The kids have been on vacation since last Friday, and I have been working full time plus, and about ready to commit enfanticide. L spent most of the time in daycare, thank God, but the other three were around, and feeling really combatitive. On Tuesday we did a bunch of Christmas stuff, including among other things, cookie baking, christmas present making, and wrapping. It was fun, at first, then I realized the kids can't go more than twenty minutes without hitting eachother or starting fights.
T does this really annoying thing where he attacks A, and then cries hysterically when A hits back, harder. Trust me, after hearing him starting to scream/cry the fifth time, you stop caring. Naturally the frequency went up as they spent more days inside. By Thursday I would average that there was a fight every fifteen minutes.
It is exhausting. On Tuesday, after World War Three broke out, one of their little cousins called and I had him on the phone, then Lyrica called because she was stuck walking back from Villenes. With the two on different phones, I lost it. I just started yelling (you don't really have a choice with these kids, they don't EVER listen to me) like my Dad yelling. Everyone went to their rooms for a half hour and I sat downstairs finishing one of the presents I was making, drinking tea, and enjoying the silence. T tried to sneak back downstairs, but I made him stay up there.
By Thursday I was going out of my mind. My patience was like a string pulled tight, every time I heard one of the kids crying, or yelling, I just went downstairs. It is so frustruating. How do parents do this? Will my patience change when it's my children? Is there some magical element if they come from my genes? I don't know. I make a habit of apologizing to my mom everytime we speak on the phone, for being a shitty little kid. But she always tells me how good we were, and how we always wanted to help and listened. I don't know how that happens. I know I had a deep respect (read, fear) for my father, but I don't understand. Is there something inside of me that's different than these kids? Because as far as I can tell, T doesn't understand punishment, unless it's happening at that current moment. For example, he doesn't really respond if I say, 'If you do this naughty thing, you won't watch a movie.' He does respond to, 'If you do this nice thing for me, you can watch a movie.' And he reeeally has a hard time with retroactive punishment, ie- 'I'm not reading you a story because you were naughty today,' although I think that is starting to become clearer. He will tell me now, 'You don't let me read story, Robine, because I was bad boy.' So I don't know if he was too young before, or if he was never punished like this.
Actually, I know this might be bad, but because he responds better to positive reinforcement I've started to do this-During bathtime, after L leaves, T always asks to put in more water. I say no sometimes, if he put in way too much the day before. If he doesn't throw a temper tantrum, I come back in and say, okay, because you didn't scream and cry, you can have more water. I actually think that this strategy is starting to have an effect.
My point here, I suppose, is that childcare is the most challenging thing I have ever done; and short of going into battle, I can't really imagine anything more difficult. But Real World, that is not a challenge.