Today is the first day back to school (already?!?), and it’s really quiet around here. I guess my oldest two are my loudest two, and we have reduced the traffic in the house by 50% since half the kids are now at school during the day. Thank goodness for school; I’m enjoying myself already. So far, I’ve gotten two loads of laundry done – folded, put away and everything, and I have somehow also found the time today to put away most of the clutter that’s been haunting our dining room table for the last week and a half. I even got to work on my e-book a little bit, and it’s not even 1 o’clock! And, the kids at school are learning stuff, getting exercise, and socailizing with their friends; they’re not vegged out in front of the tv or outside fighting in the wading pool. Everyone wins!
While the oldest 2 kids are in school, I also have time to focus on my toddler, Disney, while her baby brother is napping. Today, I got to sit on the floor and play puzzles with her; something we haven’t done together in months, almost a year because of my pregnancy and c-section. And she was down for her nap by 12:30, which not only means some quality time together for me and baby Christopher, but also that my toddler should be to bed at a decent hour tonight. Win-win! While I was on the floor playing with my daughter, I was getting up to tend to the laundry and whatnot. My daughter was following me around the house, and this is where my day becomes challenging – trying to keep our clingy almost 2-year-old out of my husband’s home office so he can work. The home office isn’t a room where he could close the door and utilize the out-of-sight-out-of-mind tactic. The office is on the landing on our second floor, so if my toddler begins to head up the stairs or even looks up the stairs, she sees her best friend, Daddy, and it’s over. She tantrums until he holds her, and he can’t get any work done. Today she got upstairs and in the clutches of Daddy, so when I chased her down, of course she was upset. But I used one of my favorite child-rearing techniques: redirection. I taught her how to clean the toothpaste off the kids’ bathroom counter, which she happily did. We went downstairs for a popsicle, puzzles, and Barney, and all was forgotten. Wow. I had totally forgotten about the magic of the redirection technique because the last 2-year-old I had in the house was our “spirited” child, Samantha. Sammie was never re-directable. She has always been so strong-willed that it’s literally impossible to re-direct the kid, let alone being able to trick her into helping around the house. To this day, she will fight for her cause, whatever it may be, until she gets what she wants or she passes out. And now that she’s older (she’s 4), the crying doesn’t last as long, but she will remember what it is she wanted and bring it up throughout the day (or week or month) until she gets it. So I am actually enjoying Disney’s terrible twos a little bit – it’s so refreshing to have a kid who listens. I know, she’s not yet 2 and things could get worse – so much worse. But I’ve been there, done that, and after what Sammie put us through, no wonder Disney seems like a breeze. And even if she does get completely crazy, soon she’ll be old enough to go to school, and we’ll start the terrible twos all over again with Christopher. After 3 tantruming girls in their terrible twos, I’m curious to see what a boy will be like. Probably no big deal, at least compared to Sammie 🙂