Monday, March 8, 2010

It's a miracle!

I've noticed a trend in Abi lately that I am SO happy to report. No, it's not her clothes (though that's certainly a trend in itself), and it's not her latest food pattern. Hold on to your seats.

She... gets... ready... with... no......... DRAMA!

Let me give you some history. Please follow me on a little adventure I like to call "Mornings With the Drama Llama, starring Abi Windham."

7:20am- Me- "Abi, good morning! Time to get ready for school!"
7:25- Me- "Abi, I will not tell you again. Get up, please."
7:30- Me- "Abi, sitting up in the bed does not qualify you as up."
7:32- Me- "Why are you still wearing your pajamas?" Abi- "Because I hate this shirt." Me- "Then, you may pick another one." (keep in mind she wears uniforms to school so all of her shirts are identical.)
7:34- Me- "Seriously, Abi? GET A SHIRT ON."
7:36- crying erupts from her room. Abi- "I HATE THESE PANTS! I HATE THEM!" Me- "Get them on, Abi!" Abi- "They feel too squishy!" Me- "Pants cannot feel squishy. Get them on!" Abi- (crying hysterically)
7:38- Abi- (now gasping for air) My shoes feel like scorpions are in them!!!!!
7:40- Me- "Grab your lunch box, please." Abi- "I WANTED SCHOOL LUNCH!"
7:41- Abi- "This is the worst life ever!" Me- "GET IN THE VAN!"

As you can imagine, this scenario equaled a stressed out kindergartener and a frazzled mom. And we did this every day.

Until it hit me.

I have to get her where it hurts.

I was praying, and the thought came to me. I have to diffuse the situation. Not distract her on to other things. Not try to explain how she must make good choices because it's the right thing to do and I know what's best for her, and blah blah blah. In that moment, when her temper is high (and mine is even higher), I must throw water on the fire, so to speak. Here's how I did it.

7:20- Me- "Abi, please wake up and get dressed."
7:21- Abi- "I'm tired! And I don't want to get dressed." Me- "too bad, kiddo. It's time. Let's move!"
7:22- Abi- (whining) "I HATE THIS SHIRT!" Me- "Abi, you just lost coloring privileges until tomorrow morning. Get your shirt on."
7:24- (still crying from the coloring privileges thing) Abi- "My shoes feel too big! I hate them! (Crying) I hate my pants, I hate my hair." Me- "You just lost tv privileges until tomorrow morning. Please go get your lunch box."
7:27- Abi- (with a terrible whine to her voice) "When I get home today, I'm not speaking to you!" Me- "You won't talk to me like that. You just lost your Nintendo privileges until tomorrow morning. Please get in the van."
7:30- (silent ride to school) Me- (kiss her) Have a super day! I love you, and I believe in you!" Abi- "Hmph."

So, after a long night of no entertainment for Abigail, the following morning was something like this.

7:20- Me- "Abi, time to wake up!" Abi- "Yes, ma'am."

End of story.

Has every morning been seamless since this? Nope. Every once in a while, I have to pull the plug again. But those times are becoming more and more rare.

I have discovered that trying to make sense of the madness in those temper times only increases her frustration, and infuriates me because what I am trying to communicate to her is not being received. What DOES make sense to her is that her current poor attitude equals no fun after school. At all. I remember telling her, "Abi, I will do this every day until I train you to choose a good attitude." And I did.

So she did.

See, if we have a bad attitude at work, we get fired. If we are rude to people everytime we feel like being rude, we have no friends. If we give in to every emotion we feel, we are snapped back into reality when reality bites us in the rear. Parents, we have to diffuse the bomb in times like that. Without warning. Warning a child, "I'm going to take your tv privileges if you don't stop," shows them that we are willing to negotiate, which we are not... when it comes to attitude.

So, are you aware of an area that needs instant diffusion? Do it. It may take a couple of times to show them you mean business. But do it.

And then mean what you say.


  1. Love it!! I will be doing this too!

  2. Could we go back 30 years and start this over? I'm passing this on to Chrissy (and our 2 grandchildren). Thanks for sharing what God has given you. You are a blessing.