I am a creature of habit. There is no doubt about that; I have been this way for my entire life. I like a routine, I like steadiness and consistency, and I like to plan things over the course of months and years. I am very comfortable when I have some predictability in my life. Not necessarily every day is the same predictability, but some semblance with which I can plan. The lack of that does weird things to me; I'm grumpy and out of sorts, I'm irritable and impatient, and I'm tending to take it out on the children.
It doesn't help that, because they are half of my genetic code, they are wired similarly. The Boy values that structure. Little Bear perhaps moreso, because of his strong need for constant motion. They love their toys, they love the outside of Grandma and Grandpa's home, and they love us. They've just been getting bored out of their minds very quickly. When they get bored, they start picking fights with each other and with us. Those with siblings know those fights: both children are contentedly playing with toys. One kid looks over at the other, walks over, and takes the toy away and bops their sibling on the dome. Little Bear doesn't even need toys. Particularly at the kitchen table, he'll walk up to The Boy and just start giving him open-handed slaps to the noggin.
After the fiftieth recurrence in a given day (this would be around 10:30am), I've just about had it with those two children. I haven't been as nice as I've wanted to be, and I've been more likely to forcibly remove them from a room or unilaterally take toys away or remove privileges such as stories or iPad use. We've had a short fuse when it's come to The Boy and going places, and we've left him home (with an adult) a couple of time in the last week. That's not how I want to deal with my sons: do what I say or you'll be punished. There's a better way.
I know that I've be overreacting about the whole "Me first! It's my turn to be first!" thing that The Boy does, which is SO not a big deal. Annoying, yes, but only actively bad when he tries to push past Little Bear on a stairwell. If you ignore it, it will go away. Same thing with the throwing of toys to keep them away from the sibling, or the "outside voice" shouting indoors. It's annoying, but it is hardly worth a punishment or losing ones temper.
I know that getting back on the work and school routine is going to help. We will all be a little happier to see each other and to be home, and going places with each other will return to being a special treat. I will see much less of my family, which stinks, but I know that I'll be happier building my life towards a new career path. I want to get back to proactive parenting and setting my children up for success, not the reactive parenting I've been doing.
On an unrelated note, someone vandalized the blue slide at the blue slide park. It's this neat concrete slide built into the hillside, and when you get a piece of cardboard or something similar on the slide, you really build up a nice head of steam. The kids love it, and going to that park is their favorite activity. Someone painted it red, and badly. I'm very depressed about that.
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