Trailer Park Unschoolers

Because you don't need to be rich to unschool!

Are They Serious?!?

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If I had to place bets on which child was going to be the most destructive in my home, I should be placing bets on Sander.  He’s two and kids his age get into all kinds of trouble.  They’re know for being mess makers and doing crazy things like drawing on the walls.  That’s just what you expect from a kid his age.

The reality is I wouldn’t place my bets on him at all.  Right now it’s a toss up between Corde and Beekee, and usually when it’s Beekee it’s at the direction of his sister.  That girl loves to get him in trouble.  Worst of all she’s usually right there doing it with him and doesn’t confess to it later.  She wants so badly for us to trust her, but there’s no way we possibly can.  I don’t know when she was a part of it and when she isn’t unless I catch them in the act, and even when I catch her making a mess right beside her brothers she’s quick to blame the two of them.  Maddy does the same thing, but Corde’s been doing that for quite a while longer.  It’s sad that even when she’s caught in the act she’ll swear it was just her brothers, even if we know for a fact that her brothers had nothing to do with it.  We all know better, but she somehow still thinks she can get away with it.  Hasn’t she learned that we don’t punish her (aside from making her clean up her messes) whenever she tells the truth, but she ends up grounded and doing chores when she lies?  We can’t just pass of lying as nothing and as much as we try to avoid punishment, our whole family is based on the element of trust.  We need to do something to show her that lies are unacceptable and so far nothing has been working.  She doesn’t care.  She’ll lie about anything and everything, even though she doesn’t get away with it.

Today I was sitting with the baby, looking at random things on that evil thing called Facebook and I heard this sound.  I asked Beekee if he was drawing on the wall, since that’s what it sounded like, someone drawing with a pencil, and his hand was hidden, but the paper was visible in his other hand.  He confessed right away.  That’s when I went to go look at my wall.  My hallway was covered in pencil scribbles.  Corde’s dresser is covered in pencil scribbles.  Some of them were too high for either of the boys to have possibly made, but Corde insisted they weren’t made by her.  Corde was even standing right next to Beekee as he drew scribbles on the wall and didn’t say a thing.  We get the impression that she’d been right there for all of it, maybe even participating, and she didn’t say a single word.

I honestly don’t know how long that had been going on for.  I hadn’t been awake that long when I found out about it and some of that would have been noticed if they did it while I was awake.  Unfortunately, when Oz gets up in the morning and jumps on his video games he tunes out everything else.  When I get up I usually find at least a dozen things that the kids end up in trouble for because he wasn’t paying a lick of attention to them.  I’m really going to need to talk to him about that too.  I can’t have the house destroyed and our possessions destroyed because he’s “being nice” in letting me sleep and in the end that niceness ends when I have my work cut out for me to get the house back in order.  I end up cleaning up the messes they make because he’s not paying any attention to what they’re doing.  I’m about fed up with that too.

This goes right up there with yesterday’s fantastic wake-up.  Oz and I get out of bed to find that the cereal was spilled all over the floor in the boys’ room (at least they were eating it too) and the oatmeal was spilled all over Corde’s room.  The boys had oatmeal in their hair, it was in the blankets, it was all over everything, but Corde, conveniently.  Somehow she managed to stay completely untouched.  We know Corde.  We’ve seen stuff like this happen before.  This is a classic sign that Corde was involved in the whole thing and just decided to go back to sleep after they boys moved on into another room.

I’m just going to have to get an alarm clock.  I’m going to have to start getting up before the sun just to make sure Corde stops talking her brothers into doing things that she knows will get them in trouble.  Unfortunately, with how late Corde gets to sleep, that also means staying up all night to make sure she’s not causing problems before she goes to sleep too, and to make sure she’s not the one deliberately making a mess that her brothers will get in trouble for in the morning.  She’s pulled that one before too.  It’s going to mean I’m a mama that gets almost no sleep.  Between getting up early, going to bed late, and being woken up at night for a hungry baby, I’m never going to have time to rest, all because the trust in this house has been broken too many times.  I would enlist Oz to help, but he’ll only be able to help while he’s home, and his work schedule gets in the way of him staying up late or getting up early to make sure the kids stay out of trouble on anything but weekends.

In all of this I feel bad for poor Sander and Beekee.  They think that these things are okay because they have so much trust in their big sister.  They want to be just like her and think she’s the best person ever.  What they don’t see is she’s constantly and deliberately leading them astray.  Beekee especially looks up to his sister and will do just about anything she tells him to do because he wants to impress her.  He wants her to be happy with him so she’ll spend more time with him, yet every time he ends up doing things that get him in trouble.  It’s gotten to the point where I’ve stopped making him clean up the mess or fix things when I know for a fact that Corde talked him into doing it.  It doesn’t happen often because I don’t catch her in the act of getting him in trouble often, but when I do catch it, he shouldn’t have to be the one to pay.  Otherwise it’s generally the two of them working at it together.

