It’s 7:48 pm on a cold and dreary winter’s night (Irish calendar be damned, I refuse to accept that Spring begins on February 1st!). The minis have me pinned on the bed, as they attempt to tickle me. Bedtime was supposed to be 7:30. Like most other nights, I’m losing them. Discipline.It’s a bloody hard nut to crack, one I am in no danger of cracking soon. Especially not with my two lunatics but I guess in this regard they are like most small kids.
Can that thing go into my mouth?
Does my finger fit in there?
What would happen if this went all over the floor?
What would it feel like if I jumped off this table?
Children are curious,it’s only natural. Why would mine be any different? They also possess boundless,bordering on the super human,amounts of energy. How does one discipline that?How do you curb the magic they find in every mundane scenario while teaching them right from wrong?
There’s part of me that just wants to sit back and let the minis run wild. Fuck normal. Let them dance naked in the bedroom, flinging their nappies in the air like they just don’t care. Then I come back to living in the real world. They have to learn how to function in society and I have to give them the tools to do so. (Jesus, they’re screwed really!!)
I can be very slow to discipline Mini in particular. Like when she has climbed up on the couch and is dancing in the window sill.Not only is it an incredibly cute scene to witness but the inner voice inside my head takes immense pleasure in yelling
“Fuck you health care professional ,look at her now!” in reference to the nurse who told us there was a good chance Mini would not walk until the age of 4. Oh how my inner voice loves to tell stuffy old HSE workers to perform acts that are anatomically impossible on themselves.
I love that Mini is so active and strong and full of curiosity for the world around her.I’m less enamoured with the fact that she seems to have no boundaries. She will never be the child who sits patiently by the car door while I buckle her sister in first. I learned that the hard way!It only takes a few seconds and she can be gone from sight. Wandering free is one of her favourite things to do. I gather from speaking to other parents of kids with Down Syndrome that is a common extra 21st chromosome thing. Like what happened one morning outside our local soft play centre. In the time it took me to buckle Mini Mini in, her older sister had taken off and was happily skipping down the middle of the main road. Thankfully, it was a Sunday morning and I managed to get to her before a car could! She of course was full of giggles when I caught up to her. Life is one big game when you’re three. Unfortunately, as adults we know otherwise and she needs to learn things that will help keep her from harm.
Disciplining kids with a learning disability comes with its own difficulties such as not knowing exactly how much of my instructions/cajoling/begging she really understands. The Frenchman is convinced she knows a lot more than she lets on. If that’s true, then she can be rather bold. Like last Thursday for instance, when I asked her to mind the sugar bowl only to have her lock eyes with me as she slowly and seemingly very deliberately pushed it off the table and onto the kitchen floor where it shattered. I’m pretty sure she bloody well understood exactly what she was doing there. Unless that is, “mind” has acquired some kind of new slang meaning in the playground and actually means “push”. I’m so not down with the kids anymore.
We have tried time outs,gentle (and unfortunately not so gentle) admonishments and punishments such as taking away a toy or restricting TV. Nothing really works. The only thing I can do is reinforce the good behaviour and remain calm when she is naughty.It is not really working so well, as patience is one virtue I have not been blessed with but I have to persevere. I ‘m also trying to get out of the habit of saying she was naughty, but to say her actions were. The French don’t have a word for naughty or bold. To them,that signifies that the child is bold,rather than their actions which makes sense.To discourage bold behaviour they make their kids aware of their actions and they use the charming word betise , which are silly behaviours. Mini is currently la reine des betises or the queen of silliness. She’s a work in progress! In case you were wondering,French doesn’t have a translation for “good girl” either. They use bravo or well done.
It’s all in the language we use when it comes to disciplining our kids isn’t it?I want my two to be happy, healthy and well adjusted human beings. I just don’t know how I’m going to get them there a lot of the time!
Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s 8:30 and I have some hyperactive kiddies to peel off the bed room ceiling. Bedtime fight round 4 commencing in 3,2,1…Go!