If anyone believes I/we have it all together and go about our days happy as clams all the time, this post will clear that up. Beware this is a very long post. :-)
I mentioned before that I am trying to get onto a strict schedule before school starts to avoid changing too much at once for Miss O. She (like most children her age) believes she should be able to do what she wants, when she wants, how she wants. She also thinks she is the only one that is right, and there are days where she thinks she is in charge (and in fact tells me she believes that I am 3, and she is the far older and wiser 4 year old, so I should 'trust her').
For example, as we were driving to tumbling class this week she asked, "Is Jesus the father?" I began to tell her that there are 3 entities of God and she interrupted me saying, "yes mom I know that but is Jesus the Daddy?" Again, I started to answer her question, and was interrupted with, "mommy, you have your right answer and I have my right answer. I know I am right, so you don't have to answer me." Wow. I was speechless because not so long ago I had been reading about how people believe what they want to believe, and feel like the best solution to differences in theology is to say 'you have your way, and I'l have mine.'
Anyway, back to our schedule....The goal this week is to have O get up by 6:00 am, so she has time to eat, get dressed, and brush her teeth before we start school at 6:45.
Monday--Day 1: Diaster does not begin to describe the day. I started waking her up at 6:30 (I did this for 2 reasons: 1) I wanted to work our way up to 6:00 am wake ups because I was tired from last week, and 2) What 4 year old needs 45 minutes to eat, get dressed, and brush her teeth?)
Well, after I dragged my crying daughter out of her bed and explained for the 17th time that yes it was morning, and no she could not sleep in (mind you my daughter expelled more energy trying to jump back into bed, and fight her way out of my hands than if she would have just got up and ate breakfast) we struggled down the stairs. Next, I gave her the clothes I expected her to put on, and she sat there and stared at them. I gave her a warning saying, "if you choose not to put your clothes on yourself, then I will do it for you." After fighting to get her pajamas off, and fighting to get her clothes on with a screaming, kicking, clawing child, she was dressed.
Only 2 more things to do before we could start our school work.
I poured cereal into a measuring cup, milk into a cup, gave her a tiny pinch bowl with xylitol in it, and set the timer as my very defiant child claimed that I could not make her eat. She was correct, sort of. Apart from shoving the cereal down her throat, I could do nothing but give threats to get her to eat...or so she thought. I set the timer on the microwave and said, "O you have 15 minutes until the timer goes off. I will leave the food out until then. When the timer goes off, your opportunity to eat breakfast is over. You may choose to eat, or wait until 10 when we have snack." Then I walked away. That was the quietest 15 minutes of the day. After 5 minutes of fuming, she began to eat her cereal. She finished with seconds to spare.
Brushing teeth should be easy right?
O became suddenly disgusted by the taste of the toothpaste that we have been using for months. After listening to her whine, I finally said, "I don't care. Don't brush your teeth." So what does she do? She brushed her teeth. I wanted to pull my hair out.
So, by 8:30 we were FINALLY ready to begin our school work. We had to leave by 8:45 to get to the Y at 9 which is the goal for the school year. Schoolwork from 6:45-8:40ish then go to the Y for me to exercise and O to get a mid-morning break. Home by 11, lunch by 12, nap by 1, finish extra school work, then play.
The rest of the day consisted of,
O: "I don't want to take a nap"
Me: "You don't have to take a nap. You do however have to remain in your bed, and be quiet until I say you can get up."
O: "No, I am NOT gonna stay in my bed. I want my daddy."
Me: "I know you miss daddy, but even if daddy were here you would still need to lay down and rest for a while."
O: "NO" as she jumps out of bed
Me: put her back in the bed
Repeat 45 times during the allotted nap time.
With a few dozen tantrums, about all kinds of crazy things. All of which resulted in her either sitting in a time out or having to clean up the mess she made. She also had extra chores to do for her bad attitude about our new routine.
Tuesday--Day 2: I absolutely don't even want to try anymore, but I persevered. I got her up at 6:15, she fought me quite a bit, and this day she tried to reason with me, "but momma I need sleep so I am not grouchy." To which I replied, "There is always nap time today." She got up much faster, and asked to choose her outfit. I agreed, and we walked somewhat calmly down the stairs to have breakfast. There was still arguing. There was still bad attitudes, and still the same consequences, but we did start school at 8.
She refused to nap again, but today she stayed in her bed, and I actually had 30 minutes of quiet time.
