You never really know what goes on with your kids when you aren’t watching.

One would like to think kids behave better when mom isn’t around, but according to the school reports last month, that isn’t true in our house.

However, Christmas break with the Monkey has been a lot of fun and I feel like we are back on the right track.  I have given her my attention as much as possible, and she has proved to be an awesome big sister. 

We started a new system in hopes to assist with getting us on track, and so far, so good.  Basically, Monkey has a list of things she can do to earn “privileges”.  Some examples are bringing in her plate from the table, keeping her toy room clean, being kind to others, etc.  When she does these things, she gets to pick her reward.  Some of those rewards are 30 minutes of TV, eating dessert, sleeping in mommy’s bed, etc.

It has been a success and she earns what she wants almost every day.  The only thing I haven’t figured out is how to get her to make her understand that these things are expected every day, since she is part of a family… not because she gets something fun.  But, I suppose I will figure out that little detail later.

For Christmas we did our usual tour-de-la-family’s houses and even squeezed in a night out with friends.  We were able to bring along the kids to the friends night out, since now one of our friends also has a kid, and they just happened to be hosting.  Their son is darling, but quite a bit younger than Monkey.  However, she did great with him and I think she had fun too.

Part of our tour included a trip to Monga and Papa’s house.  We were enjoying ourselves, and I was doing everything I could to contain my excitement about my sister-in-law’s pregnancy (due in April) as we sat down for dinner.  About five minutes into dinner, Daddy’s oldest sister (not the pregnant one) commented that Monkey made her daughter cry because Monkey chooses to play with her son, and not her daughter.  I was caught off guard, and obviously felt bad when the comment was made.

After we left, Monga made a couple of comments about the fact that Monkey didn’t spend as much time with Papa as she normally does.  The comments were made in jest, but it’s somewhat hard to gauge how serious the comments may have truly been.  So, I decided to ask Monkey what was going on.  Turns out her cousin (the one who cried because Monkey doesn’t hang out with her) told her not to hang out with Papa anymore.  Apparently Monkey listened.

The more I thought about this situation, the more it bothered me.  Not because her cousin said that, because I am not stupid enough to believe that kids don’t say stuff like that, especially when they might be a little jealous.

What bothered me is that Monkey so quickly turned on Papa.  A man whom she has adored her entire life. A man whom she cries for when we leave, and a man who can pretty much get her to do anything he desires.  I started to wonder if I had missed something.  Or is she just too young to understand loyalty?

So, I talked to her and told her that she needed to be kind to everyone and that when Papa wants to coochie with her, she should do it – because he loves her and she loves him.  And, he gets his feelings hurt when she is mean to him.  I also asked her why she wasn’t hanging out with her cousin any more, to which she replied she didn’t know.  So, I suggested she make an effort to hang out with her too.

I tried to explain that sometimes people are going to tell her to do things that she doesn’t want to, or doesn’t think she should, and when that happens she should either tell the person no, or come and tell me.  Oh, and by the way, if the person telling you to do something you don’t want to is Mommy or Daddy, you need to keep your opinions to yourself, reply with a ‘yes mommy/daddy’ and obey.

Then, I wondered why her eyes appeared a little crossed and drool was coming out of the corner of her mouth.  Seriously, how confusing is that!?

Anyway, she spent the night with Monga and Papa (and the afore mentioned cousins because they live there too) and when we went to pick her up today, I learned she and her cousin played nicely all night.  They slept together and continued their fun all throughout today.  They had just finished lunch when we got there, and Monkey brought in her plate without being asked.

Turns out, a little bribery, and moms nagging reminders can work!