Today was pretty okay. When I arrived, the mother wasn’t home. She had called me in advance to tell me that she had an appointment, and asked if I could come a bit earlier to watch the kids, but unfortunately, that wasn’t possible.
So when I got there, Gloria was with her tutor, and the rest of the gang was at a neighbor’s house, who apparently have a moonwalk (not those really big ones that you see at carnivals, but rather those small ones that fit in the backyard), and they were all jumping on it.
I went over to check up on them, and they were playing and having fun. The neighbor said that she didn’t mind that they were there, and that when she wanted her kids to come in, she would send them home.
I was pretty happy, cause that meant that ALL the kids were occupied and I didn’t have to watch them. I really lucked out, cause I brought my notebook along with me, and managed to write up a lot, which put me into a good mood for the rest of the day.
Anyway, when Gloria finished with her tutor, I asked her where she was going. She said she’s going to a friend/neighbor’s house. I asked her which one, because I needed to know where she was. She sounded pretty flustered, either cause she was too impatient to think of the name and give me an answer, or because she just didn’t want to (it would seem that she thinks I’m sort of her enemy, so she tries to reveal as little information, personal or impersonal to me), and just said “whatever!” and left.
Her tutor was pretty shocked at her behavior, and went out after her. She told me that she saw her going down the block and then turning, which meant that she was going to the neighbor with the moonwalk. Her reaction didn’t really surprise me, because I kind of figured she wouldn’t want to tell me anything. I’m trying to figure out a way to get through to her, as all of my attempts have been unsuccessful.
Cecilia was the first one to come home after I was there about half an hour, and she played inside the house with her toys. Mark came next, and after taking a drink of water, found the play dough Cecilia had abandoned when she had come in.
I suppose what Mark did next with the play dough could be classified as ‘normal’ for children his age, considering they’re still exploring the world around them, but it was disgusting no less, and I believe that half the time he was doing it for attention.
He played with the green dough, pressing it, punching it, ripping it to pieces and putting it back together again, but then he started eating it. Not actually chewing, but he was definitely licking it, and putting it on his mouth.
I kept telling him to stop every time I caught him at it, telling him it was disgusting and he shouldn’t be doing it, but darn if he listened. He actually did it on purpose and kept saying “Look at me!” so that I’ll continue to give him attention.
Of course, since that would be reinforcing negative behavior (I actually retained something I learnt in college), I simply looked away each time he did it. So he didn’t get attention for it, but that didn’t really stop him either.
He actually took the dough and put it in his cup of water, then licked the dough, and afterwards drank the water. (Sorry for nauseating any of you who might actually be reading this.)
Violet came in a bit later, and she was just roaming around, so I took her on my lap and started tickling her, cause gd that girl is sooo ticklish.
In the interim, Mark went outside (though I hadn’t realized, because he didn’t tell me he was going out, and I didn’t hear the door open/close) and Cecilia also went out, although she took her leapfrog with her and said she was going to play on the front porch.
Not more then two minutes later, the mother came home. Mark was overjoyed and clung to her until I finally took him inside because he was seriously annoying his mother (pulling her, pushing her, clinging to her legs, the whole nine yards). There, I didn’t let him go out until his mother came in, and when she did, she announced that they were going out to eat.
The kids were thrilled, but Gloria, who was at the next-door neighbor at that point, threw a hissy fit because she wanted her mother to take the neighbor’s kids with them. Personally, I had never heard of doing such a thing, so I was pretty surprised at Gloria’s gall to ask her mother to take extra kids, when she and her siblings are already enough of a handful.
It seems like something that’s done in that neighborhood though, because no one thought it was strange. I tried to dissuade Gloria from the idea, and her mother didn’t really want to do it, but in the end, she agreed to take just two friends along, and that’s it.
So a boy who we’ll refer to as Daniel, and a girl who we’ll call Grace, joined the crew. Since I told them they have to be wearing seatbelts, they all sat in the back of the eight-seater van, except for Mark and Cecilia, who were in the front and car seat respectively, and they ended up having to double up. So Daniel and Gloria shared a seatbelt. I teased Gloria, saying that she has a boyfriend, but it was really only a joke, which I think might have touched upon a nerve, because she actually blushed and told me I was “so mean!”.
…Well, this is certainly a new and interesting development.
Anyway, we went to a place called ‘Circa’, which in my dictionary translates as one of those ‘ultra-expensive-get-ripped-off’ type of restaurant, because two small scoops of ice cream cost over two dollars over there, and if two small scoops of ice cream can cost two dollars, you can imagine how the rest of the menu went.
So, we had pizza, and French fries, and garlic knots (yum, yum!), and ice cream for dessert. It was kinda nice. The kids were SO much more better behaved then the last time we went to a restaurant, except that until the food came, they were all running around, but hey, you can’t expect kids to be little angels, and especially these kids.
