Friday, January 22, 2016

Big Kid Files

The other morning Charles said, “Mom, I’m the only one in our family who is thin.”  And I said, “What about me?” in mock horror.  He just looked at me like I was crazy.  The kid is, it turns out, old enough to know when to keep his mouth shut.


For Christmas, my in-laws gave me a lovely box of handmade chocolates.  They were so good and even though they were in a one-pound candy box, they were really stuffed in there.  There had to have been nearly two pounds of chocolates that tasted remarkably similar to See’s Milk Bordeaux.  I might have cried a little bit at their sheer beauty.

I limited myself to one or two chocolates a day for approximately two days.  No, eighteen hours.  Okay, maybe one or two throughout the day on the Saturday after Christmas (when I received the chocolates) and then another one or two in the evening after the kids were in bed, and then another one or two on Sunday.  There were still so many!  It was the never-ending box of chocolates!  Heaven!

On the Sunday after Christmas, Tony and Jamie went to a friend’s house to watch football while Freddie napped and Charles and I read stories and played with the new Christmas toys.  Then Freddie woke up, so I went upstairs to snuggle him for a bit.  After Freddie was good and awake (this was during about a month of crankiness due to the appearance of two molars, so it was a bit touch-and-go with waking up for awhile), I called to Charles to come upstairs and snuggle with us.  He arrived and gave Freddie a big, chocolaty kiss.

I think you know where this is headed.

I asked him if he’d had one of mommy’s chocolates and he nodded his head. 

“How many did you have, Charles?”

“One.  No, two.  I’m sorry.”

“Okay.  Those are mommy’s chocolates and you need to ask before you eat one.  I forgive you.”

Later, I discovered that he had consumed THE ENTIRE BOX.  At least a pound of delicious, delicious handmade truffles.

He wasn’t even sick to his stomach.

I have since decided to hide all chocolate from my children.


You might think that since I have all boys, I have escaped the daily fashion crises that mothers of girls deal with.  I’ll admit, the problems are usually uncomplicated; Jamie has a hard time deciding which “footies” to wear (he got several new pairs of footie pajamas for Christmas, and he rotates through his collection every day of the week) and neither of the boys has more than one pair of shoes or boots.  However, Charles is DEEPLY concerned about which pants match which shirt and can I just tell you that his opinions on matching are DEAD WRONG?  For a while he would wear all one color (black pants and black shirt or dark jeans and dark blue shirt) and now he wears only pants that “go” with his favorite shirts.  I’ve tried to apply years of matching colors and styles to his daily dilemmas about clothing, but logic and experience mean nothing to Charles.  Jeans that look great with a certain shirt “don’t go” and cause prolonged weeping and gnashing of teeth.

I came up with a couple of solutions.  First, I bought Charles more pants.  Now that the variety is greater, he has less trouble “matching” or whatever.  Second, we made a deal that resulted in more more TV for the kids (that’s the kind of deal they jump at).  I figured out that the fashion problem was a symptom of a larger issue: too much time in the morning.  Time to complain about clothing choices, time to stall before brushing teeth or donning shoes, time to bounce off the walls.

I’m not big on screen time, but in order to restore some sanity to my mornings right before tax season, I instituted the following program for both Charles and Jamie:

1. Get dressed
2. Eat breakfast
3. Brush your teeth
4. Do two pages in your workbook
5. Watch a 22-minute episode of one of your shows on Netflix (Ninjago, Clone Wars, Rescue Bots)

The boys have to have the first four items done by 8 am in order to earn the show and they have to agree on the show.  Any arguing and the deal is off.

In the three weeks since we have adopted this morning routine, fighting, fashion crises, tantrums, and yelling on my part have diminished considerably.  Plus, they’re learning.  Sure, they’re watching TV, but they’re also working through their workbooks.  Compromise: it’s what I do.

It’s just possible that I won’t disown them before the end of tax season.

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