Peeking Over the Counter

Non-existent Impulse Control: How I survived the bewitching hour with my 3 and 5 year olds

by: Jamie Goins

I was doing my best to finish up my work when I heard the clomping of my preschooler’s boots.

The kids were home and we all know what that means, right?

I love my kids more than anything else in this world. I cherish them. My heart literally aches with how much it bursts with love for them. But I think a lot of parents know what I mean when I say, in the few hours you have with them prior to bedtime, they can be somewhat trying on your patience…even when you haven’t been with them most of the day.

Tonight was a different flavor of strange, bad choices to say the least. As my husband and I tag-teamed dinner, playtime, and my 3-year old’s acutely-timed pooping routine, I noticed that our 5-year old was nowhere to be found. Now, this is pretty normal. I don’t need to go into the stinky details, but when kid poops in our house, it’s like a chain reaction…So I assumed he must be in the bathroom. As I called out to him, I realized he was in ourbedroom. Hmm. That’s odd. As I enter the room, I notice that our son is sitting on our (carpeted) closet floor with his pants and underwear off, dressed only with a sheepish grin.

“Tell Mommy what you did please.”

He giggles. Shit, this can’t be good. “Nuphing mommy, it’s nuphing.” Luckily I don’t smell anything (please don’t be poop, please don’t be poop). Then he points to the wall and a puddle beneath it. Sigh. Deep breath. Non-existent impulse control.

5 minutes later, Nolan is in the kitchen asking for a cookie. Before dinner. After peeing on our carpet. In our closet. Mom said no and Dad said no yet 2 minutes later, he is hiding under the table eating a cookie. Non-existent impulse control. Okie dokie, first time out of the evening- check!

Then during confession time, he outs himself for hitting his little sister when she wouldn’t give him his toy. Non-existent impulse control. ::shaking my head::

I will tell you that my kids are good kids. They typically have an incident here or there, but some nights are just very surprising in what they have in store for us!!

Needless to say, while Nolan was in time-out, I decided that he wasn’t the only one who was on the precipice of a rapid downward spiral.

I needed a change in perspective and to upgrade my attitude- and quick.

So tonight I wanted to share with you one of the fastest ways that we as humans are able to quickly upgrade our moods: Create a gratitude list.

A gratitude list is a list of all the things I appreciate about a person, a thing, my life in general or whatever I want the focus to be. Tonight it was my kids- my 5 year old in particular:

  • I do love my boy so much.
  • He is very curious and as his independence grows, he is branching out more and more.
  • Man I need to keep a better eye on him (hmm…I can do better than that thought)
  • At least it wasn’t poop. Oh thank God it wasn’t poop. I’m really really really grateful it wasn’t poop.
  • It cleaned up very easily and he helped. He wanted to help, actually he wanted to do it all himself.
  • He apologized a lot. He knew it was a bad choice. It’s not that I didn’t teach him. We just need to work on impulse control.
  • I have two children that I love and adore. So many families out there are not so fortunate to have their own children.
  • My kids are healthy too. They are healthy and vibrant and happy and loving.
  • Our kids sure know how to be a mischievous pair (whoopsies- wrong direction, try again)
  • I love that the kids love each other so much (that’s better)
  • I love that the kids play well together a lot of the time
  • We are truly truly blessed to have such loving kids
  • They are never going to be this young again. Like literally, every second that passes, they get older and older
  • I want to cherish these fleeting moments and appreciate them
  • These moments are teaching moments for me too.
  • It’s ok if things get a little crazy. Then I have more stories to tell. I like roller coasters after all.
  • I wouldn’t be writing this blog if I didn’t have a memorable story to go with it!
  • See that, there is value in everything that happens in life (Bingo)

As I ramp up with more and more appreciation, I can feel the cloud lifting over my head.

Now don’t get me wrong: bedtime got moved up, it was non-negotiable and the sleepover was cancelled. There were consequences, but you know what there wasn’t? There wasn’t shouting. There wasn’t a mommy meltdown. There wasn’t anger or bitterness or a terrible end to the night. No, it was a firm but peaceful and loving conclusion to our night. I call that a win.

Next time you find yourself having to somehow coexist with your children’s inexplicable lack of impulse control despite the last 5 years of you teaching them right from wrong, do everyone a favor and give yourself a few minutes to center yourself, re-focus and choose a perspective of appreciation and an attitude of gratitude. J Gratitude lists can be so powerful in shifting your vibration from a negative energy to a positive one.

Feel free to share a rampage of appreciation in the comments below!

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