Mark seemed to have this idea in his head that sitting on the table while waiting for food was a great idea, so I was constantly taking him off the table. The pizza distracted him enough, so that he was standing on his chair as opposed to sitting.
He also seemed determined to get a drink, as he kept sidling over to the refrigerator and taking out a bottle of vitamin water. We kept having to put it back, and he kept whining that he wanted it, but we said no, cause the ice cream for dessert was instead of a drink.
They ate their fill, and I’m pretty happy cause I made both Mark and Cecilia wash their hands with soap before eating (considering the last thing they did was play in the dirt before they went, yeah, it seemed like a good idea). I would have liked to get Gloria and Violet to wash their hands as well, but by the time I got back to the table with Mark, the food was already there and they were all digging in. It was a lost cause.
There wasn’t much incident until the ice cream came, and the ice cream was this big tub with three different flavors, one of which I think was cookie dough (my personal favorite!). I actually would have liked to have some, if Gloria and the rest of them hadn’t stuck their spoons in and started eating out of the carton, and of course, we know that kids don’t have any qualms about double dipping and sharing germs.
So, I was denied the ice cream, which, looking back now, should have been the worst thing that happened to my day, but unfortunately wasn’t.
We got cups for them, and the kids tried filling their cups with ice cream, but the problem was that the spoons they were using were actually ice cream spoons, and when I say ice cream spoons, I mean the short kind with a flat, shovel like end, so it wasn’t exactly adequate for what they were trying to do.
I got a normal spoon, and ended up being in charge of filling everyone’s cups. It was amazing how pushy and demanding they could get, because they all wanted their cup to get filled first, and each wanted either only vanilla, or only chocolate, or only cookie dough etc.
Gloria was extremely demanding, and when I started filling up Violet’s cup before hers, she whined and claimed that I was favoring Violet (which was slightly true, though her sister did ask me first), and that I was going to give her all the vanilla because I like her better. (Which was only slightly true, because I do like Violet better then her royal-pain-in-the-neck.)
While everyone was enjoying their ice cream, I brought myself a bottle of Arizona Iced Tea (green tea with ginseng and plum juice, cause the ginseng made me think of Uncle Iroh), and Mark immediately jumped up and said that he wanted some.
Well, I wasn’t exactly about to give him from a drink I brought for myself. Sure, I was being selfish, but they’re not exactly my younger siblings, who I might feel an obligation for, they’re more like little demons who’ve somehow crept into my life, and considering their behavior, I wasn’t all too eager to make them so…happy.
Of course, Mark wasn’t going to be satisfied with a simple “no”, and began to whine and cry and went to get the vitamin water cause he wanted a drink (and no, he couldn’t just drink his melting ice cream), and at that point the situation was taken out of my hands, cause the mother told him that if he puts back the vitamin water, I’ll give him some.
Well, who am I to contradict the all-powerful mother? So I put back the water for him, and got a cup, and stippled a few conditions to it (cause like heck I’m going to make it easy for him to get some of MY ginseng tea!). So, Mark was “forced” (or more likely, coerced), to sit down nicely in his seat, and ask politely for what he wanted. A funny fact about him, whenever I say to him “what do you say?” when he asks for something, he always responds with “thank you” first, when I’m trying to get him to say please. I guess he get confused, cause people usually say “what do you say?” after they give you something and want you to thank them. I should really use the phrase “what’s the magic word?” except that I feel if I would say it like that, then he’ll start to think that saying please will get you anything (cause it’s like, the MAGIC word), and he’ll say it only when he wants something, and I don’t want him to get into that mode of thinking. You have to be polite, in whatever situation you are (except of course, when you’re held against your will, being mugged/raped/victimized, etc.), cause it’s just basic protocol.
Speaking of protocol, their eating habits could use some work. Cecilia was actually pretty cute, cause she took some French fries for herself, and she wanted ketchup, so she took a napkin, opened it up and spread it on the table, then took the bottle of ketchup and poured some onto it, then started dipping her fries in. It was just so cute, and considering she’s just two, I was pretty impressed; it really made me wonder where she picked it up.
Anyway, when we got back home, all the kids piled out. Now, something to note here, their van is not exactly the cleanest. Nothing being grown or anything, but there were soda bottles and stuff littering the floor, so when they all went out, Mark took one of those bottles and threw it outside.
Now, normally that’s a big deal, cause the world isn’t your garbage can, but it was an even bigger deal, cause it was a glass bottle. It was a miracle it didn’t break. I wanted to reprimand him, but for a reason I can’t remember, I wasn’t able to do it right then and there. I think maybe I was closing the door or something, I don’t know, but next thing I hear is the sound of shattering glass, and the culprit, was of course, Mark, who picked the bottle up and threw it on the sidewalk.
