Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Nighttime routine - Challenging and Rewarding.

T and L were wound up tonight. After I put M down to sleep for the night I approached T's room. L and T were standing on top of the foot rail on T's bed and jumping onto the mattress. There is no official house rule against this behavior. I contemplated making one, but knew it was one of their favorite games. Hopefully T's bed would hold up.
At this time of night I prefer quieter games. I patiently asked the kids to stop, but that just made them jump higher and faster. I began to get angry and had a maddening urge to raise my voice and shout "stop!". But I caught myself before I acted. I recognized the destructive emotion and made note of it. When that old friend anger comes around, he is liable to come around again soon.
I decided distraction was the best course of action in this circumstance. I picked up a book and sat on T's bed and began reading. T exclaimed: "Lookout dad, I am going to jump on you!" I paused for a moment to say:
"You two are missing the book."
Tom did jump off the rail, but landed short of my groin, and gracefully bounced up into perfect reading position. L followed with a flip onto the bed followed by a roll gently into my lap.
The sillies kicked in during the first few pages. The kids finished my sentences with "poop". But then we hit an interesting line that began:
"Wilber chuckled,"
L asked: "What does chuckled mean?"
I knew I had a hook into a good laugh here.
"Well," I said: "A chuckle is a short laugh. And it goes like this..."
I briefly tickled L. He burst into laughter. I ticked T with the other hand, then abruptly stopped.
"See that was a chuckle."
I then ticked each of them for 15 seconds. They went bananas.
"That was a full laugh."
5 second tickle.
15 second tickle.
We went on for 5 minutes. By the time we were done the kids were really ready for bed:)

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