January's grade: C- (and that's grading on a curve)

So this screen time addiction we have going is for real. It’s going to take more than a month to break it, I’m afraid. And a month in which we don’t also have illness and out of town trips and wicked winter weather and marathon training. Those are the excuses I’m giving anyway. On the latter point--wow, is my marathon training ruining my mothering. I get in from a long run, and I am DONE. Those kids could be selling crack out of the garage, and I would not have the energy to stop it. Hey, at least they wouldn’t be watching TV, right?

We’ve had our proud moments. I personally have made it through two Sundays of (almost) no electronics of my own, and it felt really good. I’m next going to relocate my iPhone’s charger from the nightstand to the kitchen. It’s just nice to feel like I am more powerful than a tiny little phone. Take that, Siri, you are sleeping alone from now on, and don’t go claiming you love me when you don’t even know my name. For the last time, MY NAME IS NOT BILL!!! It’s Holly, Dr. Holly to you. And I own YOU. So there.

The kids, however, are still in the throes of addiction. In particular, I worry about Lawson and that iPod. He goes into hysterics when I take it away. And this week, when I’ve been sick and Kevin is out of town, well, he can just live happily ever after with his iPod, I just don’t have the strength to break up that relationship. And quite honestly, I may not have the strength to break it up before he hits kindergarten, because acts like such a maniac so much of the time. He seems to believe we are all hard of hearing, thereby necessitating he scream everything. Either that, or he is secretly preparing to audition for the part of Hitler in a toddler-themed World War II film. He even punctuates his commands with, “I SAY!!!” As in, “GET ME MY MILK, I SAY!!!” Needless to say, I don’t get him his milk when he behaves like that, and with any luck, he will figure out that these tactics don’t work sometime in the next 15 years, during which time I will slowly lose my tenuous grip on sanity, my hearing, and my will to live.

In fact, I am thinking of revamping the family makeover schedule a bit--you see, this is what I do, I come up with well-organized plans that I then abandon in favor of flying by the seat of my pants (I would be a terrible military commander). I’m really not sure what this is about. In any case, I was contemplating using February to try to break Lawson of the screaming habit and some of his other bad habits as well. I in fact already have the secret weapon, a kind of Lawson kryptonite-doomsday machine, if I only dare to deploy it. Not only is it very, very effective, it is just abusive enough to meet the discipline requirements of my evangelical friends and family without causing my liberal friends to shun me. I give you...THE SQUIRT BOTTLE.

Not sure I have revealed this magical parenting device before. But as some of you know, when I want to punish Lawson, I just squirt him in the face with water like he is a little kitty cat. He hates it! Hates it! And it’s totally harmless! Water in your face does not hurt you! Yes, he may never be able to shower without scuba equipment, but I think that’s a small price to pay. Usually, all I have to do is threaten him with it. But I think I am becoming the Mom who cries 1, 2, 3 at this point. I think I need to start squirting him without warning. The minute he screams, “MY IPOD, I SAY!!!” I need to show him who’s boss. It could be rather fun.

So I think I’m going to switch up the schedule. February’s goal is to launch an all out water fight with my three-year-old tyrant (no, that doesn’t sound at all crazy). And keep working on the screen time. You know, so I can feel bad about myself on a daily basis. Self-esteem is so overrated. And because I am such an over-achiever, I’m going to do the meal stuff also. I actually have already started, and it’s going well. Lawson is downing green smoothies, believing they are some kind of magical Dr. Seuss concoction, and Charlotte ate a piece of edamame the other day. It’s like a miracle.

The struggle continues...


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