As I enter the last few days of this 30-day-challenge, I realize that today’s challenge is one of the most important ones thus far.If you’ve read my earlier challenges, you would see me use words like “frustrated and “blood boiling.” I’ve successfully limited my yelling.
My kids could not understand the concept of a time capsule no matter how many times I explained it, so we watched a few videos on YouTube. In one, a man used a metal detector to find his time capsule, a re-purposed Dukes of Hazard lunchbox. When he finally opened it some twenty years later, with his young daughter along for the adventure, he discovered a decomposed Yankees hat, a photo where his image had been washed out, and some wet baseball cards.
I thought today’s challenge calls for a poem, something I rarely do. Although my heart is in it, after more interruptions from my kids than I care to count, I’ve decided to abandon it.
The first week of camp has exhausted my kids. My son fell asleep a full hour before his bedtime yesterday. This evening, I read them a story (Little House), tucked them, and came downstairs. For almost two hours, I’ve been beckoned back upstairs. There’s no more toilet paper, someone got pee pee on the floor, they’re sneaking into each other’s rooms and bothering each other, this one got hurt. It shouldn’t suprise you that I’ve broken a few of my own rules: I’ve threatened (points subtracted from the reward chart), yelled, and even “because I said so” slipped off the tongue.
But now, it’s time to be grateful. I don’t often verbalize what I’m grateful for, and I don’t think I’m alone in that.
Three weeks into this 30-day challenge, I can confidently say it’s working for me. My kids have noticed the change in my attitude and the entire tone of our household has evolved. I will reflect more on this at the very end but at this moment in time, I deem the 30-day-challenge a success.
This morning, I tried to get some quiet time.
As anticipated, we spent very little time at home today. As I cooked dinner, I called my kids up to watch my favorite childhood show, “Little House on the Prairie.” It took all my willpower not to join them on the couch; this was after all episode 1, season 1. I wasn’t sure that my son would stay interested but the show featured horses, wolves, and building houses; when I set the table, both of them insisted that I leave it on. I had given them no information about the show other than it took place about 150 years ago.
Last week, my son rediscovered our neglected reward chart on my iPhone. The app has an easy set-up which allows you to individualize chores and behaviors for each child, as well as rewards. You can use pre-selected chores and rewards or write your own. You can also allocate the payout amount. For example, after 30 stars, we have a game night.
Right before bedtime, I explained the challenge of the day to the kids: that I would talk about someone special to me whom they’ve never met. I didn’t focus on the reason why they had never met him, that he had died almost thirty years ago. I wasn’t in the mood for all the questions that accompany the word “death” and really, this challenge was more about celebrating his life than anything else.