Last week I got a notice that Jayden had an early release day from school this week. I was hoping and praying that the weather would be nice so I could let the kids go out and play for a while. I've felt horrible because my kids have been cooped up inside while I was on bed-rest. I'm not comfortable letting a 4 and 6 year old play outside in an apartment complex unsupervised. I woke up this morning and was disappointed: it was cold, foggy, and wet. Ew. My plans for the kiddos to get some much-needed outside time were being dampened. Pun intended. I dropped Jay off at school and then sulked home to get ready for my doctor's appointment. (No changes from yesterday, if you can't already tell...I think I've finally come to grips with it.) Karah went to a friend's house for a while, and I got some much-needed kid-"help"-free cleaning done. I was so focused on my cleaning that I didn't notice the sun peeking out and temperatures rising. I was SO happy when I walked outside to get Jayden!! It was in the 70s and BEAUTIFUL!! The roads were drying up, too, making it PERFECT for the kids to play. We got home and Karah got home shortly after. I opened all of my windows, opened the front door wide, turned on my Bon Jovi Pandora station, and promptly kicked my kiddos outside. Our apartment faces an open field and as long as they stay there I can watch them as I clean my living room and kitchen, which needed attention anyway. The neighborhood kids congregated out front, and it was just so awesome to me! It has been SO long since I've been able to just let the kids run around and PLAY. They played baseball, kick ball, freeze tag, got out our side walk chalk, and just did KID stuff. It was great.
After a while, Jayden started getting a little bossy and copping an attitude with the other kids. I tried to have a talk with him, but he thought he'd be macho and cop an attitude with me. He THOUGHT that since he was in "public" and surrounded by his peers that he could get away with that crap. Oh, ho ho, that boy found out that that doesn't fly with me. Back when I was a kid, one of my mom's favorite forms of discipline for back talking or bad attitude was to have us scrub toilets. When Jayden started being a snot to me in front of his friends, I went into I-Am-My-Mother-Mode. "That's it, Jay, you need to go inside and scrub my toilet. You will NOT have a potty-mouth like that with me, young man!!" As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I about smacked myself in the forehead. The kid LOVES cleaning toilets! This isn't going to be a punishment! I was totally caught off guard when the boy started to put up a fight! This might actually work!! He said a few more snarky things to me and I had had enough. "Ok, how does this sound, Jay...you can either change your attitude, clean ONE toilet and come back out and play, OR, I can spank you in front of your friends, you can clean TWO toilets, and I pack up your Wii. Which will it be?" I had about eight pairs of eyes bugging out at me. Jayden opted to change his attitude and clean one toilet. After he went inside one of the little boys tapped me on the shoulder. "Yes?" I asked. "You are the COOLEST MOM EVER!!" That was followed by the other kids nodding their heads in agreement. I was elated. I know my son had an entirely different opinion at the time, but I will graciously accept the title of Coolest Mom Ever from the neighborhood children. Jayden scrubbed the toilet, and all was well for about an hour. Then one of the little kids started pulling the same crud that Jayden did. I had told the other parents I'd keep an eye on them, so I was the only witness. I usually try to not discipline other people's kids, especially since I don't know these people very well. But something had to be done and this kid's parents weren't close. I looked him in the eye and told him, "I have TWO toilets. Jayden only cleaned one. Do I need to call your dad and let him know you need to clean one of my toilets for being disrespectful to me?" I thought the eyes were going to pop out of the kid's head. The other kids stopped what they were doing and jaws dropped to the floor. He apologized and everyone played nice. I decided to tell the dad what I'd threatened. I was terrified, but I didn't want him hearing it from the kid just in case the kid decided to change the story. The dad laughed and said that I was welcome to make his kids clean toilets and scrub floors if they pulled an attitude with me. *Whew*
It was an amazing day. My kids played outside for HOURS. For the first time in...well...forever, I felt like a REAL mom. The type of mom that has a clean house and snacks waiting for not just her kids, but the neighbor kids as well. The type of mom that goes out and teaches the kids how to play Red Rover and kickball. The type of mom who will have ANY kid who tracks mud into the house clean it up. The mom that my mom was to me. Everyone LOVED hanging out at my house because my mom treated every kid like her own. They got the same love and attention we got and they didn't catch any breaks for their behavior. She provided several of my friends and my sibling's friends with some much needed structure. She IS respected to this day by everyone who walks through her door, and she still has other people's children call her "Momma My-Maiden-Name". I have always wanted to be that type of mom, but due to work, school, bed rest, and things I've totally let get in the way, I've been unable to do so. I am switching back into "Grateful-For-My-Bed-Rest-Experience" mode because it truly opened my eyes to what I was missing out on and provided me with an opportunity to make up for it. I hope to be able to maintain my love for keeping house and doing the whole "Mom-Thing". I have truly been enjoying myself, and I hope my family has as well.