I learned long ago that just beating the lesson home with your kids works . . . but they start to zone out and think of it as white noise.
But use humor . . . that tends to drive the point home with abandon.
On Sunday the television was on while I made breakfast for the kids. My sons had already eaten and I was waiting to put my daughter’s on a plate because, frankly, she was still asleep. I sleep in on weekends, but by sleeping in I get maybe another hour or two of sleep, so I’d been up since 7am. After cleaning up the breakfast extravaganza for the boys I noticed that the movie Maleficent was on the TV. My sons were actually watching it, too.
“Hello, beastie,” Angelina Jolie says to the little girl who will become Sleeping Beauty.
“Beastie…I like that,” I told the boys.
When by 10:30am my daughter was still in bed I cooked her breakfast and put it on a plate. I walked up the stairs, started a load of laundry and then stood in front of her door. When knocking didn’t work I opened it: “it’s 11am, Beastie . . . breakfast is on the table getting cold.”
She was down in about 5 minutes.
I cleaned over the weekend, too. My daughter got a trick from her doctor that her attention will focus when she chews gum. So I buy her gum . . . except I find the wrappers everywhere. Particularly on the floor, about 2 feet away from multiple trash cans.
“I find one more gum wrapper on the floor, Beastie, I’m going to start putting them inside your pillow case!”
Her brothers aren’t immune, either.
“I find one more Game Boy cartridge on the floor I’m going to sell it and keep the money!”
“Sorry dad . . . ”
“I have to clean up one more box you played with in the front room I’m going to make you sleep in it!”
“No you won’t.”
“Oh, really?! Want to try me?!”
Here their sister steps in . . .
“NO! Don’t try him, you’ll be sleeping in a box!”
We watched the lunar eclipse and it went really, really well . . . until it didn’t. When one son started standing in front of the telescope and the other tried to whack him with said telescope . . . MY telescope . . .
“I’m going to knock your heads together if you don’t knock it off!”
“No you won’t . . . ”
“Umm . . . ” said the sister, “yeah . . . he did it to Abbi and I once. It really hurts.”
You may say that’s not humorous . . . but in a Three Stooges kind of way, it’s actually really hilarious.
“Grab the telescope, Beastie, it’s time for your brothers to go to bed,” I tell my daughter. She politely obliges.
Then came this morning. By 6:45am I noticed the shower wasn’t running. I went up the stairs and her door was closed.
“Are you going to go to school today, Beastie, or were you planning to get up sometime today?”
“What time is it?”
As she raced down the stairs I’d made her a drink to take with her and a breakfast bar to eat in the car. She looked at me funny.
“Are you going to wake me up every morning and call me “Beastie”?”
I started laughing. Her brothers, too.
“It’s taken you two days to notice I’ve been calling you that?”
She wrinkled her brow. “I’m a mess,” she informed me.
That she is.
I can verify it because she still hasn’t noticed all the gum wrappers inside her pillow case.