It Is Hard to Hold the Line


Every afternoon we have “room time”. The baby sleeps and the two big kids separate and play alone for a little while. Sometimes Monkey falls asleep on Chicken’s bed, since she’s in our room and he has the room to himself. Sometimes I let the big kids get back together after a little time apart.

But one of my kids has a bad habit of coming out during room time, even though I have said not to. I specify that they may not come get me unless it is an emergency- “you are bleeding or something is on fire”. They both have books and stuff to color and cds to listen to. But one in particular still comes to ask me how much longer room time is, or to show me a picture, or to ask about a book.

Today I told the big kids they would get a piece of Easter candy after a good room time. I told them what I expected of them. Don’t come out, unless it is an emergency. This is quiet time for me, and for all of us.

Ten minutes passed- maybe less- and this one child wanted to show me something on the etch-a-sketch. I didn’t look at it. I said, sadly, that this means no candy today. I said we’d have to try again later.

Tears. We are now approaching 45 minutes of tears.

So much for quiet time.

And- oh well. This is what I have earned for myself by letting it go the first time, the second time, and the following upteen times this child has come out “just for a second” during room time. This is a mutual collaboration of (my child) testing out my word and (me) showing my child I don’t really mean what I say.

55 minutes. And counting. This is a painful lesson for both of us.

14 thoughts on “It Is Hard to Hold the Line

    • And you’ve survived!!!

      And then, I suppose, graduated on to more complex parenting issues. These days seem physically tiring, but I bet the stage you are in is more emotionally tiring.

      I need a nap.

  1. Hang in there! I’m working (which right now looks like procrastinating by checking my email) on a staff development for teachers tomorrow. An important part of the day is centered on the question, “How do they know you mean it?” It’s hard for all of us. When my kids were young they thought “One more time” actually meant 2 more times because “one more time” was always followed by “the last time.” Sigh.

    • Yes! I just talked about this with aforementioned child. Neither of us has held to what we said we’d do, and that’s a bad choice for both of us to make. THIS IS HARD WORK.

  2. Sooooo sorry. That consistency thing is so out of reach, I feel, so much of the time. You let up just ONCE, just ONCE and they’ll work you over for life. We feel your pain.

    • We have an “okay to wake” clock that would probably be really helpful- same idea, where the kids don’t have to just be waiting blindly. Thanks!

  3. We all have days when we just can’t be bothered enforcing the rules and then of course it backfires. Sometimes we just want to be relaxed hippies and get tired of being policemen!!

  4. Pingback: Brain Dump | Ye Old College Try

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