29 June 2012

Grateful and Gobsmacked

I'd never believe it happened if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes; heard it with my own ears.
Possibly the most heartwarming moment of my mothering years.

Let me paint the scene.
Dinner is over and the debris of our meal litters the table.
We are feeling rather mellow; the school term is nearly done so bedtime has drifted towards 8pm.
David Attenborough is on the telly, introducing us to another of Nature's Great Events.
Everyone's happy... except Scrag.
He's wriggling and complaining, angling for attention, ants in his pants, unable to sit still.
Of course he should have been in bed an hour ago, but we are feeling mellow remember?
After pausing the show umpteen times to try and sort Scrag out, I finally give up, hit the stop button and order everyone to bed.
"But what about pudding?"
"Yeah mum you promised us an iceblock..."
"I wanna iceblock! I wanna iceblock!"

I grab the keys and head out in the cold to the garage where we keep the treats under lock and key.
Everyone is happy with the Rainbow PaddlePops I bring back... except Scrag, who wants my Jellytip.
"Waaaaaah! I don't want that kind! I want the other kind! Waaaaaah!"

{Scrag throws a hissy fit every time we say no lately. This is a fun new development since he turned four. We're working on it. Sigh.}

It's too much all of a sudden. Patience and good humour have flown in the face of Scrag's rambunctiousness.
The noise has worn me down and I feel a headache building. I need this day to end NOW.
Leaning on the bench for support, I say through gritted teeth, "Right. Everyone finish your iceblocks and GET TO BED..."
Then I start to clear away the dinner mess, just hoping they'll do as they're told.

[You're wondering which part of this sorry scene is heartwarming. Don't worry we're getting to it.]

Then it happens.
Dash comes over to me, puts his hand on my shoulder and says:
"Just leave that mum, we'll do it. We'll do everything. You need to go to bed...."


Miss Fab chimes in, "Yeah mum, we'll do those dishes, just go lie down."

I'm sorry, have the aliens invaded?

"But I need to put Scrag to bed..." I say, stunned.

"We'll do it. We'll read him a story. Honest."


They have their hands around my waist now, sending me in the direction of my room. I'm still in shock. I can't leave a 9 and 7 year old to clean up and put the 4-year-old to bed all by themselves, can I?

"Um, look, that's so lovely you guys. So kind of you. I'm very touched. But you can't do everything by yourselves. How about if you clean up and I'll put Scrag to bed?" I offer.

"NO mum! We're doing EVERYTHING. You just go now."

Stunned I find my way to the bedroom, get in my PJ's and lean back on my pillow amazed, as I hear the sounds of Miss Fab piggy-backing Scrag to the bathroom for cleaning teeth. She reads to him while Dash boils the kettle. He comes in carrying a Milo. In a Princess mug. For me.


I hear the sounds of dishes being done, cooperation is afoot.
Honestly, I am truly in the nicest kind of shock.
They didn't just offer (which was amazing in itself) but they pulled it off.
Got their brother in bed. Cleaned the dishes and even brought me a hot drink in bed.

I was singing their praises.
And brimming with gratitude.

The hard work is paying off.
Remember this post, about how sometimes things get worse before they get better?

Well me and my man have been working our asses off to change things up in our family.
Old lazy habits, out the door. Old unhelpful mindsets, kicked to the kerb.
Standing our ground in the face of tantrums. Engaging more with our kids. Playing more. Facing our own issues.
A combination of the amazing parenting course I did and our trip to Coffs Harbour to see a man About a Dog (and subsequent follow up with counselors here in NZ).

New strategies.
Play. Clear routines and family rules.
An effective reward system. More play.
Time out used properly and consistently. Play play play.

Life is not without its bumps, don't get me wrong.
But last night was a clear indicator to me that what we're doing is working.
Even when we have a bad day/meal/morning/moment we have a plan. And tools.
We know what to do and we're on the same page. Me and the Daddy.
Working as a team. (Finally).

Oh you thought your family was the only one that struggles with naughty kids, tantrums and bad behaviour?
You are not alone.

{OK, if your kids never drive you batty, then you probably are alone; it's the rest of the humans I'm talking to...}

Here's what I am over-the-moon and round-the-sun Grateful for:
The things I've learned and the work we've done that has resulted in a moment I would never have thought possible.
Kids unselfishly helping. Being thoughtful, caring and kind. Without thought of reward.
(They didn't even ask for stickers).

Unbelievable. But all true.

The Posts about What I've Learned 
(and am eternally Grateful for):

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