I’m at such a loss of what to do.  Corde used to draw on walls and furniture when she was seven.  This is stuff that toddlers get in trouble for, not grown girls!  Now that she’s stopped doing it she’s always trying to get Beekee to do it.  I’ve caught her a couple of times.  We’ve also seen a couple of instances where clearly she was the one to do the deed and convinced Beekee to do it with her so she can blame him.  When there’s drawings in places the boys couldn’t possibly reach, or stuff that was obviously drawn by her because of the style of the drawing or the level of detail or skill I know she was in on it.  She probably did it and realized she’d be in trouble so she encouraged the boys to join her so she could blame them.  I swear, she must think I’m an idiot if she doesn’t realize that I can tell the difference between something the boys did and something she did.

This whole thing has me so incredibly frustrated and burnt out.  Corde hasn’t seen Maddy in a couple of days because Maddy hasn’t been around and I’m starting to think I may just keep it that way.  Maddy’s mom has commented about how much better her girls have been acting now that Corde’s been around, but Corde’s been a complete and utter nightmare.  We’d gotten all of these problems under control and Corde’s going through them all again.  I just can’t do it anymore.  I want my well-behaved, respectful, and trustworthy children back again.

What’s worse is I know Maddy is a bad influence on Corde.  I saw Maddy trying to drag Corde out of our yard when they were under very specific instructions to stay in the yard after Corde didn’t listen to me the last time.  Later Maddy held Corde behind the big electric pole and told her not to answer when I called.  Apparently she said, “No!  Don’t go!  If you don’t you can stay out and play a little longer!”  Sadly, Corde was made to come in because of that stunt.  I was just calling Corde to tell her it was getting dark so she’d need to come inside soon.  She still had about a half an hour, but I was going to be making something to eat and wanted to know if she wanted me to cook for her too or if she wanted to cook on her own again.  I just wasn’t going to wait until they decided to come in to star cooking because I had a window of opportunity.  Luca was asleep and I could put him down.  Instead she hid from me (even though I could see her head and Maddy’s poking behind the pole to look at me) and then swore she didn’t hear me when I told her she was done and coming in for the rest of the night and it would be even worse if I had to go get her to make her come in.

Since Maddy has come into our lives I’ve had to have more talks with Corde about trust and how she’s going to lose the ability to go do the things I let her do now.  She has the freedom to poke her head in the door and say that she’s going to the park, a friend’s house, a walk around the block, whatever.  Unless it’s starting to get dark, I don’t care.  If it is starting to get dark I want her in the yard so I don’t have to drag the baby to go track her down and tell her it’s time to come home.  She clearly can’t respect the “come in when it’s dark” rule and she goes to far for me to poke my head out the door and yell for her to come home, so once it’s close to dark, she’s on the lot and that’s it.  However, otherwise she’s got the freedom to do what she likes as long as I know.  She disappeared off the lot without telling me because it was getting dark and she knew I wouldn’t let her go.  I specifically told her not to go outside the yard.  I informed her she’d lost her right to leave the yard the next day.  Then she pulls this stunt of hiding behind the pole and refusing to come in.  Now she’s lost the ability to go outside unless I’m outside with her, which is almost never because it’s too sunny and hot for the baby and we don’t have a good, safe place to put him down outside.  We’d already talked about letting her try again in a couple of days, but it’s been raining and no one’s been out to play.  Now I’m wondering how I can trust her to be alone outside if I can’t even trust her to be unsupervised at all.

What kills me about the whole thing of me calling her is Corde knows I’ll call her over several times throughout the day when the kids are all outside playing.  I call her over to ask her a question about something she’s left out.  I call her over to show her something I think she’ll be interested in.  When I’m making food I call the kids over and ask if they want any before I start cooking.  If I can’t see where they are and they haven’t told me they were leaving I’ll call their names and wait for their heads to pop up from wherever they were, typically Corde is in the tree and Beekee is on the far side of the truck parked in the empty lot.  When I’m done with whatever I’ve called them for I send them out to go back to play.  Generally they’ve got at least fifteen minutes after it gets dark before I finally come collect them if they don’t come in on their own.  It’s been getting dark so early that I give them a little leeway.  I have no idea why Maddy would have been so convinced that I was going to make her go inside, or how she talked Corde into believing it too.  I might understand if I was like Maddy’s mom and the only time I poked my head out to call them was to tell them it was time to come in, but I don’t.  All the kids in the neighborhood should know this by now.

I don’t know, I’m just really fed up with it all.  Corde is teaching her brothers not to have any respect for me, and worse, not to have any respect for anything around them.  She’s teaching them that the house can be trashed and that’s okay.  Some of it, like leaving out dirty dishes, is just learning from example from Oz, so I can’t complain about that, but throwing food everywhere and drawing on the walls is completely unacceptable.  Trying to rope her brothers into it in hopes that she doesn’t get in trouble and they do is unacceptable.  Proving to me that she can’t be trusted is unacceptable.  I just don’t know what to do with her.  If there is no trust this isn’t going to work, and every time she proves she’s untrustworthy and can’t have any respect for anyone else it gets that much harder to keep up with the gentle parenting stuff.  I’m starting to miss the days that Corde didn’t have any friends.  Then I was more able to find a way to be the parent I wanted to be through it all.  Now it’s getting harder and harder.

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Author: Fox

With four kids in the house, who has time for much? Well, we're trying to make it work, trying to get as close to our unschooling roots as we can while state restrictions and family pressures try to stand in our way. Every day is a new adventure.

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