We have had quite a day around here. LOTS of attitude from Em. This morning, I told the girls they could come with me to take the dog for a walk - always a big treat, since I try to walk before they get up most days.
First, they wanted to ride their bikes. Then, they decided that their scooters were a better idea, because they haven't done a lot of bike riding, and going down hills can be scary when you're not confident in your braking ability. I told them it was fine, but there would be no whining or complaining, and they were responsible for their scooters - Mom was not going to be pushing them home.
It went pretty well for about two-thirds of the way - then Emma just didn't seem to be able to help herself and started complaining of being thirsty, hot and tired. I told her that when I start feeling crabby, I think about all the things I have to be thankful for, like two healthy daughters who are able to walk and run and play so that they can join me on walks on beautiful, sunny days like today. She didn't "feel" like trying to change her attitude, but she did stop complaining for the most part. I took them home, gave them water to drink and they rested while I had a shower.
After lunch, a friend needed some help while painting, so we went over to her house. It's less than 2 blocks away, so I walked and the girls decided to ride their scooters - until Abbie decided to ride her bike, instead. That was fine until we were about halfway there, when Emma decided that she wanted her bike, too, and we should turn around and go back for it. Umm - no. So, she informed that she hated her scooter and would never ride it again. I told her I would be happy to get rid of it for her, along with anything else she decided to complain about today.
They were pretty good while we visited, and she did fine on the way home. However, once we got home it was a different story. They were riding bikes in the driveway while I got dinner ready, and they asked me to move the car out of the garage, like we had done yeseterday. I said no, because dinner was almost ready and then it would be time to get ready for bed. She proceeded to throw a fit, so she received a spanking and then we practiced appropriate responses 5 times before she was allowed to go back out. She continued with her bad attitude when her sister asked whether I was going to move the car, so I told them it was time to come inside. She proceeded to yell at me, so I sent her to her room, where she ate dinner and now awaits me to come tell her when she can get ready for bed. She has been crying ever since, because she does not like to be alone - which would, after all, be the point of her eating alone in her room. I think she gets it.
This is so hard. Did anyone else know how hard it was going to be when they signed up to become parents? This week has been much the same every day. Emma does not want to do her schoolwork, and questions and argues with me about every task. When she's not being contentious, she is watching her sister work, in case Abbie might need some of her expert advice. In the amount of time she spends complaining and not working, she could finish her work for the week. She's only in first grade! Apparently I have not been responding strongly enough, in my attempts not to yell at her, because she seems to think she can behave horribly all the time. We didn't even *get* to school today. I have news for the dear child - we are NOT going to continue this way.
Tonight, while she is in the bath, I am going to take all the toys out of the room that Bean and Squinky share. I forsee the Bean spending a great deal of time in there in the near future, and I need to make sure she will not enjoy it. Sigh. Why, oh why, can't she see that this behavior will get her nowhere? I suppose, like her mother, she will have to learn this lesson the hard way.
Our current Bible memory work:
Do everything without grumbling or arguing. Then you will be the pure and innocent children of God. You live among people who are crooked and evil, but you must not do anything that they can say is wrong. Try to shine as lights among the people of this world...
Philippians 2:14-16, CEV