Ahh to be a fly on the wall of a home that hosts 3 little men and their dirty feet.
What a crazy past 2 weeks its been.
Thank you so much for all your suggestions.
All your advice was so helpful, and I took all of it to heart.
Sadly as the week worn on, it became even more evident just how miserable they were.
They, meaning Jack and Sully, became far more verbal about how much they couldn't stand school. How much they both wanted to go back to their old school, from last year.
Every morning at the bus stop, they'd walk down the street, with their head hanging between their shoulders. What cranky and Grumpy little Guses they were. This may sound harsh, but they reminded me of little babies, whining and fussing, due to gas bubbles.
I will admit as well, the verbal drama got old very fast.
So here's what we did:
Because of their antisocial behavior at the bus stop, and the way they'd putz around all sad while the other kids horsed around, I came up with "MOM MANIPULATION PLAN A."
One morning as they sat around the kitchen table whining into their cereal soggy flaked milk, I said;
"I have a great idea, guys. I know what we can do to make you really really happy, versus the way you have been feeling every morning; very very sad. I'm going to let you bring your blankets to the bus stop. So that when you get sad, instead of hiding your head inbetween your shoulders, you can suck your thumb and hold onto your blanket. It's always been so helpful to you in the past, and I have a feeling it will really make the both of you far more comfortable then you have been. Plus, like you said, you hate how loud everyone is on the bus, so you can also turn it into ear mufflers."
Yeap! BEE EYE EN GEE OH!
Oh my, they were so against it, that I bet if I had given them the option to either have Brussel sprouts and Lima beans for supper, or bring the blank to the bus stop, they'd have opted for the gag reflex of those nasty veggies. I knew that they would be soo against the blanket.
It became the perfect segway for my next comment:
"You don't want to bring your blankets? Why? I just thought since you're sooo sad, it would make you feel so much better!!" Of course their reply was, "no way Mom!! We'd look like babies if we brought them. We don't want them to see us with our blankets."
Cue the manipulation curtain please!
I said, "I'm confused, because the way that you are acting is very similar to how cute little babies act. They don't talk to anyone, all they do is whine when they don't like how full their diaper is, or how hungry their belly is. They stare off into space, not even able to move around. Almost like they're frozen in their little bodies, until they grow up to be big kids. Which is exactly the same way the two of you are acting, except you don't poop in your pants, nor do you wear diapers."
So we activated part 2 of the plan.
Which was to not discuss school with them. Unless they brought it up. When they came home, we didn't start in with the questions like, "How was it today?" "Was it better then yesterday?" "Did you get sad, eat alone, not like the bus, not play with anyone, not want to do work?"
Instead, like many of you suggested, we left it alone. We were not going to attribute to their already sullen attitude about school. When they did discuss school, we didn't bring up anything that would point their brains into the direction of, "I HATE SCHOOL!" Rather, we just listened. We didn't give advice, nor did we share our own back in the day experiences with them.
Wait, we were little once, too?
That worked some.
Their constant verbal banter began to turn Ben into their little Parrot that squawks drama.
I refuse to let their miserable week and a half at school make a hater out of Ben.
Ben loves school.
Matter of fact, he was pissed he couldn't go on Saturday. He even expressed his frustration to his teacher that Friday and argued with her over why he couldn't show up on Saturday. He's that big a fan.
He's a big fan of his bus, his bus driver, his school, and his teacher(s). He takes it all very seriously. But with enjoyment as well. Like how a young boy would act when seeing an inflatable bounce house for the first time, be given the okay to jump in it-alone-with an audience-without having to share it with anyone-for an unlimited amount of time. That kind of seriousness.
Therefore being that they were training their parrot brother to be as snarky as they were about school, we called a "meeting." We brought Jack and Sully upstairs to our bedroom, sat them down (Town Council Meeting Style) and told them that they don't have to like school, nor do they have to feel happy about it. But they were no longer allowed to express any bad things about school, in front of Ben.
We tried to explain to them that they were like thieves stealing excitement away from a huge toy store. From that moment on, if they wanted to cry about school, sulk about school, bitch about school, squawk about school, they had to do it in their room, between the two of them.
We did make sure to tell them that although we would no longer allow them to shoplift school outside of their bedroom world, we would always be more then willing to listen to them if they were upset about what something. Anything. If someone was mean to them, or something made them cry, we would be more then happy to try to make them feel better. If they wanted us to comfort them, it was our job to do so whenever they needed it. We made sure to let them know that we would not punish them for communicating to us what is bothering them. But we made it even clearer, that if they continued to walk around the house bitching about school, the thing called XBOX would suddenly turn into buhbye box.
They still weren't content with how things were going in school.
They still weren't happy.
However , we no longer had a parrot running around our home saying, "SQUAWK, school sucks, school sucks, I hate school, school sucks." Our little IEP Parrot was back to his normal verbal bouncy bammer self. Jack and Sully continued to complain about how much school was ruining their lives, privately, in their bedroom.
What happened next, changed everything.
What we did, what happened, will be shared in the next post.
Let's hope the next post will be the conclusion of this particular moment in parenthood.