Monday, January 24, 2011

♪ I’m going off the rails on this crazy train ♪

Ok, I made this really cute craft last week.  (Well, at least I think it’s really cute.)  But this craft comes with a story.  A story of breaking down and losing control and rebuilding from the ground up.  (Yes, I have a flair for the dramatic!)
My kids, aged 6, 3 and 1, like to fight at the dinner table.  They specifically like to fight about who is sitting where (next to whom and why).  This fighting often ends in tantrums and tears and sometimes hitting/wrestling.  Sigh.
I know kids fight.  Mine fight often and loudly.  It’s just that dinner time is my worst time of the day.  My patience is at it’s lowest point.  I’m tired and hungry and irritable.  I want to go in my room and just be alone.  But dinner must be made.  The wee beasties demand sustenance.
On the fateful day my head blew off and drama was unleashed full force on my household, Jeff’s nephew was here visiting (and Jeff’s sister and niece walked right through the door  at the moment of my meltdown – lucky them!).  The kids were doing their regular bickering, and I had told Jeff’s nephew to come eat.  He, being so nice, offered to trade seats with Ethan as he was complaining the loudest.  I ignored him, not to be mean but because I knew if I said yes then Noah would start screeching.  So I waited to see if it would just be dropped or if they would sort it out on their own.  Yeah, right.  He asked me again like 4 times.  And then I exploded.  I DON’T CARE WHERE YOU SIT!  So Jeff berated me for yelling and I snapped back at him.  It was ugly.  Pure and simple.  Jeff’s nephew cried and their family left without saying good-bye.  I spent the rest of my night feeling like a complete jerk and beating myself up for losing control of my temper.  I apologized to all three of them ,and then turned to my best girl Teresa for some straight talk and love.  I’ve known her since the 5th grade (we were matched up as pen pals!), and she always gives the best advice.
t and me

She told me to stop being so hard on myself.  That everyone yells and loses control of themselves.  Just apologize and let it go.  Then she said her boys do the same thing at dinner time.  She does a reward system where if they sit in their assigned seat without fussing/fighting they get a star.  At ten stars, they get a Happy Meal.
I figured anything was better than WWIII in my dining room.  So I started with a sheet of paper with their names written on it and star stickers.  And it worked!  The only change I made was to label our chairs with letters, and the kids get to draw their seat assignment rather than me telling them where to sit.  The only issues I had was that it was hard to remove stars for really bad behavior, and I was going through a lot of paper.  I wanted something re-usable and permanent.
So this is what I did. 
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I cut stars out of card stock and scrapbooking paper.
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Then I applied some snipped magnet strips with stick-um on one side that my sister game me.
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I cut out little name tags and put magnets on the back of them as well.  And I also cut out a few 1’s and 2’s, so I could keep track of how many Happy Meals they are owed since we don’t always get right out to Mickey D’s.
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I love it.  And so do the kids.

Now if I could only find a way to get my middle kid to stop saying “I haaaattttteeeee this!” to everything I serve.  :)

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Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. ~Dr. Seuss