Friday, May 27, 2011

No More Peanut Butter Sandwiches!!!

I’ve given my children a complex.  A Peanut Butter Sandwich Complex.  Some day a therapist will thank me for PB sandwiches.  It all started with respect.  Aretha style R-E-S-P-E-C-T.  My kids didn’t have it.  For anyone.  Not for me and Clark Kent.  Not for each other.  Dogs. Toys. Electronics. Paper. The furniture.  The walls. Bugs. You name it.  A whole lot of “sass mouth” had moved up in here.  I blame school and other people’s kids.  Though it’s likely not that.  It’s likely that we slacked off and at some point allowed it once.  Sass mouth tolerance.  Bad juju, just so you know. 

So I went to my discipline gurus.  I asked “Oh great guru mothers who are so wise, what shall I ever do with these foul mouth beasts?”  Shipping them off to China was suggested, but I had already thought of that.  The sheer cost, I mean, can you even imagine?  Selling them to gypsies sounded like another good one, but apparently that is “illegal” too.  Washing their mouths out with soap seemed tedious and expensive.  I mean, we buy good soap around here.  Wasteful.  Kidding.  For those of you who are reading and don’t really get sarcasm through typing.  KIDDING.  My best great guru of discipline Mrs. S gave me the best idea.  She always has the best ideas.  She’s got 4 kids too.  She knows how to make things work.  Her kids don’t sass.  Much.  She taught me the “4 strikes and your out” dinner policy. 

Quick break down:  Every time you are disrespectful to someone/something, but mostly someone, you get a ‘strike’.  This is yelling, screaming, gnashing teeth, etc.  You have 4 chances. That’s 4 chances to straighten up and fly right.  4 Mulligans.  If you use up all four, you get a sandwich and go to bed.  No dinner with family.  No evening TV time (which is precious around here).  No yummy dessert if there is one.  Nothing.  Peanut butter sandwich and bed.  And you do so at 6:00, at the breakfast bar, away from your siblings and parents.  BOOM! Respect laws laid down.  BOOM! End of disrespectfulness.  Mostly.  85%.  It works.  And it backfires.  It does so in three ways.

Scenario #1: “Hey kids, let’s have grilled cheeses and chips for dinner tonight, I’m pretty pooped and you had a hot cooked lunch.” “NOOO!!! We haven’t been bad!  We can’t have sandwiches for dinner!!”  What? Oh, crap.  Right.  Sandwiches = bad, disrespectful behavior. 

Scenario #2: Monkey man has made a public service announcement.  “Mommy, I don’t like peanut butter anymore.  I’m a jelly kid now.  I didn’t get in trouble, so I don’t eat peanut butter.  Can I have a jelly sandwich?”

Most Conniving Scenario #3:  Dinner is served, all three children are griping because Mommy put squash in the vegetable pasta.  But Peanut and Bean eat it, eating around the poisonous-because-they-are-too-good-for-you vegetables.  Not Monkey Man.  Oh no.  The child who didn’t eat his lunch at the restaurant where you choose your own lunch.  The child who has had cereal and a snack bar all day.  The child who has to be starving because, well, he hasn’t eaten anything today.  He sits and refuses to eat.  He whines.  He asked to be excused from the table.  Clark Kent tells him if he tries to get down before taking his “No Thank You Bite” that he is going to be in trouble.  Monkey Man is smart.  He sits for a minute, then he pushes himself away from the table.  “Mommy, I’m in trouble.  Can I have a peanut butter sandwich?”  Oh yes he did.  He turned my rule around and tried to use it against me! Turkey.  Smart, smart turkey.  Clark Kent looked at me appalled.  I said “hey, he’s a super smart kid.  What do you want me to do?”  He didn’t get a PB sandwich.  He just didn’t eat.  He went to bed.  Ate a whole bowl of cereal this morning.  And so here we go again.  PB Sandwich complex.  It’s what’s keeping the sass mouths away here.  You’re welcome Dr. Future Psychiatrists. 

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