Okay, I guess I’ll get on the New Year’s resolution bandwagon. Since the Islamic New Year is here as well, I’ll kill two resolution days with one resolution.
I resolve to keep my temper with my kids. I do pretty well. I like to think I’m a loving, engaged Mommy who doesn’t pop off at any little infraction. Overall, my kids are really great. My oldest, well, I haven’t really had to chastise him for anything more than once or twice a year, mashAllah. He’s an easygoing kid. My “Irish twins”, Yusef and Yasin, four and three, get along together pretty well. They certainly have their moments, though. Yusef, the older, tends to cry at the drop of a hat when he has to a) wait on breakfast b) wait on lunch c) wait on snack d) stop watching cartoons, or sometimes just when his little brother looks at him funny. I used to get all angry at his unreasonable crying and I would yell at him, but I realized that wasn’t working and I really hated myself afterwards. I mean, that cute little face looking up at me, chin quivering as he tried to hold back the tears. C’mon, who can yell at a kid like that and not feel like heel? The problem is, you can’t just throw in the towel and let them get away with unacceptable behavior.
This morning, Yusef had a meltdown because I only gave him one piece of toast and jelly. Now, mind you, that was just an appetizer to hold him until the main breakfast, pancakes and (beef) sausage, was ready. He wanted more toast and I told him no and he ran down the hall crying as if he were Oliver Twist and I had refused his heartrending “Please suh, I want some more”. Instead of stomping down the hall in pursuit, I simply told him in a reasonable but firm tone of voice that he had to stop crying or he would not be able to join us for breakfast. Then I went back to cooking.
Just before breakfast was ready, Yasin made a sneak attack and smacked Yusef, who had miraculously stopped crying and who had edged back into the kitchen to play with the refrigerator magnets. Yusef started crying and I again firmly and calmly made Yasin leave the room and told him he could not eat with us if he hit his brother. He of course ran down the hall crying, but came back just as the pancakes were ready, tears already abated. I made him apologize, then put breakfast on the table and enjoyed a normal meal. Wow, how’d that happen?
Now, if I can get the baby to stop crying every time I put her down, I’ll be in business….