Mia wanted to eat at the coffee table - why? I don't know. Personally, I would rather not ever eat at that coffee table again. I said it was fine, they just needed to clear it off first. She and Simon set to the task, but she must have felt like he wasn't doing enough...
"It seems I find myself clearing the table by myself."
It seems I might sometime say something like this also. This is one of my favorite, and most effective parenting strategies for enlisting co-operation. Describing a situation allows the children to make the decision to be helpful, whereas a command is likely to be ignored and ultimately resented. I would like to think it helps them develop an internal monologue, that when they see something out of place, they will hear a voice in their head describing what they see, and then fix the problem. This way, and when they become adults, they are acting because of their own voice in their heads and not an overbearing or commanding parent's voice. I didn't make this up, I read it in a book. I know it may seem idealistic, but it works around here.
also, when she picked up her new (from a box of hand-me-downs - thanks Heidi!) shirt with the trim around the hem and neck and sleeves... "what's all this laceness on the edges? well, I guess I like the part at the bottom, so I like the other parts too."
Yesterday was loads of fun for all. We started by unpacking, organizing and cleaning the kids' room, hanging up artwork, etc. Woohoo! No kidding - it took three hours, with all five of us helping - and the kids actually helped. It looks awesome and I can tell they are relieved to have that done - it was becoming a fire hazard.
After that, we hung out at home till the sun wasn't so high, then headed to the pool for a few hours. Mia has been going down the BIG water slide at the pool. It starts off at maybe 10 or 12 feet high, and completes a full loop before a short straightaway and dumps into the 4 foot section. Mia waits in line patiently and goes up the stairs without a bit of fear. She can see me from the line, and is as happy as can be as long as she knows I am waiting to catch her. But somewhere on the way down, fear takes over - at least takes over her face. She has this look of sheer terror, until she locates my face in the crowd of other parents waiting just outside the drop zone. She'll still go up time after time, but every time she appears at the last turn with this absolutely terrified look on her face. Simon is working on swimming under water. He prefers to work alone, he trusts himself more than me or Tim or his swim teacher. So he spends his time at the pool under water by the wall in the shallowest section. Chas threw himself off the 5 meter diving board twice before deciding it wasn't for him, but the low dive is lots of fun, he goes again and again.
Our friends who live near the pool had us over for a 5th of July bbq. Sean and Yoko and their kids were there, so we were able to visit with them at length. Their children are learning English and every time we see them are a little less shy about talking to us. I was able to talk with them a little bit in Japanese, too. Yoko and I will be getting together while the men are gone on their upcoming trip, and she has agreed to watch the kids when they get back so Tim and I can have a hot date! Double woohoo! So we missed the fireworks, again, but I think they had fun anyway, they ran around in the yard, and we had bubble toys set out for the kids (thanks nana judith!), and our boys set up their tent. When we got home at 9:00, we sent the kids up to get jammies on straightaway. We were shocked to find that the boys had done it and were already in bed reading when we went up to kiss them goodnight. Mia wandered in from having changed in the bathroom, and she was just wondering where the hamper was. My jaw dropped. I think they like their room being clean and organized finally. I know I do. Chas even made his bed this morning - I have their comforter folded down at the foot so the colorful pattern shows, and it is available if they want it at night. Plus I have no where else to store their bedding right now. Tim and I are talking about a photo slideshow tour as each room gets 'done' - one by one. I had thought I was a creative person when it comes to organizing, but this house has really put my skills to the test.
Tim has a new rule for the kids, as they are enjoying their computer time so much, we decided to capitalize on it, just a bit. They are now required to post on their blog, before they move on to their regular favorite sites. So here are their links: vabrothers.blogspot.com and miabeth.blogspot.com. I can see posting becoming a daily thing for them now, so check in often!