Last night was a tough night for my girls. It’s actually been a bit of A Week so far this week. I think we’re suffering re-entry pains from a Very Fun Weekend of running around in the great outdoors paired with a lot of junk food and little sleep.
I had been asking the girls to settle down (or “dettle sown” as Flora said; she’s been reading Shel Silverstein’s Runny Babbit) all.evening.long. I asked if they couldn’t settle down in the house, to go outside, run around. I asked that they keep their hands off each other, stop climbing the furniture — you know the drill.
It culminated when Kate climbed on the kitchen table and knocked over Dan’s hurricane lamp, spilling red lamp oil every where. I’m just glad she didn’t break the lamp. I sent her to her room, threw out a bunch of papers (which did need to be thrown out, so she did me a favor there), and cleaned things up.
I may have yelled, and cried a little as well.
Then I called Kate downstairs. Flora was up there with her for some reason (solidarity?), and I sent her to the kitchen, where M was strapped in his high chair, allegedly eating his dinner.
Kate and I sat down on the stairs.
“Do you know why I got upset, Kate?” I asked.
“Because I knocked over the lamp,” she answered after a moment’s thought.
“And why did you knock over the lamp?”
“I was on the kitchen table.”
“And why were you on the kitchen table?”
She couldn’t answer that one.
I tapped her forehead. “Kate, sometimes you have a little voice up here that tells you to do stuff. I need you to start using your head to *think* instead of just listening to that little voice.”
She looked intrigued by this notion.
“So when that little voice tells you to climb on the kitchen table, I need you to be able to think, ‘No.’ And if that little voice is telling you to jump around, you can just go outside and jump. And if you can’t go outside because it’s raining or something, you sit down, take some deep breaths, and read a book or something.”
I have had a similar conversations with Flora, especially the part about using her head to think.
I don’t mean to imply AT ALL that my children are stupid. Because they aren’t; they are incredibly bright and creative.
But like all children, they are impulsive as all get out. I truly believe that at 7 and 5 years old, my girls are old enough to THINK instead of just ACT. I know that it’s not going to be an overnight change, and I don’t expect instant and consistent compliance. But I really think it’s time for them to start, and time for me and Dan to help them.
What do you think? Am I setting expectations too high, or is it time for my older children to start thinking with their noggins instead of doing everything the “little voices” up there tell them?
What do you do when the voices in your kids’ heads make you crazy?