We’re two weeks into our TBBC and I must admit, life has gotten much better. It’s hard for me to remember many details from the first week as that was when Matt was so sick. What I do remember is that Bailey was really close to losing his Friday Night Movie Night (FNMN) as he had already accumulated eight strikes when he woke up on Friday morning. That meant he only had one more warning to still get the privilege of participating in our weekly family tradition. Were he to get two more, he’d miss it.
He did a great job of watching his mouth and, even when he felt like talking back, he kept control.
Such a simple method to help them watch their tongues and it worked! I was pleased.
Week two, this past week, was just as good! As they get better I may reduce the number of strikes before they lose FNMN. By Friday morning, all three boys were right around six strikes. We were looking GOOD and had seen an improvement from the week before. And then something happened. Carson had a hard time while watching Parker and Parker was not too happy. I went back to Parker’s room to help and I could hear through the door that Carson really was doing his best to change Parker’s mood, but by this point, there was no consoling him.
I sent Carson to do Math for the remaining 15 minutes, something I never do… usually if I have to intervene I just let the big brother involved read or do math facts. However, we are in a push to finish our math sooner rather than later and I wanted him to get as much done as possible. As his teacher I have that right. As his mother I have that right. He didn’t like my suggestion and four times he let me know. (Actually, I gave him four strikes even though he probably deserved eight.) Needless to say there was no way he could have FNMN after that episode, which actually also included him slamming his door. For that he earned the exciting privilege of opening and closing his door correctly fifteen times. It was a huge fit, one I rarely see from any of them, thankfully, and it lasted all of five minutes. Five minutes and it ruined his favorite night of the week.
If I can say this without judgement, I’m sort of glad it happened. For one, it let the all of the boys know that I’m serious. I will not tolerate back talk and I will not hesitate to take away something that matters. And the other reason I’m glad is because it let me see a side of Carson that I am extremely proud of. He handled his discipline like a man. He came out at one point during the afternoon and asked a simple, even-toned question. “Did I lose just the ‘sleeping-in-the-living-room’ part or did I lose the popcorn, movie, and sleeping-in-the-living-room?” Two weeks prior, on the way home from Easter, I had told them that if they got ten strikes they would lose the entire evening. Anyone who got ten strikes would eat dinner with the family and then go to bed as if it were a school night.
My heart ached as I told him that he had lost all of it and he turned around, walked back to his room, crying. Not weeping-and-wailing, but crying… feeling the pain I had hoped to inflict by taking away FNMN. He needed to feel the pain of his own actions, and he did. He didn’t complain any further. He was nice and pleasant at dinner. His demeanor was no different from any other night. That evening both Matt and I told him we were proud of the way he was handling himself and that we were really going to miss him during the movie. We prayed with him and he went to bed. He came out a few times to get something and went right back as soon as he got it. I went back once to check on him once (and to make sure there was no temptation to watch TV) and found him reading a book on famous musicians. He told me all about Mozart and Chopin. My little musician!
I once again reminded him that we were missing him and that I was proud of how he was handling his discipline. How to word this… His spirit was not hard. He wasn’t being stoic or difficult. He wasn’t having an ‘I don’t care that I’m being disciplined” attitude, which is the part of Carson I was so pleased to see. Not that he usually has that attitude, but it would have been one possible way for him to handle his discipline and I was glad to see he was humble about it.
We now start our third week of Talk Back Boot Camp and we’re also beginning three weeks of SUPER AWESOMENESS in our schedule. (Think England then Nana and Papa!)