Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A New Perspective on ABC Gum

As a mother of six girls, I'm quite familiar with how girls behave. Even though my girls are spread out between one and fifteen, in many ways raising girls is fairly routine. Raising boys, however, is most definitely not.

My only son, who turned four the beginning of October, has finally been given the privilege of chewing gum. It has been, in his mind, a very long journey that should have ended quite some time ago. In my mind, it is still a scary thought and one I'm not really ready for. In the end, my son is chewing gum.

As a result, we are, of course, once again going through the process of training a child the rules of chewing gum. If you have ever tried to instill into a child the rules of gum chewing, you know that one of the most important is keeping the gum in your mouth. In my experience, the best way to instill a respect for that rule is to take gum away when it comes out of a mouth. It is a technique that has worked quite well, until now.

After reluctantly giving my son a piece of sugar-free chewing gum, I noticed he was playing with it. He received a warning, then was instructed to put the gum in the garbage, which he did. Later, I noticed he was again chewing gum and playing with it. So, I told him to put it in the garbage, again, to which he replied, "But Mommy, I already put it in the garbage two times!"

Apparently, I needed to give my son further instructions. Not only was he supposed to put his gum in the garbage, but he needed to LEAVE IT THERE!! Obviously, I have a few lessons to learn about training boys. And, this experience has given a whole new perspective to the phrase "Already Been Chewed Gum!"

Monday, October 11, 2010

Supermarket Survival

I have seven children, so my life is definitely busy. Between helping older kids with homework and teaching little ones to use the toilet, besides laundry, dishes, and meals, I have to make the most of my time. Usually that means shopping on my own or with one or two children. Rarely do I venture into the store with all seven of my children. Today was one of those rare occassions.

Today was very full, with co-op classes, a dentist appointment, a trip to the library, and a much needed stop at the grocery store. Out of absolute necessity, I found myself at the supermarket with all seven of my children.

The fun started in the parking lot. Before I'd been able to put my keys in my purse and get out of the car, three of my children had already run over to the shopping cart "keeper" and were climbing on it! They quickly responded to my call but before I could direct them to all put their hands on the cart, my youngest, who was sitting in a cart, was pushed across the lot to the next row of parking spots! Yikes; it didn't look good.

Over the years, I've learned a few things about navigating a supermarket with a bunch of kids. Today, it worked like a charm. Each kid had a different list (though not everyone wanted a list), they went and gathered their specific items, then reported back to me. It worked smoothly, except that we got stuck in the candy isle (oops) where the little ones kept up a constant chorus of "Can I have this? What about this? Please, Mommy, will you buy me this, please?" Even with the miscalculation in destination, we made it through the store in record time (30 minutes from start to finish), and without completely descimating my budget! It felt like a major victory, once I knew I had survived.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Ladies' First

As the mother of a son, I am trying diligently to instill in him the virtues of being a gentleman. But, he is three, so my goal is more long-term. If I am diligent, then maybe by the time he starts dating, he'll be prepared for the rules of engagement with the opposite sex. Obviously, I want him to recognize that hitting and biting are not ok, and that (in spite of our cultural tendancy towards the opposite) he should let girls go first.

Well, I have proof that some of my training has at least begun to sink in. As you will see in a few minutes, however, a bit of additional instruction is needed.

Recently my son and his next older sister (who is almost exactly three years older) were playing in the living room. As normally happens, my precious six year old provoked her brother until he hit her. To hopefully discourage such behavior in the future, both children got in trouble.

As the three of us walked together into the kitchen for consequences to be administered, my son, who was in front, piped up. With pleading eyes and in a sweet, somewhat desperate though very sincere voice he said "Mommy. Mommy, wait...Ladies' first."

It was very difficult not to burst out laughing! The poor little guy was so sincere! And he really was trying to apply the lessons his mother had been teaching him. Something had sunk in. Obviously, however, we need to modify the training this future man has been receiving.