Well, I didn't STEAL Christmas. Just delayed it. And not all of it...just the tree decorating. And only for a day. But I still feel awfully Grinchy tonight. And I could really go for a glass of wine. But I'll settle for some sparkling pomegranate juice and chocolate. Sigh.
I didn't take it away for no reason, though. I was trying to make a point. A very I'm-at-the-end-of-my-rope-and-out-of-ideas point, but a point. Here's the trouble: The whining in this house is Out Of Control. So is the demanding. And the not listening. I'm tired of the 2-year old looking at me deviously and walking (running) in the opposite direction of where I'm asking him to go. I'm tired of the 4-year old demanding that I wipe his boogies and then whining that I DIDN'T WIPE HIS BOOGIES RIGHT. I'm tired of declaring to a might-as-well-be empty room that "Lunch is ready! Come on in!" I'm tired of spending LITERALLY three or four minutes adjusting the jacket, pants, straps, and seat back Every Single Time I strap Evan into his carseat. Three or four minutes that, trust me, feel ENDLESS when the child is squirming, whining, crying about "It's STILL uncomfortable!" and there's NOTHING I can do to fix it. I'm tired of asking Max to help clean up or to come upstairs to get dressed and receiving an, "Um, No. I don't want to," in response.
I'm just tired. Today, of all recent days, was Especially Tiring. Everything just felt harder than usual today.
And then tonight, after I asked Evan to put the (toy) screwdriver away because, in this house, we don't poke our brothers in the face with screwdrivers, and got an "It's not fair!" shriek in return, I was spent. I wasn't in the mood to decorate the tree. I wasn't in the mood to listen to Christmas music on the radio and reminisce about Christmases past as we unwrapped the memories stored in our ornament bins. And so....I Grinched it. Instead of decorating the tree, we had a Family Meeting. There will be changes in the voices used in this house immediately, or there will be consequences: If Evan whines about something or makes a demand, instead of saying, "Try again in a nice voice," our answer will be, "No." He already knows that he needs to use a nice voice. He's old enough and smart enough for this tougher approach. With Max, it's trickier, because his not-listening/limit-pushing behavior is age-appropriate...just still tiring. We'll just have to do less direction-giving and more taking-by-the-hand-and-leading to making good choices. There was pouting: "I'll just decorate the tree myself then," Evan said. And I felt bad.
But we'll make up for it tomorrow when, after a pleasant day of Big Boy voices, sweetness, cooperation, and Direction Following, we'll turn the radio up, unpack those ornaments, and try to keep Max from bulldozing the tree down.
Sometimes I find myself being overly dramatic in parenting. But I think this meant something to them. It didn't devastate them...they know that we're all set to decorate tomorrow....but they had been looking forward to this all day, so they recognized it as a consequence. And so do I.....
I'm ready for that Magical Holiday Spirit to overtake me....and the boys. Where are those Christmas Unicorns and Rainbows I keep reading about on Enjoying the Small Things, and where can I get my own??