Ian and I had a rough morning yesterday. He is by nature a dawdler who can get lost in his imagination and spend much time there when he should be doing something else. After many bad mornings when he was a kindergartner, I thought I had figured out how to get him moving without having to nag, yell or cajole him. I give him plenty of time to get ready, (the minimum times are: 20 minutes for breakfast, 20 minutes for getting dressed, and 10 minutes for brushing his teeth) and occasionally check up on him without raising my voice or being negative. But yesterday things didn't go as planned. He had at least 30 minutes to get dressed, and despite all of my calm reminders and quick checks on him, he still couldn't get moving. I finally ended up threatening to take away some of his priveleges, and then he got angry with me because I couldn't help him that second to button up his shirt. (I was dressing his two little sisters at the time.) Of course by now I'm aggravated and worried we are going to be late to school. Ian is mad because I'm telling him it is his fault we are late, and things just went downhill from there. He couldn't find his hat and gloves I had laid out for him, he couldn't zip up his jacket, his bag wasn't zipped. On top of all this, I spilled Ian's milk leftover from his cereal when I opened the cupboard and a sugar shaker came out and landed in his bowl. I was in the midst of cleaning that up when I see Ian purposely crush two of the Froot Loops Zoe had spilled all over the floor. Instantly, I'm pissed off. Not only do I have enough to clean up already, but my six year old son who can't seem to get dressed in less than an hour is adding to my mess! Needless to say, I didn't handle it well. I know he didn't do it to make more of a mess for me. I know it is a six year old boy's natural instinct to want to crush something just because he can. But at the time I had had quite enough.
Anyways, fast forward to this morning, which went much better, basically due in my part from deciding not to react to him that way again. I made a chart with the three main things he has to do in the morning. If he does them in the right amount of time and without me having to stand over him, he gets a sticker on the chart. Today he didn't earn one for getting dressed. But he did for eating breakfast and brushing teeth. However, I didn't get upset and neither did he. I didn't take any priveleges away or raise my voice. I did tell him that if he was late to school, he would have to explain to his teacher and to the secretary why he was late, that I would not do it for him. We weren't late, but I have decided that if we are I'm not going to make any excuses for him. I am also not going to get angry. There are worse things than being late. Like yelling at your kid in the morning.
Amazingly, Emma said something very profound to me on the way to taking Ian to school today. We were talking about God and Jesus and when he was born and such. Referencing yesterday morning and my difficulties with Ian, Emma said, "Jesus gave you a very good brain, so you shouldn't be mean to us." So profound, and from the mouth of a three year old!