. I allow giggling during scriptures and family prayer 10% of the time. Here's my thinking: will they remember how spiritual our family scripture study and family prayer were? NO! They will remember the times they sat next to each other and giggled through the whole thing. If I were on them 100% of the time, they would remember what a mean ogre of a Mom they had. So, I am just creating happy memories as I see it!

2. I believe I am well-versed on this subject. I have put my foot in my mouth often times. However, (and I don’t know how long this will last) my kids are really good about sticking to their punishments without reminders. Drew will even give me a countdown to un-punishment whenever I ask. I’m trying to think more before I speak…hard for me though. I mean, why take away swimming when it is the only time you can keep the kids from messing up the house you spent all day cleaning?

3. Our laundry room used to be our time-out room. You know, the dark, moist air…a constant rumbling from the dryer…and the occasional deafening buzz from said dryer that we wish had a “buzz volume” on it. However, our children started to say things like, “I can’t be in time-out, I have to go potty.” I had visions of urine streaming all over the floor of my laundry room flooding all it came in contact with. So, what’s a smart and terrified Mom like myself to do…change the time-out room to the ½ bathroom. That way, if they have to go potty, they can just lift up the toilet seat (not listening chair) and do their business for the minutes (by years like you) that they are in there.

That was quite wordy...but what's new. I will try tomorrow to live Rule #5!

Forrest and Abbie said...

Wow! I didn't realize people would take me seriously about the blog rules. I was being facetious. I love the many posts, the many comments, and the checking multiple times a day. I just try not to spend all my free time (Eli's nap time) reading blogs of people I've never met that live in Indian. Please forgive me. And keep the blogging up. I love it.

And I really want to know if the "not listening chair" hinders potty-training. Please give more parenting advice. I love it!

Erika said...

your blog is award wining - i love reading all your many thoughts. you haven't changed one bit

Mario, Adrianne & Gabe Resek said...

Everything has already been said, so I will just comment that Seth is adorable (also previously mentioned, but worth repeating).

Tiffany said...

I love the 'Not listening chair' -- I think I'll adopt that.
And I hate it too when good parenting punishes you too! It really stinks!

Kara said...

Your blog is just what a blog should be....honest, funny, sincere!