When the walls start closing in

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Yesterday was interesting.  Given the craziness of the last couple of weeks (Kyle coming home, Kylee’s birthday party, Mom visiting, Kyle leaving again) I decided that we would spend all of Saturday in the house.  I would clean, we would relax, and hopefully re-establish routine in our house.

The morning went by without the slightest wrinkle.  The kids played nice as I started laundry and purged their old toys.   We had lunch then I put the kids down for a nap and took some time for myself on the couch watching junk on TV, it was great.

Things started to get crazy after naptime.  Reece seemed to want to get into everything.  He was pulling pots and pans out of the cabinet, filling and pouring cups of water from the fridge, pulling toys from the play room and not putting them back.  This is somewhat common, maybe a little exaggerated, but nothing I couldn’t deal with.  I wasn’t surprised because we hadn’t left the house all day so the kids were bound to get a little stir crazy.

So I kept on chugging and did what I could to keep me and the kids in check.  Just about every day I make dinner in the 5 o’clock hour and we go outside to play at 6.  I put a pot of water on the stove to boil noodles for spaghetti, put on an episode of Mickey and plopped the kids in front of the TV so I could change my clothes.  I didn’t rush, the kids were quiet.  I changed my shirt, picked up a little and pulled my hair back all while listening downstairs for the kids.  Nothing.

My little pea-NUTS.

My little pea-NUTS.

But when I came down the stairs the kids weren’t in the living room watching Mickey.  They weren’t in the playroom.  They weren’t in the bathroom, laundry room, or outside.  I peeked behind the island in the kitchen and saw them.

Covered head to toe in peanut butter.

I just opened that jar that morning for breakfast but by the time I found them their little fingers were scraping the bottom.  It was all over them, the floor and surrounding cabinets.  At first I was fuming but then figured they were already elbow deep, might as well get a few pictures.  It was actually pretty funny.

After I captured the moment, I bathed the kids (that was an experience) and locked them in the playroom so I could clean the kitchen.  While locked in the playroom, Reece decides to pee on the old couch!  He knows to call to me when he needs to go but can’t get to the bathroom so I am at a loss as to why he didn’t.

I was hoping all the craziness was behind us so I went back to laundry and cleaning but once again Reece was abnormally quiet.  I searched the house and found him outside with a bottle of sunscreen upside-down and he is squeezing out it’s last drops onto the sidewalk.  That was my breaking point.  I decided no outside playing with friends for tonight.  He would go into the house, clean up his toys and go to bed early.  And that’s what we did.

Later, I was talking to Kyle on the phone and we agreed we need to set up a system to score his behavior and deal with it accordingly, almost like what we had in grade school.  Changing colors (Blue-green for good, yellow for ok, orange-red for bad) and keep it somewhere where he is constantly reminded of it so he can adjust his behavior.  Maybe if he is orange or red he doesn’t get dessert or play with friends but if it’s in blue or green maybe watch an extra cartoon or get a special dessert.  Maybe this will be a more consistent way of keeping him in check.

Either way I have learned a valuable lesson about my children, especially Reece. He needs to get out daily.  Whether it be a quick energy bur at the park or a full day of running around it is vital that they get out of the house and into the outside world at some point every day.  They are like me in that sense but unlike me, I know other ways of channeling my cabin fever.  When the four walls start closing in my kids get crazy and destructive so I need to get them out before those four wall start crumbling down.

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