Now, this is a HUGE deal, but it gets even better, cause Mark, the ever-so-clever three-year-old that he is, decided while he was in the car, that he didn’t want to wear his shoes, and took them off. Oh, and he wasn’t wearing socks.
So you can imagine the scene, except that Mark seems to have this incredible streak of luck that doesn’t seem to wear out, cause he didn’t get cut. Not a single bruise. Not only that, but the idiot then goes and jumps, yeah, you read that right, JUMPS over the glass that he broke, and unless my eyes were playing tricks on me, I could’ve sworn that he stepped on it and come out unscathed.
Now, normally I keep my temper under control. I’m more the passive-aggressive type person, but when I saw that, I completely EXPLODED. No, not yelling at him and causing a scene, but more like grabbing him by the arm, and without letting him get two words in, proceeded to take him all the way across the street and to his house, all the while shouting about how dangerous it was, how he could’ve ended up in the hospital with stitches (which is pretty legit), and how he’s getting punished for breaking a GLASS bottle on the STREET where ANYONE could hurt themselves!
I literally dragged him up the stairs to his room, sat him on his bed and told him he was being punished, and has to stay in his room for five whole minutes, because what he did was very dangerous, and he could’ve ended up in the hospital with stitches.
I’m pretty sure that fact that I just exploded in front of him rendered Mark temporarily surprised and unable to react, but trust me, the second I started walking out of the room, he tried getting out, so I closed the door, and held it closed for about a minute.
I was pretty impressed that after I let go of the knob, he didn’t try opening it again. Rather, he just banged against the door with his feet (or at least, that’s what it sounded like), and whined and basically threw your typical tantrum.
So, after about a couple of minutes, I didn’t really time it, I was sitting outside his door, and he stopped crying and opened it on his own. I guess he didn’t think I’d be out there, cause he was pretty surprised to see me, and of course tried to make a break for it, but I caught him.
I sat him down (he actually laid on the floor), and explained to him calmly what he did wrong cause I don’t think he quite got it the first time. I told him that it was extremely dangerous, and that glass bottles were different from plastic bottles, because they can break, and people could get hurt from them. Then I told him that it was a miracle he didn’t get hurt cause he wasn’t wearing socks or shoes, and that if the glass had gone on his feet, it could’ve cut him, and he would’ve gotten an extremely bad boo-boo, and would’ve had to have gone to the hospital and get stitches.
He was actually listening, which impressed me somewhat because whenever I lecture him, he doesn’t really seem focused. Now though, he was quite serious. I really hope he took my words to heart.
After that, he played outside again, but he was so well behaved. When it was time to take a bath, he listened the first time (or maybe it was the second or third, but it’s still incredible cause he never listens so fast), and came in.
He got himself undressed and turned on the water, while I went to get Cecilia and Violet. I didn’t even bother with Gloria, cause she wouldn’t listen to me anyway.
Violet I actually had a hard time with, cause every time I brought her in, the moment my back was turned, she ran out again. So finally I asked her if I ever told her the story about the girl who cried wolf, and apparently she’s heard it before, cause she started telling me it. So when she finished I started telling her my version of it, except I was describing her, when I told her about the girl, which she picked up on, and so I never finished telling her the story.
Anyway, Cecilia came in when her father brought her in, and she wanted her father to give her a bath. Ha, yeah right. She’s a total daddy’s girl, it’s kind of cute, and when she was outside, she was sitting in her father’s car and pretending to drive. She actually honked the horn.
So, the bath went more smoothly then it usually does. Cecilia cried when I wet her hair, and when I put shampoo in her hair, cause she wanted her mother/father to do it. Mark and Violet were so good, and they went much faster then usual. The mother came in while Cecilia was crying and washed her hair, which shut the kid up. Then she did some soap, and out she went.
Mark and Violet played a bit in the bath, but overall, I think the whole thing took about 15 minutes, as opposed to the usual 25.
They got out of the bath, we got them into pj’s, and they all lived happily ever after.
Well, not really, but I was happy cause I could finally leave. It was actually cute, cause Mark and Cecilia (all dressed and in pj’s), were looking out the upstairs window. I told them to keep looking, and I’ll wave to them from the outside, which I did.
Mark actually banged on the window with the brush.
And then I left. Except I had to make a u-turn and go back, cause I forgot my notebook and papers on the couch, but that was it. I gave Mark and Cecilia a hug and kiss, and as I was getting back into the car, Gloria was riding her bike, actually, she was standing there with her bike, and with a bunch of neighbor/friends, and although I didn’t exactly pay any attention to what she was saying, the gist of it was that she was happy I was leaving.
…I have a feeling I’m in for a long haul with that girl.
These are my observations for today [07. 07. 16.]