Keeping the Young Ones Close, Part One

I touched briefly in a recent post on keeping little ones (big ones, too, when they need it) close by. Seems to be a subject at the forefront for me and other friends lately. After discussing this at length with Shawna, she sent me the following email:

So I have been eating up the Godly tomatoes stuff, so to speak. I would SO love to just have a consult with you, or with someone who is experienced here! Its funny how when you are given a lot of information, God shows you what He wants you to hear. That is how the Retreat was for me. I heard "Pray", and "look at your discipline... it's lacking!" So I've been observing Jilly and Jonathan these past few days, and wow, they totally do not obey me. I think the 2s kind of snuck up on me with these two. Discipline went fairly smoothly with Abraham and Amelia, and I have to say, they are pretty well trained. But I think when I only had one or two, I naturally trained more and kept them close because I simply had more time.

Now, I find myself way too often just disciplining the behavior that is absolutely intolerable, and then quickly turning my back to resume whatever urgent task I have to accomplish. And Kendra, their behavior has suddenly just turned so awful!! They can now open every door in the house... even if its dead-bolted. They can open every gate in the yard. They can circumvent the stair gate and go between the banister. Everytime I turn around, they are finding a pen and drawing on the wall, scooping water from the toilet, eating my lipstick or pumping out lotion, taking food out of the pantry and opening packages and helping themselves... they scale the cabinets in the school room and help themselves to paint. And whenever their will is thwarted in any way, they scream and cry and carry on. They do not come when I call. They do not stay where I put them. I am losing my mind. And they TOTALLY understand what is and is not OK... as is proven when I come around the corner and discover them...lets say pumping lotion and eating lipstick... and they scatter in opposite directions!

Do we need bootcamp, or what?? I've never had a problem being my children's authority, and letting my yes be yes and no be no. But having the two at once has really throw me off my game. I need a new strategy! So, I'm trying to figure out how its all going to flesh out here. What it really is going to look like. I wish I could see it in action. I have practiced a little with making everyone sit in one place, and its a lot of disciplining... but they did it. And now when I tell them "Sit!" they do... although with crying. And Jillian is so willful.

One question I have is, how long does "boot camp" usually last? When do you know it is over? And really, how do you keep your toddlers with you ALWAYS? Do you ever let you bigger kids just go play? And with what parameters? Do you unplug the phone??

The kitchen is the area where I see this being the most challenging. The rest of the house, and with my other chores, no problem. And, I really look forward to having them with us in the school room, and teaching them to be included but with proper behavior. The kitchen, however, that's hard. I already don't like being in the kitchen myself. (Pre kids, I used to love to cook...) Cooking and cleaning up is my least favorite chore, which is too bad because I am in the kitchen so much. My kitchen, as you know, is small and we have a separated floor plan. When I am in the kitchen, I pretty much can't see them in the rest of the house.

And when I'm in the kitchen is when they do their best work destroying the house! So anyway, I'm trying to figure out how I can have them in there with me, without losing my mind. What will they be doing? How long can I expect them to do it?

Anyway, if you have time, I'd sure appreciate any feedback you can offer. What would you do in my house, with my situation? Again, Abraham and Amelia do quite well. They just need consistent training and input to maintain their good behavior. So many people would tell me "just let them grow out of it... this too shall pass... they are only 2!" What say you? Am I expecting too much? The Godly Tomato lady doesn't think so.

Thanks for the great resource and the inspiration. Tomorrow I'm off to chase toddlers around a fire pit with burning marshmallows. Should be very relaxing!

Until later,

Shawna

Part two of our dialog tomorrow...