Hopefully it does not surprise anyone reading this when they hear that since being pregnant and especially being in my third trimester, the discipline in the household has slipped "a bit." There are certain times of day when I have unwittingly trained my big kids to require much too much supervision in order for them to follow through with tasks. Getting ready for bed is a big one. So is getting socks, shoes and coats on and getting in the car.
So I informed the kids Saturday night that a new order was in place. With a calm, patient voice I explained that I will ask them once to get ready for bed and that I will not ask again. If I see disobedience, they should expect a spank rather than a reminder. The reality is that both my older kids are more than capable of getting themselves totally ready for bed but I have allowed them to be distracted, goof around, and take three times longer than necessary to get the job done. The end result, of course, is that I end up frustrated, exhausted, and raising my voice. It is generally a terrible way to end an otherwise lovely day.
And thinking forward a week or so, I know that I am not going to have "the luxury" of such close monitoring. I will be nursing, or bopping, or whatever, a little one. I will need my kids to be responsive to my voice at the first call. And I really need them to understand that non-responsiveness will not go well for them.
The really good news is that these past couple of nights have gone amazingly well. I remind them of the new way things are, give them their instructions and then ask little distractable Jackson (4 1/2) to repeat back to me what I have asked him to do. Both evenings he has been unable to repeat it so I feed him the words, "Jackson, say, 'I am going to go straight upstairs and getting all-the-way-ready for bed.'" I know he knows what his task is, and that gives me the freedom to follow through with the discipline if needed. And so far, it has not been needed (proof of their competence!).
It feels great to regain some control and expect of my kids what I KNOW they are capable of. With only days to go before delivery day, its about time!!