Saturday, March 21, 2009

Help! The Inmates Have Taken Over the Asylum!

Okay, so at some point in my illustrious parenting "career" the balance of power shifted. Subtlety, so insidiously that I never even suspected it, our family went from a solid dictatorship with all my little subjects firmly under my boot to a full-on rebellion with the entire population participating. In fact, they have me on the run.
I find myself hiding in my room, earbuds in listening to Praise music in a desperate attempt to regain my calm Center.

It is amazing how completely three (sometimes four if Klaryssia isn't having one of her many daily naps), small children can toss off parental guidance and discipline.

Whatever. All I know is that my initial parenting go-round was infinitely easier. Kris and Kelsey, my"original"children, were pretty easy-going. They had thoughts and opinions on things - but for the most part, they were agreeable to rules and went along with them. Of course, here and there they threw down the gauntlet and challenged my authority. But really, they were kind of easy to parent. Which was truly a blessing because as a single mom working full time and attending school, if they hadn't been such awesome kids...I don't even want to think about where we might be today. They made a difficult situation easier to bear, and I appreciate them beyond words.

Now, this second batch of kids. My Little Rebels. They tend to make every situation way more difficult then it ever needed to be. Everyday situations become major skirmishes. They must love the thrill of battle.

They have no use for my rules unless one of them is looking for protection under them.
Instead, they are writing their own rule book. I guess it's good they are trying to be united in their dissent. It's the only thing they agree on.

One of the biggies is the Rule of Mine: if I want it, it's mine; if I have ever played with it before, even if it's been lost under my bed for three years and you find it, it's mine; if I put it down for another toy and now you want to play with's MINE. You get the picture. Sometimes the Rule of Mine is applied to my stuff. Kameron will decide he'd like to play with my laptop. Or drive the car. Or flatiron his hair. Under the New Rules, he has this authority. See how it works? They ought to work for the Government. Kind of make it up as you go along.

This sets us up for countless conflicts throughout any given day. Because they are loyal soldiers, they wake at oh-dark-thirty most mornings. Before my alarm goes off, the battles have begun.
I'm not a lover of conflict, but since there is no second in command most days, I have two choices: rise and prepare for war, or pull the covers back over my head. Guess which one I prefer? I'll give you a hint, I have a wonderful, fluffy, down comforter. My friend says I love my bed so much because I spend so little time in it...but I digress.

They also like to take turns being the Food Nazi. For example, say it's breakfast time. We have a house rule (mine) that we eat with good manners. You know, chew with your mouth closed, don't talk with a full mouth, use your napkin, no spitting, drink your own milk, don't put your feet up on the dining room table. That sort of thing.

When one of them is acting as a Food Nazi, he or she invokes this rule: all the good manner rules apply to everyone but me, and I must tell mom at the top of my voice with a full mouth every time anyone else is committing a good manner rule infraction. And, when he or she tries to turn it back on me, I am "not your friend anymore!"

BTW, that is the major punishment doled out by the rebels. "I'm not your friend anymore!" is the cry d'jour. In fact, I found myself uttering it only yesterday. After refereeing I don't remember how many fights, I finally told one of them (can't remember which, it's all a blur) "Well, I'M NOT YOUR FRIEND ANYMORE EITHER!" This was a sign to me that I had truly lost most, if not all, control over my little domain.

That, and the fact that when my college aged Kelsey came home for a quick visit, I locked myself in my room with my TV at full blast and the covers over my head. I came out when they all went to bed.

See, I think the balance of power has definitely shifted and the inmates have won. In the immortal words of Alexander (of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day): I think I'll go to Australia.

Oh, they have kids there, too. Sigh. Is there no escape?

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