While rinsing off the lunch dishes, Jovie said, “Today, my teacher kept asking me to use the magic word…” (long pause) “…Hey Mom, what is the magic word?”
Not exactly sure if I should giggle or feel like an epic failure, I put the last dirty fork into the dishwasher and closed the door.
I decided to reveal the universe’s secret and tell her the magic word. She looked disheartened, as if she was expecting something more elaborate like Abra-ca-da-bra! while a unicorn pranced around our kitchen throwing confetti and wishing everyone a happy birthday.
Thinking that that would be pretty interesting, not to mention motivational, I made a mental note to hunker down on the manners-training, right away.
I kissed Jovie and shooed her off to bed for her afternoon nap.
When the kiddos slowly meandered out into the living room a couple hours later with disheveled hair and rosy cheeks they had no idea what was waiting for them…
Thats right… Manners Training 101.
I don’t know why I do this, or if I’m the only mom who does. But if I get something stuck in my craw I get a hankering to remove it. A ‘let’s just fix this right here, right now‘ mentality.
“You don’t know know what a pattern is? Ok Honey, grab those blocks and a box of noodles and let’s tackle it.”
I know it’s not realistic goal setting and probably not the best method of teaching, but in my mind, I’m convinced if I don’t start now I’ll never get around to it.
So I start…
I sit the kids down on the couch with their water cups and a few apple slices. I jump-start our manners crash course by throwing out some meaningful vocabulary like ‘courteous’ and ‘thoughtful’, along with a quick explanation of differentiating between the words ‘unselfish’ and ‘selfish’.
They watch their manner-crazed mother with wide eyes and apple-chomping mouths. They are quiet.
The get-er-done mommy in me feels somewhat accomplished at the rich content I am filling their little minds with, while the down-to-earth mother in me is thinking I should just check out a picture book about social etiquette on our next library trip.
Beginning to sense a lack of assimilation and participation, and feeling somewhat deflated…I concluded our three-minute crash course.
The kids hop down and immediately ask to play with Mad Matter. In a last ditch-effort to raise my children into wholesome and polite citizens this afternoon, I reply, “May I PLEASE play with Mad Matter?”
I quickly move onto other affairs of lesser importance like cleaning up chewed apple pieces off the couch and opening and closing the refrigerator door twenty times to decide what to make for dinner.
By the end of dinner I had completely moved on from our manners course. (Not that it didn’t matter anymore, but I had resigned to spread out the wealth of propriety over the course of their childhood rather than an afternoon.)
As I cleared the table Jovie so sweetly said, “Mom, thank you for making dinner. That was so unselfish of you!” To which our two-year old added, “Yeah Mom, you selfish!!!”
Baby steps, Mommas. Baby steps. 😉 <3
Have you ever held a ‘less than successful’ crash- course for your kids?
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