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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

School Holidays: Getting Off To A Good Start

So we're on holiday at the moment AND it's school holidays. Of course that means that we're living in close quarters. 24/7. And occasionally, our patience will be tested.

My mum always said, "I could never understand why parents didn't like school holidays. I always enjoyed spending time with you girls."

Um, perhaps the madness had set in years ago? (Just kidding, Mum. Sort of.)

I love spending time with the kids, and I love that I don't have to run from place to place all the time and worry about school drop off and pick up and getting to after school activities on time. Really, I do. But it's also kinda challenging having all 3 boys home at once. Every day. Of every week. For a looooong time. Yes, indeedy, it is.

There was the time during one past school holidays that I took all three boys with me to purchase a new doona for my bed from Bed, Bath and Table. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, when I got there, all three boys were running around like wild monkeys who'd raided the bar fridge, and even the old stern look and "Will you just stand still for five minutes?!" wasn't making an impact.

As I stood at the counter to pay for my hastily chosen doona, attempting to ignore my 2 year old's tantrum, brought on because his mean mother had strapped him in to the stroller to avoid another mad dash out of the store, I turned my attention to the friendly sales assistant who asked, "How would you like to pay for that?" Without even giving it a second thought, I replied, "Do you accept small children?" Unfortunately, they did not, and so I left the store with my new doona tucked under my arm, a dent in my credit card, and 3 little terrors in tow. *Sigh*

My mother-in-law has always said, that at the start of the school holidays you have to lay down the law and let your kids know who's boss. Hubby is one of 3 boys too, and she recalls when they would instantly start fighting and wrestling and generally making noise and getting up to mischief at the beginning of each school holiday. As she explains, "I found if I yelled at them once, and laid down the ground rules right then and there, they'd be ok after that."

Well, we (quite unintentionally) had our moment for laying down the law today.

The boys were running around like crazy in the apartment we're renting on holiday. They were carrying on, screaming and slamming doors. Hubby and I have a big issue (as most parents do, I'm sure) with door slamming. Hubby's brother had the tip of his finger cut off by a slamming door (although, it was the wind that did it in that instance - fortunately, it was able to be sewn back on) and a friend of the 5yr old had the tip of his thumb sliced off recently during a session in the boys toilets at school, when one of the other kids closed a door on his thumb. We use these examples over and over again with our boys, and it just doesn't seem to get through.

After telling our boys a million times just this morning to STOP slamming the doors (I think they're doing it because the handles are lower and we have some sliding doors in the apartment we're staying in - a novelty) it finally happened. A door was shut on to the toddler's fingers.

He was fine and his fingers all ok, but he was obviously upset and crying at first, and we were afraid that the worst had happened. Hubby lost it. He doesn't yell often...at all. I yell FAR more often than what he does. But today, he really let it rip on them. They couldn't help but listen. (If Dad's upset, something REALLY must be up.)

Since then, peace has been restored and, hopefully (fingers crossed, and intact), a lesson learned.

Now, if it can just remain that way for the next 6 weeks or so, that'd be great.

How do you deal with the school holidays? Do you lay down the ground rules first? Go with the flow? Any advice on how to deal with over-excited boys?!!!

Until next time...


Thea said...

Oh my goodness! I've never heard of anyone's fingers being chopped off by slamming doors.....yikes!!
Car doors freak me out, caught my fingers a couple of times as a kid and even once as an adult (how clever of me). I do worry about those poor little kiddy fingers all the time.
Good on your hubby for laying down the law!

Jodie at Mummy Mayhem said...

I once closed my mum's thumb in the car door. She was motioning at me thru the window to open it, and I thought she was waving..so I waved back. I finally realised what had happened. It was awful, but she was really good about it from memory. I think if it was me, I would have lost it!

Tara@Waffling Along said...

Ah yes, the old fingers in the door trick. We played that card last week, with finger tips remaining intact, but it would seem their little memories are short, for again today there was slamming of doors *sigh*. I try laying down the laws with a stern look and a voice that could command a small army, but...well..I think they've heard it so often now that it's water off a ducks back, so instead I resort to that old faithful, bribing, oh and wine, wine definitely helps :)

Pam said...

Oh yes. Now there is a WHOLE other question for Teacher/Mums.
Yep keep strong and have fun....and have wine!
And speaking of fingers chopped off. Ask Nay@yardarm about fingers in our new Territory door. OUCH!