Our after-school experience yesterday was hairy.
After day two, the shine of going back to school was wearing off.
We've been sending the children to school on the bus so that Scarlett can "learn" how to ride the bus, because that's how they have to come home whenever school is closed early because of inclement weather.
However, after just one day, I had not been pleased with the attitude that I heard coming from my little darlings, and after day two they came off the bus laughing like hyenas, and telling stories about things that went on during the ride that I just wasn't thrilled with.
They were tired, overwhelmed, overstimulated, and unable to remedy the situation on their own. I could tell that it was time for me to do my job...time to "be the Mom."
NO you cannot run off and play with friends as soon as you step off the bus, roaming the neighborhood like a pack of wild animals. YES you will sit at the table and eat your food (and keep your feet off the table), and just in case you didn't realize it, dinnertime is a time to talk and share and ask questions not just play "the skinny dog" and eat and run.
I could finally sympathize with the Mother in "Where the Wild Things Are," and picture just how she got into the situation that she did with her little boy.
I recognized that I was in a pivotal Mothering moment...that what I did and said, and what rules I enforced in that moment were going to have big consequences for our little family.
I realized in that moment why it was so important that I was here for them in their little hour of need...to be the anchor that they so desperately required. All of the other moments were special, but this one was a window of opportunity not to be missed.
So, I started by declaring that our time of taking the bus was over...We'd go back to parent pick-up starting tomorrow.
Then I designated the full dinner hour to be family time.
Then I tacked on that they needed to start doing their nightly chore... This news was welcomed by a healthy dose of weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, especially by Guy who had to help me do the dishes.
Daddy was welcomed home to quite a theatrical display, but amid the chaos, I felt more in control than at any other moment in the past two days, because I knew that I was doing what what right for our family.
And just when Guy thought he was going to finally be released back into the wild, I remembered that we needed to start scheduling in 20 minutes of reading every night as required by their teachers...so we'd best start tonight!
That's about when Guy truly lost it! And Scarlett wasn't too thrilled either. Steve let me know that he really needed to go outside and mow the lawn, but I told him that helping Guy calm down right now was more important than the grass, so he stayed and tried to soothe the beast.
I sat reading with Scarlett and Autumn tucked under my arms and Guy sat across the room crying and yelling, "I don't want to listen," for about 15 of the 20 minutes. I wondered why I even bothered.
Finally, I let them loose. Scarlett ran upstairs to change out of her school clothes so she could ride her bike. She scurried back down the stairs, but paused for a moment to say, "Mommy, I'm so happy! I love when you read to me. You are the best reader in the whole world!!" And off she ran.
And then I knew why I bothered...why all Moms bother to take the hard road. Because if I had just sent them out to play, it would have been easier, but I would have missed that sweet time and even sweeter feedback.
After seeing that his friends were gone now or eating dinner, Guy came back inside. I asked him if he wanted to play Uno with me, and he did. I could see his irritable, growling outer shell melting away with each game we played, and eventually he returned to his sweet Guy-like self.
We also rode bikes together and joined the neighbors for birthday cake, and flew Daddy's remote control helicopter together before bed. As Guy said our family prayer last night, he tacked on "And thank you for Mom and Dad," something he doesn't normally say.
From now on I can answer confidently that I know just where the wild things are...they are right where they should be...in my arms, in my home, and around our dinner table.
(These photos were taken this morning as we had a nice relaxing time together at home before I drove them to school...breathing a sigh of relief for all of us, I think!)
OK - Time to pick a winner of the Justin Cash Beautiful World CD!
Thanks to everyone who entered. I think blogger was having commenting trouble on Monday, so thanks for persevering!
The winner is: LISA SCHILLING!~ Congratulations!!
Just email me your mailing address, so you can get your CD!
As for the rest of you, I know you're all big fans now of Justin's music, so thanks for listening and reading!