We had a snow storm here on Tuesday night into Wednesday. It canceled our plans of going to town, eating at IHOP (all you can eat pancakes), piano lessons and a meeting with our supervising teacher. I had the boys get up and go shovel the library sidewalk as was their agreement with the librarian. The boys were furious with me. Their reasoning was unjust. They were tired and I understood that. Sweet woke up in time for breakfast and was in a bad mood because she wanted to go to IHOP and, "we should just go anyway." The rest of the morning was a bit more relaxed though you could feel the tension in the air.
Since their school work was light and was finished early, I let them have the afternoon off. It was a snow day for public schools and Sweet had her friend Banana come over. Dill and Chip went to my room to continue listening to and taping Artemis Fowl The Paradox. I was in the living room watching TV and working on my laptop. I don't really know when it happened but when it did, everything changed.
Sweet and Banana went into the basement to play with Number Three. When Sweet screams Number Three runs to her and nuzzles her trying to protect her. They went to the basement so they wouldn't disturb the boys. Well, they did disturb the boys. Dill went straight downstairs and kicked and hit the girls and scream at them to shut up. Dill came back upstairs. Sweet and Banana continued screaming when Chip went to the top of the stairs and screamed, at the top of his lungs, "shut up!" In all 4 major rules of the house were broken by all of them:
- saying shut up
- not to mention being rude and not holding tempers
I tried to talk to each of them, telling Sweet to go to her room and play quietly with Banana. Telling Dill hitting and kicking were completely unacceptable. Telling Chip yelling at the top of his lungs would not be tolerated. They all basically ignored me. I went back to my computer, holding back tears.
Fast forward 2 hours. The boys finished their book. Banana went home. Sweet was setting the table. Cool and Chip were outside blowing the drive. We sat down to eat and I brought up the kids behavior. The picklets automatically insisted it wasn't their fault. "It was all Sweet." It was Dill's fault. It was Banana. She is pure evil." "It was Chip." "It wasn't my fault!" That was when Cool got up from the table and went outside without even finshing his salad. He didn't want to hear the same thing again.
Now, I had been thinking long and hard for days as to what I could do to show the picklets that I am serious about their attitude, behavior, responsibility and school work. I like to make sure we have fun in our daily routine and maybe I have been letting the fun intrude on the practices that make us good people. So, I took a deep breath and told the picklets what I was going to do.
"I am taking away all your privileges. All your toys, cards, dolls, video games, anything that you enjoy is being locked in the toy room. There will be no TV, movies, books on tape or radio. There will be no friends. You will earn back your privileges." With that I got up, put my bowl in the sink and listened to the picklets tell me how unfair and mean I was being. I told them supper was over and sent them to bed.