I'm not really sure why I continue having these ridiculously delusional daydreams (unless maybe I just watch too much tv) because we all know that's never how it goes in Real Life.
Here's the conversation I had with Brock before we left the house:
(Brock) "Mommy! I'm so excited we're going to the discovery museum! It's going to be so fun!"
(Me) "Yeah, it will be a lot of fun, and I'm glad you're really excited. Your heart seems very thankful right now. Will it be thankful when we leave too?"
(Brock, with so much sincerity it was almost convincing) "Yes! My heart is thankful and smiling, and it will be so thankful and happy when we leave the discovery museum too because I will have so much fun. I love you, Mommy!!!"
(Me, in a doubtful tone) "Ok, I can't wait to see that."
I didn't mind that my sister-in-law and I weren't really ever able to say more than 15 or 20 words at a time to each other before we would have to settle an argument or chase a straying child or change a poop diaper. I didn't mind that I felt a little like we were herding cats for two and a half hours. I didn't mind that I wasn't at home quietly sitting on my couch drinking coffee while my children were distracted by Netflix. I didn't even mind (too much) when I had to climb about 500 stairs to get to the top of some random tower in the museum.
And I was very hopeful that we might actually leave with happy, thankful hearts as I witnessed the kids willingly run to the parking lot with smiles and goodbye hugs.
But somewhere between the parking lot and buckling the boys into their car-seats, the happiness melted away and the ugliness took over. Brock started whining about wanting something to drink, about wanting a treat because he was a good boy, about not wanting to go home and rest (even though his "heart is tired"), about wanting to stay at the discovery museum forever, about not watching Veggie Tales, about not being able to see the firetruck driving in front of us, about basically everything. Kicking my seat, complaining, talking back to me in a disrespectful way. The longer we were in the car, the more I felt my anger rising (and of course there was tons of traffic slowing us down). I finally told him to stop talking because there was too much hatefulness and ugliness coming out of his mouth, and I didn't want to hear it anymore. Of course he didn't comply.
So you know what had to happen when we pulled into our driveway? I had to spank him. All that fun we just had, all that time I just spent playing and laughing with them, feeding them, and genuinely having a good time, and this was the result? A grouchy, disobedient child who needed to be disciplined to have his behavior corrected and his heart realigned. Yaay, what a fun day. Let's do it again tomorrow.
I don't really know what the answer is. Stop planning fun events? Never leave the house again? Probably not, but it is incredibly frustrating to give so much to your children and see them just complain for more, like little bottomless pits of want. I am hopeful that these are just teachable moments/phases and that eventually it will start to click. Who knows? Anyone else with any experience in these areas, I would love to receive your wisdom.
One thing I do know, however, is that as I'm preaching to my child about having a thankful and happy heart, I also have to immediately examine my own attitude. Am I grouchy when I don't get my way? Am I hateful when I have to come under someone else's authority? Am I ungrateful when I don't get as much as I wanted? Can I find something every day, in every situation, to be thankful for instead of complaining about what I didn't get or how things didn't go like I expected? Maybe I can at least afford a little more patience as I parent the apples that haven't fallen very far from my tree.