Sometimes I feel like a creative genius, but most of the time I feel like my children have sucked every last drop of creativity from me. They absorbed it into their tiny little bodies and now they are using it to destroy our house one mud pie at a time.
Their abundant and oft-misguided creativity combined with my lack thereof leaves me with a dilemma. I want to meet my children’s creative disobedience with equally creative discipline. I want the punishment to not just fit the crime in size and severity, but somehow be related to it! I’m talking Mrs. Piggle Wiggle caliber lessons here.
So I come to you seeking advice because, more often than I’d like, my brain turns to a puddle of mush and I turn to the old faithfuls. Time out, spanking, we’ll never ever ever do anything fun ever again. You know, those things parents say. all. the. time.
Here’s a list of some the recurring issues in this household. (In no particular order.) Fix them, please.
1. Wasting hand soap. 5 pumps for two tiny hands… Are you kidding me?! And I was SO not thrilled when I found soap in the bottom of my bathroom cup after I rinsed my mouth with it.
2. Making mud. My boys love water. They also love dirt. They also love to mix them.
3. Playing in mud. Sometimes it rains and the mud is pre-made already!!!
4. Harvesting vegetables without permission. We have a garden and I love that my kids love the garden. I do NOT love that they pick things before they are ready. That broccoli would have grown big enough to feed our whole family. Instead it was popped into a four year old’s mouth for an afternoon snack. I gave birth to giant groundhogs!
5. Wrestling/fighting/sharing the same square inch of space all the time. I have 4 year old twin boys. I have no idea how to stop this.
6. Coming out of their room 100,000,000x before bed. It’s an issue.
7. Creative use of sharp objects. We have had our couch cut with scissors, a crocheted doily and a coaster cut with a letter opener, and a fork tine poked into the couch. Our poor couch.
We have tried preventative measures (i.e. no scissors for K after the couch cutting incident) but I know my kids are bound to be in situations where temptation exists (i.e. a week later, while avoiding all scissors, K picked up my parents’ letter opener and sliced their doily apart) and I want them to know how to resist temptation and make good choices.
SO, if you are brilliant and creative and you have an idea. PLEASE SHARE IT! Comment below and share it with the world.
If you need an idea of what I mean by a creative punishment that is related to and fits the crime, here are two “success stories” pulled from the pile of my many failures.
1. Nose picking. For a few days, I wrapped tape or band-aids around the tips of K & J’s fingers so they couldn’t fit comfortably inside the nostrils anymore. J seemed to be cured after 3 days of tape. K discovered he could pick his nose just as well with his pinkie. Unfortunately, I stopped taping and a few weeks later they got stuffy noses. Boogies built up and those fingers gravitated back to the nose. So, if anyone has any ideas I guess I should add that one to the list as well.
2. Making the rest of the family wait for you. Sometimes my kids act like their body has rigor mortis, their brain is on another planet, and their seat belt (they buckle themselves) is a 60 foot long wild snake. Usually, this sort of melt down happens when they are tired and/or hungry. In the past, I have approached this issue with preventative measures (always pack food. always.), but today I decided that a four year old is allowed to feel hunger and is fully capable of waiting. I was not going to cater and excuse this type of behavior any longer. So, on the way home from the library, while everyone was waiting in the car and K was having an “I’m going to die of starvation” tantrum, I told him that we were trying to get home for lunch and because he was making everyone else wait for lunch he would have to wait for lunch: 5 minutes for the tantrum and one minute added for any addition hunger complaints on the way home. Immediate attitude change.