Tuesday, January 20, 2009

All for one and one for all

Good morning! Would it surprise you if I told you it has been busy around the Dungan household? Of course not! And so it has. The twerplets are doing great. Ainsley has just about completely healed from "chipmunk-asitus." Her cheek has shrunk down to normal size and I can look at her full on without wincing. All of them had a very active weekend and holiday. Everyday brought good weather and an opportunity for them to get outside and shake all of that energy off.

On Sunday I took them out to the park to get them out of the house so Lynley could clean. Of course I also wanted to see how much I could wear them out. I took them to a new park that seemed to have miles of wooden play equipment. This was perfect. We played follow the leader through the make-shift obstacle course we created. You know - across the balance beam, down the slide, up the stairs, into the tunnel, over the bridge, up the net, down the pole, and so on. We (yes, I said we) must have run for a solid 45 minutes before taking a break. They had a blast. Ainsley was a little slow, more due to her short legs and the fact that she could not reach some of the obstacles. But, she followed us every step of the way. By the end they were all dying for a drink of water and a "rest." Success! And I had them completely worn out before lunch time.

Now, the thing you may not know is that my kids were perfect while we were playing. There was not a single argument. Not one made glance in another's direction. The were the three little musketeers. However, once I got them back into the car the wining started.

"I don't want water. I want juice."
"Graham is touching me"
"Sydney gave me a dirty look."

Blah, blah, blah...

It did not take long before I had it. I began by punishing the tattlers and then followed by punishing everyone when even a single twerp misbehaved. Believe it or not, this works for me. I have found that punishing one simply does not do the trick. The problem with this is that, when one tattles on another, punishing either of them simply does not work. As soon as either of them is out of timeout they are back to pushing the other's buttons or tattling. You see, when you only punish one of them the other one will continue to peck at the other. Eventually this causes another fight. The problem seems to be that the one that is punished holds all of that resentment in until they get out of timeout. Then it just flows. If everyone is punished this resentment seems to go away. Sure, they try to blame one another, but I make it clear that everyone is at fault. I have found that the moment someone tattles, if I punish the entire group it curbs the behavior.

Regardless, it did not take long on our ride home for everyone to end up in a quiet timeout. I even got to listen to some "Fundraising in a down economy" podcasts. I did not necessarily enjoy it but it did reaffirm many of my beliefs about fundraising. And, I got to do it with three very quiet children in the back of the car. I just hope they weren't listening to closely to the fundraising podcast. Otherwise, I have a feeling they will be making a plea for their toy fund in the very near future.

Well, I had best be off. A mountain of work sits before me.

Purpose abounds.

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