Monday, July 23, 2007
Rice: Good for Gratitude
I left my camera at a friend's house (after a tea party) and since I hate blogging without pictures, here is one of my three children, right after Esther's birth. This is before they became spoiled brats. Did I just call my children brats? Why yes. Yes I did. See how sweet they are here? Little Esther was content to nurse her days away and Marcus thought we were heroes just for sharing our french fries. Weston was always a bit of a whiner, but lately, oh my! Lately it has snowballed into something very unpretty.
If I give them a cookie, Weston will cry, and call me a liar, because he will say that I did, in fact, promise him ten cookies. Which is completely untrue. Esther will cry because her cookie only has three billion chocolate chips and she wanted fifteen gazillion chocolate chips. Marcus will pout because...well, actually, I have no idea why Marcus will pout. He has been in a constant state of poutiness lately.
If I fix their favorite dinner of grilled cheese sandwiches with granny smith apples, mayo, and green olives (don't mock it, they LOVE it), Weston will complain that his has a brown spot on it, Marcus will cry because I only had enough to give him four full sandwiches, and Esther will suddenly decide she hates bread.
If I take them to the park, they will throw a fit because I ask them to put on their shoes, because we have to walk, and because I didn't know they wanted to go to THAT OTHER PARK.
If I take them swimming, the sun will be to hot, or they will be too cold, or we will stay too long, or we will not stay long enough.
If I bake them a surprise cake, someone will cry because they wanted lemon, not chocolate.
And on and on and on to kingdom come. Do I sound as if I am complaining? My dears, I don't know any other tone of voice. I have been surrounded by whining and complaining for so long, I have forgotten how to converse any other way.
BUT. But, I found a solution. It hit me one night just like a lighbulb turning on and illuminating the deep recesses of the parenting brain I had shut off. We were in the van listening to Weston and Esther whine because we were not going to the restaraunt THEY wanted to go to (which happened to be two different ones). Marcus did not whine. Rather, he gave this deep sigh and rolled his eyes. the sigh ended with a deep disgusted grunt.
Something inside of me snapped. I am not sure when the last time I have heard my children say thank you, but I can gaurantee you it was so long ago that we might as well consider that they never said it. I told them, "you have this weekend to learn gratitude because by Monday, if you haven't learned it, I am going to start feeding you rice with every meal. I am going to feed it to you until you will bow down in gratitude to just see a boiled egg.
Let me just say that their response was... Well, I don't know how to describe it. Bad. We are talking screaming. And kicking. More screaming. Calling us names. Remember now, that I have only threatened this course of action. I look at Dustan, he looks at me. The looks says, "What did we do wrong? How did we raise these monsters?"
And so we went home. We did not go to any restaraunt at all. We had rice. No one said thank you. So we had rice at dinner. Weston gave me a very feeble "Thank you for the rice, mommy." By breakfast, Marcus, who can't stand rice at all, and who has now missed two meals, tells me that he "will be grateful for whatever I feed him." I say, "Good, cause we are having shoes." Marcus says, "Thank you for the shoes mommy."
I feed them all their favorite cereal. I recieve three hearty thank yous and some help in cleaning the kitchen. These children do NOT want another meal of rice.
But I have the container sitting in the middle of the counter- just in case. I think the visual reminder will be enough.