I've always been sort of a drill sergeant with my kids. I make them line
up in front of the front door before we leave the house to make sure
all shoes are tied, shirts tucked in, noses wiped, hair combed, etc. (I
don't check for socks to match clothes...I couldn't care less. I figure
I'm lucky if the socks match each other.) My neighbors think I'm far
too strict with my kids. When Ismail threw scrambled eggs off the
balcony onto our neighbor's hair downstairs, it was HE who went down
to apologize with a bucket of soapy water and a sponge and an offer to
clean her balcony. When Hamo shouted, "IN YOUR EYE!" at the man
across the hall, it was HE who went to apologize for being rude, not I.
And when Aiman got yelled at in school for wearing a Scream mask in
class and had it taken away from him, it was HE who apologized to the
teacher for being disrespectful in class and not I. I try my best to make
them own their mistakes and be responsible for their actions. All their
teachers are most appreciative and actually think I'm full of crap when
I ever say anything about the orneriness I have to endure at home.
Apparently my kids are angelcakes outside of my supervision. At home...
let's just say that if hell hasn't broken loose yet, it's only a matter of time.
I woke to hammering and shouting this morning. At first I thought
Mohamed was up and fixing one of the perpetually broken chairs. Then
he snored next to me and rolled over in an attempt to drown out the
pounding going on in the boys' room. So I got up and found my glasses
and stumbled in the direction of the SMACK SMACK SMACK sound and
shouts of "You're so STUPID!" and "STOP STANDING ON MY BED!" and
"Shut up or I'll hit YOU with this hammer!" When I opened the door I found
Aiman's and Ismail's mattresses strewn across the floor and their pillows
and blankets thrown up on the study table. I thought at first glance that
Hamo's bed had been equally trashed but upon further scrutiny, I realized
that his bed ALWAYS looks trashed.
Ismail was on the top bunk hammering the slats that hold his mattress onto
the bedframe. Well, that's ONE way to stop the little ones from pushing the
mattress up with their feet while lying down on the bottom bunk. Why Aiman's
bed was trashed was not as easily explained. I started to ask why...and then
thought of much more important things like my toothbrush and a BIG FAT cup
of coffee. So I shuffled into the kitchen leaving them to their banging and
insult-fest. After about half a cup of coffee, I pried the hammer out of Ismail's
hand, forced all three of the boys into their flip-flops and sent them all down to
the mosque for noon prayers. Then I forced Samiya to help me get the boys'
room back to normal. After much whining, she pulled her weight.
I don't understand what has happened. Did I get lazy? old? tired? When did they
become so sassy? Where did I put my drill sergeant's whistle? Did all of this
happen since Hamo became a teenager? *sigh* I think I need a vacation...or a
creative teenage punishment course. The usual "SIT ON YOUR HANDS!" for
hitting others and "HOLD HANDS WITH YOUR SISTER AND SAY NICE THINGS
TO HER FOR THE NEXT 5 MINUTES!" for talking nasty aren't working anymore.
I've tried the write 10 things you love about (fill in the name of other party involved
in fight) and force each to read the others' list. Ultimately it's ME who gets punished.
"Mom, how do you spell 'less retarded'???"
me: "You can't say that being 'less retarded' is something you love about your
kid: "What about something about him not being so stinky when he has gas? Can
I write that??"
me: "I suppose so...if that's something you LOVE about him."
kid: "I'd love him more if he were someone else's brother."
me: "You DEFINITELY cannot write that."
kid: "Awwwww, Mommy! You're making it too hard."
me: "And you're making dinner later and later by the minute. Now WRITE!"
kid: "I can't think of more than 4 things I love about him if I can't say he's less
me: (giving up) "Screw it! Go scrub the bathroom!"
The Big Calm
11 hours ago