So as pick up time arrives, I am thinking that by time they get back, the kids would be tired out and the earlier excitement has faded? Sadly, I was wrong. By this time, Dylan was down stairs playing and when our friends walked into the house and asked Dylan how she was, Dylan starts to get "shy". You know where your kid starts to cling to your leg and then they get all whiny and won't even look at the other person, and you the parent are internally pleading for them to snap out of it and start talking? Mari at the same time is smothering my friends baby, and Hank is crying about something, again. I am now for the second time with them, embarrassed and frustrated about feeling so out of control and trying to reassure them that they all played great and none of this chaos happened the entire time.
So the moment they leave I gather the kids, give a "lecture" ( and yes, by lecture I mean FULL blown yell, to my friends who think I don't yell, I yelled!) about how they need to treat people better and have some "manners." I come up with this brilliant idea of "acting out" how we need to use our manners.
We start role playing and the kids love it. I pretend to be my friend and repeatedly for the next hour, knock on the door over and over and then come into the house and ask them the same questions that they had been asked during our friends visit, and the kids respond very politely, correctly and so adorable...for a moment I can't believe they are the same kids....They even take turns and we even do "stranger danger" of what to do if someone comes to the door and you don't know who they are. For a day I am a hero, we have fun and the kids learned a "lesson." And I continue to hope that they are really "taking in" this long exhausting game of playing "knock knock".
Sunday, we got to practice our "game" of role playing with our friends again and the kids did awesome. ....So for the rest of the summer we will continue to "role play" with some of our MANNERS and continue to hope and pray that my kids grow up as "polite individuals". Every parents hope and dream to have your kid be used by some other family as an "example" of how you should act in public right?
As I am trying to edit this, I have to add that Tuesday I learned that this is going to be a LONG process after I took Mari by herself to a funeral with me ( I dropped off the other two kids and my 4 year old niece with my sister and her two kids, ages 3 and 2. She is also 7 months pregnant with her third. So leaving Mari with her was like entering dangerous waters, and out of fear, I took her with me).
Mari sat awesome during the service and for the most part did really well except for right after we ate. I was sitting with my friend who's mother had passed away and her friend, and Mari just comes running up, and out of now where, burps in their faces..Sigh....that may need a whole other book title and new "creative game" to come up with...As usual, I am just exhausted typing this as living it out!
Mari Minds Her Manners...
(a rough draft)
Hi my name is Marilyn Jane but you can call me Mari (Ma R ee)....
Today my mom said I need to mind my manners.
"What's manners?" I asked her.
She told me it is using words like, "Please and Thank you", "Talking quietly", "Being Nice and not Mean", "Chewing with my mouth closed", "Saying May I ", "Being patient and not interrupting and if interrupting saying 'Excuse me'", "Sharing toys (even with babies she tells me!!)" ....things like that....
"Hmmm" I said. "You mean using my manners at the library and how we need to talk in our small voices?"
"Yes, just like that," She said....
"And like when the lady at the bank gives me a sucker and I have to say, 'Thank You?'''
"Yes, just like that," She said
"Oh, Oh! Like when you are talking to someone and I need to interrupt and have to say, "Excuse me?"
"Yes, Mari, just like that!" My mom smiles.
I can be good at this I start to think.
"Mom? What do I do when I forget to use my manners?" I ask with my mouth all smushed.
'''Good question Mari!" she tells me.
( I smile, I like asking good questions.)
Mom then tells me what I have to do.
"You stop what you are doing and use your manners by saying , 'Oh, excuse me! I forgot my manners!' and start using them ALL over again!'' she says as she winks at me...
I wink back and using my MANNERS, I say, "Why thank you mom for teaching me how to use my manners!"