The kids are grounded.

Their behavior lately has been so defiant that I’ve lost it. I don’t even want to catalog the offenses, but here’s a sampling of what happened: Younger was downstairs, Missus and Elder were off in their rooms following an earlier argument. I had been cleaning and cooking dinner for over an hour. I asked her to set the table: no. After much prodding I got her to do it — or did it myself — I asked her to pick up something off the stairs: no.

At some point I picked up a pad of paper on the counter and wrote Younger’s Naughty List, and then I wrote down the two things I had asked her to do. I told her that if I asked her to do something and she didn’t do it the first time I asked her to do it I was going to write it on this list and then I was going to send it to Santa. This certainly got her attention. She’s been more enthusiastic than anyone in the house about decorating; I’m still too occupied with the windows to worry about it.

So this had the opposite effect, broke her heart really, and sent her into this pattern that we get locked into all the time, which I’ll explain with another example: I ask her to do something; she doesn’t do it; I get mad and take away a privilege, candy, TV, whatever; she then tells me she’s not going to do what I asked because she’s not going to get her privilege. I’m not really sure what you call this behavior, but that’s usually how it goes.

But yesterday they both were on fair form. Just doing or not doing things at their leisure, based on their whim. No sir, had enough. So I revoked their playtime after school.

Elder is having a problem with school, forgetting her folders and turning in homework. She doesn’t actually