1. The What to Drink Battle
Flora wants to drink pop — what she calls soda, so I’ve done a bad job being a yinzer parent. And I have let her drink pop and iced tea; nothing is really taboo in our house. But now I need to set limits with it. (Thanks, Soda Stream!)
I am starting to notice that pop is the only thing she wants to drink. So, now I need to fight that battle. I recently told her she was limited to one serving of pop or iced tea in a day, and no caffeine after school. She needs to drink water or milk with meals and night-time treat. I am concerned about calcium intake — no one in my house drinks enough milk. But we all do yogurt, leafy greens, cheese, and broccoli, plus calcium-fortified orange juice. I just bought the children calcium chewy vitamins to try to make up some of the deficit.
2. The Proper Phone Etiquette Battle
Kate asks to call one of her friends at least once an evening. I limit her time (10 to 15 minutes), and ask her to stay in earshot. I am slowly teaching her how to use the phone. It’s surprising to me… that they don’t know how? I mean, can that be a thing? Some phone etiquette rules I have had to explicitly lay out:
- Say hello, then either ask, “Who is this?” or identify yourself.
- Ask for whom you are calling. “Can I please speak to Julie?” Or, ask who is calling and for whom.
- Don’t yell into the phone.
- Don’t eat while on the phone. (A lot of adults don’t know this one, so.)
- Don’t say, “BRB,” put the phone down, and walk away. I can’t believe I had to explain this. You don’t go pee in the middle of the phone call.
- At the end of the call, say, “Goodbye” and end the call.
The phone, I am trying to explain to her, is a tool to communicate plans (“Let’s go ride bikes.”) or have a conversation — a short conversation.
I, personally, hate talking on the phone. I would much rather text or email, or interact on social media than have an actual phone conversation. But I guess I need to brace myself that talking on the phone is something my girls may want to do.
I’m not happy with this development, furthermore, because one of the little girls she talks with on the phone… *sigh* probably needs some of these lessons as well. I don’t know if she’s hard of hearing, or talking in a room full of loud noise, but I hear Kate repeating herself over and over again. Plus sometimes the little girl’s little sister will call, and believe me, nothing is more frustrating than finding yourself on the phone with a tongue-tied 6-year-old.
3. The Sit Down and Eat Battle
Eating as a family is important, and I try to sit down with the children every dinner time, and at least once on the weekends, we eat as a family of five. Some nights, though, I am ready to throw in the towel on this. They jump up to show me stuff; Flora wants to read a book at the table (hello, mini-me); they sing, they goof around. They eat two bites and declare they are full.
I’m just waiting this one out. I try to direct conversation and keep things below a dull roar. Kate and Michael especially treat the kitchen table like a stage. Maybe they need a bit more one-on-one time BEFORE dinner.
4. The Screen Battle
This is of course related to the Homework Battle, which is incrementally improving. Limiting screen time is hard, y’all. Especially when computer time is part of their homework, as it is for Flora. Again, I persevere, but man. Some days, I want to throw up my hands and say, “Sure, watch all the YouTube you want. I give up.”
They say, “Pick your battles” and I sure have. How about you?