Keeping the Young Ones Close, Part Three

Well hello Kendra,

As you can tell, I have not been spending a tremendous amount of time on the computer these past days...all for a very good reason!

But I wanted to write and say thank you for your quick response to my SOS. I really, really appreciated it.

I also wanted to let you know that things are improving around here, and that Tomato Staking really does work... even with "twins." I have had to be a little adaptive in order to keep them both with me all the time, but I'm figuring it out. I think the most eye-opening thing for me as I have practiced keeping them nearby is just how much rebellious behavior is overlooked when you banish your children to "time out" or their cribs/bedrooms. When your solution to bad behavior is "you will now sit right here with me", it's kind of hard to ignore the raging and screaming. And much to my amazement, two-year-olds are capable of turning off the screaming... eventually... if I will outlast them (last week we missed Sunday School completely, as we outlasted Jillian through a huge raging tantrum right before we loaded into the car... it was a great investment). AND, when I have won a few of these battles, the other areas of disobedience are also improving. Jonathan is starting to come when I call him (this is miraculous). Jillian has stopped climbing the stairs in the relentless pursuit of toothpaste and lipstick.

I've also starting having short periods of "mat time"... originally for discipline purposes where I had them sit on their Montessori mats until they stayed without screaming. Then, I allowed them to choose one book and stay on their mat. These last few days, I've been calling for "mat time" and they take out their mats and sit with a toy for about 5 minutes, and then I give them a new toy, and so on, for about 15 minutes. THIS is very hopeful, as I can see some light at the end of the tunnel for our schooling now. I've also moved a rocking chair into our school room and have been practicing reading aloud to everyone, allowing J & J to play quietly, but NOT help themselves to the art supplies, or climb anything, or go outside, or leave the room, or rip the book from my hands, or be violent, or scream and cry... you get the idea. The first day, I had to stop reading our short book no less than 10 times for discipline... but its improving.

I've actually had to totally rethink the way I do my entire day. I took to heart what you said about meals, and we have gone really simple. I am using my crock pot almost every day, and I prep while the kids have breakfast and J &J are strapped in their seats. I tasked Abraham and Amelia to do more kitchen chores, training them to do it well, and that frees me up to take J &J upstairs with me to start laundry, make beds, put away folded clothes, etc., all of which they can participate with. Amelia scrubs the kitchen table and sweeps underneath, and Abraham loads the dishwasher. Its been working great. In the evening, Amelia sets the table, and I put J &J back in the highchairs for about 15-20 minutes of table play time while I open the bag of salad, or whatever other final quick dinners preps need to be done. They hate it, but that is OK... I think eventually they'll learn not to throw all their crayons on the floor. They'd prefer to be climbing the stairs and playing in the toilet... dinner prep has been their favorite time of day!

Anyway, sorry for the long play-by-play. But things are improving, and I just wanted you to know. I CANNOT emphasize enough the value of taking some time to think and make a plan. You are so right. I would tell any mom who is losing her mind that if there is anyway that she could take a day to think, plan, make a schedule, consider doing things in a different way, seek some input, and PRAY, wow, that would be time well spent. I'll keep you posted on how things go from here. I so appreciate you and all you have offered to me and so many others through P&P.

Thanks again,