One of the hardest things day in and day out I think in every single parent's life, including mine, are transitions. Getting children out of the door into the car and then out of the car into the school and then out of the school back into the car and then out of the car back into the house and then from the first floor of the house, out of their regular clothing, onto the second floor of the house, possibly into a path, possibly into pajamas, and then out of the bath, from pajamas around the house to pajamas in the bed.
Every single transition is nothing short of a disaster sometimes. Sometimes they go really smooth and sometimes they take 25 minutes and there's absolutely no rhyme or reason as far as I can tell, no amount of warning, no amount of preparation, "Okay, we're going to be leaving in five minutes," nothing that can prepare you for these things. It's enough to drive me crazy.
The other day we were at the park and I told the boys, "Okay guys, this is your ten-minute warning," "Okay guys, this is your five-minute warning," "Okay guys, in two minutes we're going to leave." Then, oddly enough, I ran into a friend from college and I was like, "Okay guys, this is your five-minute warning. You have five more minutes." When I said that they're like, "Okay, let's go run. Let's go run away." I mean, not really run away but, "Let's go run on the playground." They were hiding. They were excited. They were going to prevent the transition. I knew it. I knew it was going to be me keeping an eye on them while I put the baby in the car and then getting them one at a time.
I was just preparing for this sort of disaster of a transition, one by one. Miraculously enough, it started to thunder, and immediately I said, "It's thundering. We have to go." All the other parents said, "It's thundering. We have to go." We got out of the playground and we were in the car and it was fast, unbelievably fast. I just thought, "That was amazing. I want a thunderstorm to end every time we go to the playground. No matter how much I prepare them, one of the three of them has trouble transitioning and then I have to be careful I don't say, "Wow, your brother did such a good job listening and you sucked." But that's always what I say in my of course.
What I've been thinking about with transitions is that I don't like transitions either. I don't have trouble with transitions normally, like getting in and out of the car or getting in the house, but at the end of a long day, I do sort of sit in my car for a little bit because I'm tired and I know as soon as I go in the house I'm going to have to carry the bags in and put them down and possibly put something away and change out of my work clothes. There's just so much transition at the end of the day. I don't like it. In the morning, I'm all comfy in my pajamas or my workout clothes and even transitioning from my pajamas to my workout clothes, even if my workout clothes are laid out and I'm following all those nice rules, it takes a minute.
What I've realized is that I don't like transitions. I don't. I don't like transitions at all. I don't like transitions any more than my kids, the difference being that I am 36 and not five or three or one, and so I can't actually have a temper tantrum anytime I transition. I do in my head sometimes, "Oh, I really don't want to be doing this," but I can't actually do it in real life.
I was thinking there's got to be a better way. I actually don't know what that better way is. I have a theory. We use a behavior chart sometimes. The kids seem to really like it. Well, the one kid does. I don't think the middle child even cares about behavior charts, but we're going to give it a go and make a little reward with transitions. "If you transition easily, you're going to get to go up on the behavior chart and there'll be big rewards." Things like that. We're just going to rely on that a little more, because I don't think my basic sense of, "I'm just relying on you to suck it up to our transition and get over it," is totally working out. I think perhaps they are a little too young to get the suck it up factor.
Do you have some transition miracle?
Or do you struggle like I do?
Yeah, that's my idea. I don't know if it's a good one, but it's what I'm going with because something has got to be better than me saying, "Put on your shoes. Put on your shoes. You need to put on your shoes. You need to get dressed. You need to get dressed. Get dressed. Get dressed. You need to get dressed. Now you need to get undressed. Bath time. Bath time. Bath time." There's got to be something better than this, so I have no solution. I'm sharing a problem, but I think the fact that I've recognized that I like transitions as little as my kids like transitions may be the first step in some sort of revolution in our house. I will keep you posted.