children, humor, kids, life in pictures, mommyhood, motherhood, parenting

The Next Level

Among close friends and family I am considered a bit of a drill sergeant when it comes to discipline. My decisions on structure and punishment are based on the temperaments of my boys.  They are extremely assertive, directive, confident and obstinately stubborn.  If I don’t establish my role as an authority figure now, where will I be in five years?  How about ten?

Betty Ford Center, anyone?

Disciplining is not fun.  A lot of the rules I make are very unpopular.

For the most part my diligence to rules and consequences has paid off.  It’s been exhausting and even harrowing at times, but it seems to have set a good foundation for my boys.

I need to take it to the next level.  Full Speed and T.Puzzle follow rules fairly well.  It’s their respect of authority that needs some tweaking.  They apparently did not get them memo that they are children. Therefore other adults, including myself, are not their peers.

To achieve a stronger sense of authority with my boys I put some new rules in place.

They are pretty simple really.  If Full Speed gives me what we refer to as a ‘stinky face’ he goes to bed before little T.Puzzle.


Stinky Face in the house!


If little T.Puzzle tells me ‘no!’ to any of my requests throughout the day, he loses the privilege of wearing his beloved crocs for a day.

The real kickers are my rules about sibling expectations.  Anyone who comes to me to complain or report of a fight gets sent to their room, as well as their brother,  for five minutes.  It doesn’t matter who starts it, who does what or who tells on whom.  Both boys are sent off with no trial and no questions.  If this happens three times in one day they lose their privilege of a show and and a treat.

Let me tell you, Full Speed is not happy.  He has already informed me that my new rules are ‘too hard!’ and ‘that he doesn’t want to be in this family anymore’.

One of the most challenging tenets of motherhood is to learn that it’s not my job to make my kids happy.  It’s to make them be responsible for themselves and their actions.

Wish me luck!  Now that I’ve publicly posted this for all two of you to read, I guess I have to stick to my guns.  Anyone happen to have that Betty Ford number on hand by the way?


Rules are hard. First time-out of the day for a sibling infraction. It was only 7 a.m.



Full Speed rejoices in this a.m. time-out.


children, humor, life in pictures, mommyhood

The Reward System

My sister came across an interesting article in the June/July issue of Disney’s ‘Family Fun’ magazine. It’s about a reward system to motivate your kids to help out around the house. I liked the idea so much I decided to give it a try. I’ve tweaked it considerably so it fits more for a five and three year old. I made our list of rules very broad so it could fit our changing needs of the day.

My version is if you follow the listed rules, you earn a pebble that goes in your marked jar. When the jar is filled you can have a reward of your choosing within reason of course.

When I picked up the boys from school I tried to explain the concept and the list of rules. Of course Full Speed had to throw his two cents in.

“So you’re saying that if I follow the rules, I get a pebble?”

“Yes, Full Speed, it’s that simple. What do you think some of the rules should be?” I ask.

Full Speed launches into a rote recitation of our rules of the bathtub: no splashing, no throwing toys, no hitting your brother, etc.

“You sort of have the idea but what are some rules for around the house because bathtub rules won’t really work for that,” I say.

“Oh, well there’s be a good listener, respect Mom and Dad, eat your food and don’t put your brother’s head under the couch.”

Well said.

children, mommyhood

Baby Steps

The boys play trains together. This lasts peaceably for a whole five minutes.

Mad Dog was working late and to motivate the boys to have good behavior through the evening, I said that we could watch America’s Funniest Home Videos together. Before we headed up to bathtime they went through the rules. No hitting, no biting, no tackling, no splashing, no throwing, no disrespectful talk and at the end of the list they both say, “no nothing (little T.Puzzle says ‘no nuffing’) or you go to bed without a treat or a show”. That’s when I came up with my future book on discipline called ‘The No Nuffing Approach to Making Your Children Behave’.

We got through bathtime, treat time and teeth-brushing and ‘snuggled’ up on the couch together. I use the term ‘snuggle’ lightly because I always end up injured. First someone inadvertently elbows me in the rib-cage, then someone else ‘sits’ on my lap with such force, I almost lose my breath and finally, someone always, always drops a hotwheels on my foot (ouch!).

It’s a given that my boys will be less than gentle but they are learning. At least now they apologize when they unintentionally inflict pain upon me.

Baby steps, right?