Fast Forwarded to tumbling class at the Y. I thought for sure after running around for 45 minutes that she would be wore out and ready for bed, possibly even fall asleep on the drive home. Well, all of that went out the window when we were leaving the Y. You see, at the Y there are these decorative small bolders/large rocks and O (possibly from being so excited about her class) galloped down the sidewalk, climbed up onto the rock, and as I am telling her to get down, she shouts, "I'm the queen of the....." and falls down scraping her leg. Minor injury + tired girl = WAILING. ALL. THE. WAY. HOME. She informed me that she could not walk because she injured her leg. I told her she would be fine. She proceeded to Limp. Across. The. Room. Can we say over dramatic? After I put 3 bandages on her, she was miraculously healed, and finally made it to bed around 7.
I was so exhausted I couldn't sleep, and then I was up what felt like every hour because it was so hot upstairs. We have air-conditioning but it didn't seem to be doing anything. O woke up in the middle of the night with a bad dream, and neither of us slept really well.
Wednesday--Day 3: Wake up at 6:10, drag myself out of bed, and then carry O downstairs. Fight to get her clothes on. Fight to get her to eat. I am losing all the ground I felt like I was making yesterday. It has finally sunk in that daddy is still gone, and O misses him. She refuses to do school. She sets at the counter and screams and cries for daddy.
I go upstairs, and get the cow daddy told her to hug when she missed him, and bring it down. Voila! Smiling child. What just happened? She went from screaming and inconsolable for like 15 minutes to this smiling child.
We did school work with no trouble. Went to the Y with no trouble. We had a pretty good afternoon playing.
When we came home we got the mail, and surprise! We received the DVDs that F had ordered when he began basic training, so as a special treat we go to watch the DVD of what F did at boot camp. O had to have her nap time first, which she didn't sleep, but she did stay in her bed the entire time.
F was in the video several times, so O was thrilled to search for him the whole time. I found it interesting to get a better understanding of what he was doing while he was gone.
This is how O sat the entire show. She was captivated.
She was completely exhausted by 6 and had an early bedtime.
Thursday--Day 4: Is it morning already? I go in to get O up at 6, she turns, looks at me, and says, "Hi mommy." She goes downstairs chattering about what we are doing and what she wants for breakfast. She dresses. She eats. She brushes her teeth. We started school at 6:55. I am shocked. I tell her she can go play until it is time to leave. She goes and plays, I get some things done. I look at the clock and it's 9:22. I clean up my mess, and say, "get your shoes it is time to go." O walks downstairs with big black winter boots. It's like 100 degrees and humid. "No, O choose summer shoes." She comes back with hunter green socks pulled up to her knees with her blue/gray dress and pink and black tennis shoes. "No, O. Sandals. Get sandals." "NO" I calmly walked to her room, grabbed the sandals, came down, scooped her up, took her to the car and buckled her in at 9:48. As I drove, O screamed about how she wanted tennis shoes to run fast. After trying to stay calm and explain that they didn't match, I had reached a breaking point. I was officially late for our moms' group. I was tired of being patient. I was tired of explaining things over and over. I started grabbing behind me at whatever I could catch. O began kicking her feet like crazy. My finger caught on a sock, and I yanked it off as I shouted, "Take Off The Other Sock!" Not my proudest moment. I had to apologize in the parking lot before we could go in.
I am grateful for the break in the mornings at the Y, because the time I am working out or at Moms' Morning Out is the only time I am without O nearby. I am with her all the time. So, back to the day...we headed home, ate lunch, and it was time for nap. I thought there was no chance she would actually sleep because she hadn't thus far and she hasn't consistently taken naps for me since she turned 3. I went to check on her after 10 minutes and guess who was asleep. Praise Jesus! When it was time to get her up she didn't want to get up. She kept telling me she was tired, so I allowed her to come down stairs and watch the first show since we had been home from our trip to South Carolina. One Dinosaur Train later, she was awake and ready to do chores, and play.
The evening went smoothly with dinner, bath, playing with the dogs. By 6:40, her teeth were brushed and she was in her bed listening to bedtime stories. Asleep by 7:15.
Friday--Day 5: Success! O woke up at 6:00 am easy peasy. She ate breakfast, dressed, and brushed her teeth in 30 minutes, and school work began at 6:35. Amazing. We went to the Y, the playground, and returned home in time for lunch and nap. No tantrums. No whining.
1 week. We survived, and we have a routine that works well for us. At the beginning of the week I wasn't sure it would ever happen. I am so glad I kept at it.