Thursday, September 25, 2008

Discipline, Goodwill and Homemade Pudding

I've had a rough couple of days, discipline wise, with Daniel. The disciplining of strong-willed, or ADHD children (whatever the case may be), completely drains me. I remember this depleted feeling from my teaching years. You have to be a step ahead of them all the time, and you can never back down or appear weak, even if you feel on the verge of emotional collapse. They can be relentless, and you have to somehow match that, without developing a punishment mentality.

Punishment mentality, described by a school psychologist I once worked with, is the feeling that you want to "get back" at the child, for putting you through hell. One has to navigate the embattled waters without resenting the child, essentially. Hard to do, people. So hard.

Last night AWANA went a bit late (ice cream social) , and the boys were overexcited and didn't get to sleep until 9:30 p.m. Consequently, they got up too early, at around 6 a.m. I knew that after two solid days of battle, I wasn't up to dealing with my soon-to-be-cranky, tired boys. I told Don, who is not a disciplinarian by nature and therefore doesn't get as drained, that I absolutely needed a mental health day. He took care of the schooling, and I took Emily Rose shopping for homemade pudding ingredients, and for fall/winter clothes at Goodwill.

Friends, it was therapeutic. And thank God, it just happened to be Customer Appreciation Day, which meant an additional 35% off. My, did I score. Some semi-wealthy people who shop at the best department stores and at Gymboree and Old Navy, left some beautiful clothes for me to find. God is good. Richer people apparently buy their children so many outfits, that the clothes never have a chance to get worn or faded. Mint condition, I'm telling you. I'm a happy camper! The best finds of the day were a Laura Ashley infant day outfit in 0-3 month size, and a beautiful, dressy jumper, never worn, for Emily Rose. Not to mention numerous nice shirts for Daniel, and two church-type, very smart sweaters for Timothy.

It turns out that the boys were actually great all day today. Go figure. Maybe Don prayed for me, or God just knew I needed a reprieve.

Now, Emily Rose, mind you, is up to no good again during teeth brushing. I purchased an electric toothbrush about a month ago, which virtually ended our battle-like brushing sessions. She thought it was fabulous. The novelty has worn off though, and it's hell again. No one is getting injured, but it's a nasty fight. I've heard it's no fun when a toddler or preschooler gets cavities; they often have to be put to sleep before treatment. I want no part of that, obviously.

As soon as Emily Rose started her nap, the boys made the homemade chocolate pudding, with me doing just the stove part and helping with the measuring. Here is the recipe:


Homemade Chocolate Pudding

1 c sugar
1/2 c baking cocoa
1/4 c cornstarch
1/2 ts salt
4 c milk
2 Tb butter or margarine
2 ts vanilla extract

In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat; boil and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in butter and vanilla. Spoon into serving dishes. Chill until serving. 6-8 servings

A Night Person

Don and I are night people. Incurable ones, I might add. As soon as 10:00 p.m. hits, our bodies want to go, go, go. Even in the most exhausting post-partum days, I'm wired, once I hit the 10:00 p.m. mark. I'm sure with more self-discipline, I can turn in earlier than 10:00 and attempt to get more sleep. I know I need it. But since Don doesn't get home until 11:30 p.m., it's hard to stick to an earlier bedtime. I'm looking old, however, due to too little sleep lately. I've got to make it a priority.

And yet this is the area in which I have the least self-discipline. I remember doing my literature papers in the middle of the night, even in high school. I had to use a flashlight sometimes, to avoid my mother finding me out. She would get so enraged at me, even though my teacher loved my papers. Mom worked at my high school as a secretary, and the English teacher always stopped by her desk to compliment my papers (especially the one on The Scarlet Letter). Mom suspects he thought she actually wrote that one, instead of me.

Anyway, I've been battling this night person thing for many, many years. I'm fortunate that my kids, unlike some I've heard about, don't wake at the crack of dawn. The boys are usually awake at 7 a.m., and Emily Rose at 8 a.m. It could be much worse.

And wouldn't you know it. It's now 10:00 p.m. and I haven't done the dishes. Maybe I should only blog every other day. I guess I've known that for awhile, but this is so relaxing. It's hard to make the change.

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