Thursday, September 22, 2011

Speaking in Multiple Choice

When the kids get off the bus after school I am anxiously waiting for them.  With a smile and open arms, I wait for my precious babes to come home.  And they excitedly jump off the bus and run right past me.

They drop their backpacks on the floor and head for the kitchen, grunting about how they want a snack. And then go in search of a screen, computer or tv, either will do nicely in their opinion.

"How was your day?  What did you learn? Did anything great happen? Do you feel smarter? Are you happy?"  Yup, those are the questions I eagerly ask my 9, 7 and 5 year old children.

They grunt a little more.

I stand holding their snack with my frozen smile on my face, waiting.  Waiting to hear all the glorious details about elementary school.  
They go about their business like a group of cool teenagers in a John Hughes movie.  And I am the Joan Cusak character in Hughes' "Sixteen Candles"---you know the one, the awkward girl at the dance with the brace and the drinking fountain.

(It's not the drinking fountain clip, but you get the idea.)

But today I found a way to reach my little Breakfast Club of oddballs.  I asked this very intriguing question, "Anybody get in trouble today?"  They made eye contact with me.  Lucy raised her eyebrows and pursed her lips, like she was deciding to talk about her trouble or someone else's.  They started talking.  

Sure it was about how so-and-so cut in line and another so-and-so said a swear word, but they were engaging.  I felt like a very good mother listening to them tattle on other kids.

Then my oldest began snapping at everyone and stomping around the house.  And once again I became the needy nerd and the frozen smile returned.  "What's wrong honey?" I asked.  


Then I got annoyed and snapped back.  But all the snapping led to another breakthrough.  He didn't have the words to express how he felt so I gave them to him.  In multiple choice form.

"Ok, A. You had a bad day and you are really grumpy, and sorry for taking it out on us; B.You don't know why you are being grumpy and you are sorry for taking it out on us; or C. You are mad at us and want to go to bed; or D. None of the above.  Pick one," I told him in a determined, decisive, mama's sick of the attitude voice.

"B," he said quietly. 

"Ok, now, which one was that?" I asked confused.  It almost worked perfectly.  But he felt better and again I felt like I was in control of the situation, sort of. At least for a few minutes, until the homework battles started with my daughter.  I have no good ending to that scenario.

I think I am going to try the multiple choice style of communication with my husband.  I am pretty sure he will love that.  
"Honey, ok, A. You understand completely how I feel and you are sorry for anything you might have said that hurt my feelings; B. You will never really be able to understand how I am feeling, but you respect that I might get emotional about certain things and you are sorry for anything you may have said that hurt my feelings; or C. You are just plain sorry for anything you said that may have hurt my feelings; or D. All of the above."

Ahh yes, he will love this game.

And just for fun, "The Breakfast Club" dance.  Didn't everyone re-enact this?

On a blog note, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for reading.  If you are like me and don't like change, you may not be so happy with Facebook.  If you are one of those people taking a break from Facebook (I saw a lot of angry status updates that impulsively said as much), you can follow this blog by signing up via email or becoming a follower.  

Also just wanted to point out that I updated a couple of pages including the About page and Gluten Can Suck It page.  And check out the new Videos page that has all the mini-movies that have been seen in previous posts.  And finally, just wanted to make sure you also check out the OBSESSED WITH list on the sidebar of the blog, some pretty fun finds.

Again, thanks for reading this wee little blog.

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