Thursday, January 14, 2010

Watch Your Mouth

Here I sit waiting for the kindergarteners, chowing down on a microwave burrito Michael Jr. made for me because I forgot to eat breakfast and no one else in the family will eat them. At Costco the kids were enthusiastic but they’ve all got my name on them now. It’s okay I guess. This is probably the same reason why my mom, one of the youngest of ten kids, says her favorite parts of the chicken are the back and feet. Someone had to eat them. But you know, I’d much prefer the bland burrito.

I won’t bore you with tedious details of the maniacal cleaning blitz I began yesterday afternoon (WHY do I let people wear shoes in my house???) but suffice it to say it’s well underway. Additionally, Michael and I took the Christmas tree down last night. By the time we were finished I thought I could see steam coming out of our ears. We ought to take a clue from my parents and just wrap the thing in visqueen and painters tape and store it upright in the garage. To heck with disassembly and body bag placement.

So, what shall I drone on about this morning? How about contention. Contention, contention, contention. And less than savory language. Lately these have been bothering me. Somehow my kids had allowed some words and phrases to slip into their vocabulary that didn’t belong there. No matter how much I scolded, it just kept happening.

(I never did resort to washing mouths out with soap. I have vivid memories of that when we dared say, “Shut up”.)

I’d finally had enough when I overheard Josh say, “Crap!”. Since we’d started the chore chart and allowance last week, I decided we ought to dock people for, oh, how shall I put it, overly expressive language. Sierra found a jar and labeled it with words I hate to hear most:

Fricken, Random Insult, Gay, Shut up, Crap

I hate these for many reasons and I’m a little embarrassed to say I have kids who talk this way but there it is (“Random Insult” was added to cover a lot of rude territory). Each child’s been assigned a color and when they screw up and say one of these things, a Lego of that color goes in the jar. On Pay Day (Saturday) a quarter for each Lego comes out of their allowances. All that money goes to the kid with the least Legos. I should add that Michael and I are supposed to put in quarters for our offenses. At the moment Michael’s owes $0 and I’m out a few bucks. I’ve got a little problem with “crap” flying out of my mouth. Seriously. But anyway, this is good. Definitely good.

Still there’s some contention, conflict here and there. Next came Sierra’s idea: The Court Bowl. You write the details of your disagreement or quarrel down and wait for Sunday afternoon. When tempers are cooler we can discuss it at Family Council. This part I’m not looking forward to but if it can keep the rest of the week down to a dull roar, I’m game.

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