Today's Count-down calendar activity was all about going to shop for the "Giving Tree" kiddos that we had picked out. Because of Beverly's convicting blog post, John and I agreed that we should challenge the kids to contribute some of their own money towards the purchase of those presents. To say they were thrilled with the concept would be a lie. Instead, we got to witness our children's not so happy attitudes - and had to give them a rather stern lecture about their blessings and greediness. Good to know we don't have "super-perfect" kids, hmmm?
The morning went like clockwork for me, super smooth, and even the initial picking up of the kids made me believe this afternoon would work well. But, soon, Mikayla's mannerisms were bugging Brayden, Brayden was yelling at Mikayla and there you go. I thought maybe a stop off at DQ would help, which it did - but then that led to Brayden spilling parts of his blizzard all over the cart of products we had picked out in Big Lots.... and then, let's see, somewhere between Brayden using the wrapping paper roll to bonk Mikayla, Mikayla being "so tired" she had to sit in the cart (the cashier guessed she was 4....) - and then the arguing beginning again in the car - I lost it. Yes, I'll admit, a smack on Brayden's leg was involved - which led to him balling, Mikayla balling, me being ready to pull over on the highway - yes, what a wonderful day filled with the blessing of giving to others!
As I tried to lecture my way through my feelings - I suggested that perhaps John and I had failed in our parenting efforts to teach them how to give selflessly. Brayden "freaked" at that comment - suggesting that we as parents had failed completely tripped him up. It was actually quite heartwarming as he was protecting his view of us as wonderful parents. So, I used that as leverage and asked that they demonstrate our wonderful parenting techniques with their improved behavior.
I will say, things did get better as we were in the mall - moving on to the more specific present requests. But, by the time John got home, I was pretty wasted. On the other hand, the kids have spent the evening bonding together in Mikayla's bedroom - looking for ways to make money - drawings and crochet scarves and garland, selling games they no longer play with (woops, you won't find that many left - Mommy already took care of that idea...). They're currently discussing business and selling techniques with Daddy. I think they are catching on to the fact that times are a bit rough, and this might help. I appreciate the ingenuity, but on the other hand, their ambitions might be a bit lofty.
So, there's my day of ultimate child-rearing success. Pretty impressive, huh?
=) Challenge, Day Three: I sent an email to someone who I had a very meaningful conversation with yesterday, as I wanted to thank her for being very encouraging to John and I.