Over the years of parenting 3 boys many types of issues have come up. During the little years we worked on sharing, potty training and not biting (harumphhh, middle kid...just sayin;). As they grew, so did their issues. Things like how to be a good friend and how to behave in public; basically just acting like a normal human being. During all of this, I will admit, I resorted to more than one type of trickery to get the job done. I'm not totally proud of this, but sometimes a mom's got to what a mom's got to do. ;) Here are a few of my favorite tricks that worked thru the years.
My very most favorite and probably the most effective trick? I call it "the manager". This little item got me thru more than a few nights of dining out with my rat pack. Before entering any eating establishment I would line the boys up, list out the expectations of the evening and then give them a friendly reminder about the manager. They knew that if they could not behave and sit at dinner like gentlemen then the manager of the restaurant would remove them from our table and they would spend the remainder of dinner in his or her office. After all, I would explain to them, I'm not the one acting like a heathen, therefore I will finish my meal. This tactic is especially effective at restaurants with wait staff as you can say that any person walking around waiting tables is the manager. As an added bonus, many of these establishments have a manager stop by each table during the course of the meal and ask, "Is everything OK here?" This question can be taken in many ways and has more than once stopped one of my little sugar pack flipping, spoon banging, food throwing rascals right in their naughty tracks. To this day when the manager stops by our table to check on us, all three of them will sit up a little straighter and any shenanigans going on will cease immediately. I'm sure this little trickery of mine will cause one or all of them some sort of anxiety about restaurants when they are grown up...they can tell their therapist alllll about it. I'm good with that, by then I'll be planted on a beach somewhere with a fruity drink and a good book. ;)
My second favorite form of child manipulation came to me one day while driving down the highway. Pure stroke of genius, this one is. The boys and I were on a trip to the big downtown library on this oh so wonderful day. There was, as usual, a LOT of bickering going on in the back seat. After about the 100th time of telling them to knock it off, I caught the On Star button out of the corner of my eye. Instantly I knew what had to be done, "If you boys don't stop fighting back there I'm going to push this button and they will come and get you straight from this car." Once that was out of my mouth, there was no turning back. At first they weren't too sure if I was telling the truth on this, it sounded a little far fetched, even to the 2 yr old. The older two didn't buy it for a second and immediately started back in with whatever the argument was about, I'm sure it was something earth shattering...not. ;) After a few minutes of that I reached right up there and punched that button. Three sets of eyes got real big and mouths clamped shut. And, guess what happened? The nice On Star lady came on over the radio speakers in the car and said, "Hello there Mrs. Crazy, what can I help you with today?" You have never seen three boys shrink so fast and so small in all your life. How I was able to answer her without busting out laughing is beyond me, but I just calmly said back, "Everything is fine, I must have hit that button on accident, so sorry." For the longest time afterwards I would only have to reach towards that little button and in an instant the car would become completely silent. Btw, that also worked to keep one little Houdini in his car seat. ;)
As the boys got older I opted for stupidity to get me thru some tough spots. "Mom, what does it mean when you stick your middle finger up at someone?" This one came at me when the oldest was just 8 years old and had seen an older kid at school do that to someone. "Hmm, I don't know, do you know?" When the answer to that was no I calmly said, "Well when you figure it out let me know!" This "I know nothing" gig also works well when a particular toy that might have had one too many lights and sounds for a mommy to remain sane turns up missing. "Mom, have you seen my toy?" A deer in the headlights look here and a quick, "Ummm, nope haven't seen it" will send the little tot away still in search of the precious (annoying) toy. They never need to know that I filed that toy in the "round file" the previous evening when everyone was night night. What they don't know won't hurt them right? And, it might just save a tiny piece of my sanity. I need to hold on to as many of those little pieces as possible lest I end up in the looney bin instead of on a beach some day. ;)
Nowadays, most of my "tricks" don't work. Everyone knows the on star button is for directions and no one is buying that manager business anymore. ;) Rats! Now just a simple honest and quick answer to any question is what they need. A clear line between expectation and consequences works with this older bunch, and I love that! Of course, a good kick in the pants is also necessary every now and then...they are boys. ;)
The wine of the day is The Slammer Syrah. When I was reminding the boys of these stories and we were all laughing about it at dinner the little one says, "I'm surprised you never told us the police would throw us in jail!" Ohh, ummm yeah, about that....;)
The W(h)ine Hour..
Every household has one…the whine hour. It’s those bewitching hours between approximately 5 and 8pm in the evening when the kids go crazy and moms across the world lose their minds completely. It doesn’t matter if you have babies, toddlers, kids, tweens, or teens; those hours of dinner/homework/bath time/ bedtime can just about do a momma in. What is a girl to do? It’s simple and brilliant actually, just slip in a little wine of your own! Now, I’m not suggesting anyone down a bottle of whiskey everyday between the hours of 5 and 8, in fact if you do that you will have a few whine hours of your own the next morning. Basically, a little wine during the whine hours will keep you out of the padded cell at the local cookoo house where people will walk by and peek in your little window and say things like “aww, poor mom has lost her marbles” and “hmmm, now that’s a crazy one right there, sits in there all day and hits herself over the head with a Barbie and a hotwheel”. Don’t smirk, it can happen.
So, enjoy the tales of my whine hour, and how I survive each and everyone of one of them with a sense of humor and a good bottle of wine! After all, the whine hour comes around every single day, a girl has to be prepared!