Monday, October 26, 2009

Family Night

     Monday night. A time of togetherness, a time of learning, a time of love. And perhaps the most painful night ever endured by mothers. Last week I watched a Supernanny re-run and decided to use one of her object lessons for family home evening. It was perfect. A fun and simple way to try and rid my children of their potty mouths. I prepared in advance, gathering my supplies and buying donuts for a fun treat. I even had a scripture to add an element of spirituality, thus enhancing my lesson.
     Ian was very excited for family night. He had his scriptures ready immediately following dinner and kept pestering me and Scott. He wanted home evening now, even though we were still eating. Finally it was time. I had him pass out paper towels to each person as we sat around the kitchen table. I then said, "Let's have an opening prayer. Ian? Will you say it?"
     He very importantly uttered his standard two second recitation. "Heanwy Fadda tank you for dis day Cheesus ist amen."
     "Ian has a scripture for us, too." I nodded at him. "You can read it now."
     With Scott's help, Ian read Mosiah 4:14-15. It took a while. When he came to the part about not suffering the children to go naked, he succumbed to a sudden case of giggles. Upon finishing the comedic scripture, I asked my rebel offspring what King Benjamin commanded the parents to do.
     Tawni knew the answer. "He told them to teach their children not to fight and quarrel."
     "Right. What about the next verse?"
     Tawni continued, "You need to teach us to love one another."
     "Okay." I then took a lemon and cut it into slices. I passed a slice to everyone. "Go ahead and suck on your lemon."
     Ian wasted no time. His little face contorted and his body shivered from head to toe. I wasn't much better. Zack barely licked his, over-dramatizing so that we would all see how cool he was. Beka pointed out that she didn't even pucker. Scott said his tasted good and proceeded to eat it. Tawni suffered from sore afflictions, known as cankers, and would not participate.
    Filled with great wisdom, I pointed out that name-calling, mean talk, and crude words were like the lemon. They left a bitter taste in our mouths and in the mouths of those we hurt. Then I had everyone lick a finger and dip it into a sugar bowl. The sugar represented the sweetness that comes from love and kindness. Wouldn't we rather sweeten our spirits with good words than make them bitter with lemon words?
     Ian piped in, "Can we have donuts?"
     While we feasted on dessert, I informed the kids that there were certain words I didn't want them using anymore. Ian smiled, "Like naked?"
     That got everyone else laughing. "No. Naked is fine. I don't want you to say suck, dumb, stupid, hate, or," I looked directly at Zack, "freak."
     "Oh man! Freak is awesome!"
     "It's not nice."
     Once the donuts began digesting, it was time for family prayer. Scott asked Tawni to say it. Ian reached down to the floor and picked up his Clone helmet. He put it on his head right as Tawni started to pray. She barely got past the opening when Ian said, in a muffled voice, "Hey! Who's in here?" Tawni started laughing so hard she had to cut the prayer short. Ian was smiling, delighted with himself and his ability to cause mayhem. Trying to restore order, I told Zack to get in the shower and Ian to put on jammies. That's when everything changed.
     "No!" Ian shouted, running from the room.
     For the next twenty minutes, I battled with him, pleading, coaxing, threatening. "If you want friends tomorrow, what do you need to do?"
     "I don't want to play with friends. I want a shower."
     "It's Zack's turn for a shower. You can have one tomorrow."
     "NO! NOW!"
     I don't remember when he finally put his pajamas on, it's all a blur, but I remember what he said to me.
     "I hate you!" "You're mean!" "Want Daddy!"
     There went my Supernanny inspired lesson.
     Getting Ian to take all his medicine after that was torture. He fought me the whole way, screaming for Daddy.
     "Fine. Go get Daddy. I'm done."
     Daddy came. Daddy gave him his amoxicillin. Daddy did it too fast. Daddy made Ian throw up all over the floor.
     Mommy looked at Ian smugly and asked, "Who does your medicine better? Mom or Dad?"
     Ian, looking just as smug replied, "Daddy."
     After all that, being the good mom I am, I read my child a story. We cuddled, we laughed, and when the book closed I said, "Time for bed, sweetie."
     The devil returned, leaping off my lap, running down the hall screaming for Daddy.
     Instead of chasing after him, I reached for my computer and the comfort of a blog.