Admit it, we all do it, tag our children with personality traits before they are even old enough to have personality traits.
Jack - clean, structured, precise, needy, helpful, tender hearted, wants to please, momma's boy; the serious one.
Duke - messy, if there is something that can get on him, it does, full out all the time, loud, big loving, daredevil, no fear; the funny one.
Duke wins tonite.
It's not a suprise to those that know us well, we discipline our children. We aren't perfect parents but we believe in a parenting path which involves more than time-out. I promise we aren't some crazed, strict mom and dad whose kids will show up on Maury Povich (is he still on?) 15 years from now telling their story of spending hours in a closet with no food, no water, no light for a week. We just believe that in order to change certain behaviors at this age, it can require more than discussion.
We probably started this parenting path a little late with Jack, but at this point, the times we need to visit Mommy and Daddy's room are pretty few and far between. He understands what the limits are, and really as much of a straight and narrow kid as he is naturally, grace is used successfully much more often. Except when he decides he's big enough to go to the lake on his own - then the wooden spoon reappears for a brief moment (understandably, what's worse, a pop on the bottom or him drowning?).
Duke benefitted from Jack's learning curve. Essentially he was trained in the early years that if you didn't listen to Mommy and Daddy there were consequences. So by default, he usually follows the path of the straight and narrow within one warning. "Duke, we don't ... or you will get a pop on the bottom." 'nuff said. But there is one small behavior we are working on, which brings me to tonight.
I have boys, I realize this and I give a lot of room for consideration. I do not expect them to sit at a table and color for an hour undisturbed. They are active. They need to exert their energy. No problem here. But, I have my limits. Spitting is one of them. And it seems to be one of Duke's weaknesses.
In the past two weeks I've had two drives home (mind you that means 45 minutes) in which I have spent 42.10 of those minutes explaining that we "DO NOT SPIT". It doesn't help that his brother thinks it's hilarious when he does it and all but eggs him on in his comedy show. Well tonight I calmly explained when we got home, it meant Duke would need to go to Mommy's room when we arrived. They both know what this means, which brought about an entirely new discussion of how many pops on the bottom would be required (Side note - we pop 1 time and 1 time only for an infraction, that's it, the rest is their vivid imaginations at work. Some parents discipline in other ways, this is ours.).
"Duke, how many pops will you get?"
"No, you are going to get five."
"No, I don't want five, six!"
etc. I actually heard Duke say, "I get Two Five pops!" at one point. I'm now firmly convinced he hasn't counted past ten in preschool.
We arrived, and off to Mommy's room he went. He knew, didn't run off, moaned about it on the way, but knew he deserved what was coming. I just wasn't prepared.
Up to this point, when it's time for Duke to receive the consequences for undesired action he's been fairly accepting of the punishment, usually getting down from the chair he's sitting in during the discussion of what he'd done wrong, to turn around and accept his "pop". Tonight I had a moment in which I had to control myself...not for anger - come on, they are my kids! But from falling on the floor laughing.
The child walked into our room with a book he has grown quite attached to - Going on a Bear Hunt. We've read it several times for bedtime in the past two weeks. I do it with a British accent because at school they have a book on tape they play and the reader is British which makes it even more fun. "W'aahr goin on ah Beahr Hunt, W'aahr goin to catch ah BIG one, W'ahr not scaahd" The board book.
Tonite, when he realized as he sat in the chair and I talked with him about his behavior in the car and how he disobeyed me (multiple times) and continued to spit, that he would receive a consequence for that behavior, I noticed he was putting the book under his bottom as he sat in the chair. At first, I thought it strange, but when he pulled it out from under him and said "Pop the book" I could barely keep a straight face. He continued to try and position it down behind him as he stood up. The child isn't even 3!!! I can honestly say that since we instilled this parenting path, nearly 6 months ago, he's been popped maybe 5 times, tops.
So, I'm now convinced of one thing. He's not just The Funny One. He's actually The Smart One too!